Watford v QPR, Championship, December 7, 2009
Despite having played on Saturday, both Watford and QPR should be chomping at the bit for the London derby on Monday night in the Championship as both sides will be looking to reverse disappointing defeats last time out. All of a sudden everything is beginning to head south for moneybags Queens Park Rangers.
Saturday witnessed the Super Hoops take a 5-1 hammering at the hands Middlesbrough, the result being Rangers’ worst result in a disappointing recent run in which they have collected maximum points only once in six matches. As a result the West Londoners dropped out of the playoff picture, falling from fifth to ninth in the table.
Similar disappointment was suffered by 12th-placed Watford in their 2-nil defeat away at Newcastle on Saturday. While the Magpies are running away with the Championship this season, the Hornets had an excellent opportunity to get something out of their long trip north when the Toon were forced to play out the majority of their second half with only 10-men after Kevin Nolan saw red. Yet an impotent Watford side failed to press home their numerical advantage, slumping to their third straight away defeat in which Malky Mackay’s outfit have conceded ten and scored none.
Watford will have to try to get back on the winning trail without striker Heidar Helguson. The Icelander is back at Vicarage Road on loan from Rangers and is ineligible to face his parent club. Also missing the match will be Steven Reid and Matthew Connolly, as on-loan Blackburn midfielder Reid is still struggling with a hamstring problem and defender Connolly has a pelvic injury.
Other headaches for boss Malky Mackay including waiting on the fitness of Arsenal loanee Henri Lansbury (6/1 to score & Watford win) after the midfielder limped out of Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle with a hip injury. Of those fit and able, Danny Graham (5/1 to score first) (7 goals in 18 matches) should lead the line with Nathan Ellington (10/1 to score a brace), while support for the front-men should be provided by Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley (2/1 to score), Scot Don Cowie and experienced pro John Eustace.
Yet there is one ray of sunshine for the North Londoners. The Hornets have been boosted by the return of club captain Jay DeMerit (12/1 to score) after the United States centre-half has recovered from an extended period on the sidelines after needing surgery on his eye after the defender scratched himself while trying to remove a contact lens back in August.
Rangers picked up no fresh knocks at the weekend but boss Jim Magilton is expected to make changes following the 5-1 mauling by Middlesbrough. Damion Stewart, Peter Ramage and Tommy Williams will all push for starts in a shell-shocked defence. (QPR are 9/4 to keep a clean sheet.)
In midfield Rangers will be hoping that their midfield talents of Wayne Routledge (13/2 to score first), Ben Watson, Akos Buzsaky (11/4 to score) and, arguably the best footballer in the division, Adel Taarabt (4/1 to score & QPR win) will all be tuned in, while further forward the West Londoners have a good blend of young and experience in attack with the likes of Patrick Agyemang (14/1 to score a brace), Rowen Vine and Alessandro Pellicori on their books.
History is very much on Watford’s side in this fixture. The Hornets have beaten QPR in five of their last six home league meetings, and have scored three goals in four of those five victories. And more recently Watford have won their last three home league games in impressive style: 4-1 against Sheffield Wednesday, 2-0 against Preston and 3-0 against Scunthorpe. By contrast Rangers’ 4-2 triumph at Vicarage Road in December 2007 is their only victory there since 1988.
101predicts: Watford 2 – QPR 1 (7/1)
Full match odds here.