The YEP jury make their predictions ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Watford at Elland Road.
It is hard to believe how much has changed at Leeds United since Watford last visited Elland Road last November.
The mood around the club was one of dissension, with the supporters staying away in droves, and those that did turn up spending more energy on protesting at the way the club was being run than getting behind the team.
That in part was due to the side on the pitch being a shambles, and never more so than that afternoon. Neil Warnock brought a new dimension to the idea of putting square pegs into round holes by unveiling a three-man defensive line, but utilising Paul Green as one of the three centre-backs.
Then followed bizarre substitutions after Jason Pearce’s dismissal which saw three changes in a minute either side of the break, that left no cover when Rudy Austin was stretchered off just moments later.
From there Leeds were torn apart, the 6-1 defeat the type of result that Warnock had promised would not occur again after a 7-3 loss to Nottingham Forest the previous season.
Fast forward a year and the atmosphere surrounding the club could not be more different. New investment is on the horizon, the fans are returning to the ground, partly because of some interesting initiatives brought in by the new owners, and the team are producing the results on the pitch, interestingly utilising the formation which failed so disastrously on the freezing cold November afternoon.
For Watford its almost a polar opposite. Last season they were flying high on the way to a place in the play-off final. Now they cannot get a result for love nor money and are without a win in nine matches.
Gianfranco Zola’s team had been playing three at the back but abandoned that for a flat back four when holding Burnley to a goalless draw in the week. With many of last season’s side having moved on, Zola has almost had to start again and is struggling to find a successful formula.
Brian McDermott may need to freshen things up a little after leaving his starting XI on the field for the entire match against Wigan on Wednesday night. However the side are looking so solid at the moment, tinkering for the sake of it could be detrimental. To use a cliche, Elland Road is turning into a fortress and I cannot see beyond a sixth successive home win.
Prediction: Leeds United 2, Watford 1.
Leeds United returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a ‘workmanlike’ performances against a spirited if disappointing Wigan.
Special mention for Danny Pugh who had a impressive 90 minutes.
In the second game of the home ‘double header’ Leeds face Watford, and this time around it should be very different.
Leeds, if they came through the Wigan game unscathed, may settle with the same team, as it seems that Dexter Blackstock could be returning to Nottingham Forest as the knee injury might leave him on the sidelines for a extended spell. Matt Smith should partner Ross McCormack up front. I’m still hopeful that El-Hadji Diouf is used at some stage of the season. He can change a game with a moment of skill.
I expect another close game is expected. This week’s midweek games really shows anybody can beat anybody on the day.
Prediction: Leeds United 2, Watford 1.
Well, one win and one loss this week but 12 points from 15 isn’t mid-table form.
I don’t fear anyone at home except ourselves. I can see this being either 1-0 or 3-1 because they have some good players but so do we.
Prediction: Leeds United 1, Watford 0.
Tomorrow we welcome an inconsistent Watford to Elland Road as we look to continue our impressive home form.
There will be no repeat of last season’s 6-1 drubbing, I’m very sure of that.
The reason I say that is two-fold: Ross McCormack is on fire and our defence is looking quite solid for the first time in recent memory.
I’m looking to other players to start chipping in with some goals though.
We can’t keep relying on our number 44. He needs support.
Let’s make it six wins at home in a row!
Prediction: Leeds United 2, Watford 0.
Wednesday’s win against Wigan gives us a great platform to get another good run of results going.
Watford handed us a hiding at Elland Road last year so there’s a double incentive of avenging that and making it six straight home wins.
prediction: Leeds United 3, Watford 1.
Following their hard-earned midweek win over Wigan, United will try and make it six home wins on the bounce when they entertain Gianfranco Zola’s Watford at Elland Road.
After being denied automatic promotion by the Whites on the final day of last season it’s been a different story this time around for the Hornets.
Watford lie five points and five places worse off than their hosts.
This should be an entertaining game.
I’m expecting plenty of goals as United look to try and re-enter the play-off places.
Prediction: Leeds United 3, Watford 2.