Watford v Leeds United: YEP jury predictions

Watford's Matej Vydra.

Watford's Matej Vydra.

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The YEP jury have their say ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Watford at Vicarage Road.

JAMES HARRISON

Bouncebackability. That is the theme again heading into the Watford game tomorrow.

After another defeat at the hands of Brighton, the lads need to come out fighting and prove they are good enough to wear the famous white shirt. Tuesday night was as bad as it gets really; we didn’t pass, weren’t creative and lacked a lot of fight. We got totally played off the park and if we aren’t careful, tomorrow could be even worse.

Watford have had a strange start to the season having thumped Bolton, been beaten comfortably at Norwich then on Tuesday night winning at Rotherham. The signing of Matej Vydra on loan is a real coup; the quality of players on paper they have is as good as it gets in the Championship with Deeney, Vydra, Forestieri, McGugan and Dyer all in their ranks. Since our return to the Championship back in 2010, we haven’t done badly at Watford losing only once in four games with the defeat coming towards the end of last season where we were beaten comfortably.

The signing of Mirco Antenucci is the ‘signing of the summer’ according to Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli. We need some real quality up front to partner Billy Sharp; on Tuesday I don’t think he touched the ball 10 times; he got no service at all. Matt Smith had a real chance to prove himself to new manager Dave Hockaday and I don’t think he grasped it.

I like Smith but with the system we are currently playing he just doesn’t fit in. He is the man we should bring on for the last 20 minutes when we are in search of a goal.

After the game on Tuesday, Hockaday spoke about Brighton’s width coming from their full-backs not their “out and out wingers.” I think he will soon change the system we play to 3-5-2; we don’t have any wingers at the club and I personally think that Sam Byram is better when he is running at players in a more advanced role.

The manager won’t drop the captain, Cooper doesn’t deserve to be dropped and Hockaday will be under a lot of pressure from the president to play highly-rated centre-back Guiseppe Bellusci. 3-5-2 is the only way all three players can get on the field at the same time and it gives us that much-needed width.

Saturday will be really tough. We will need to counter-attack with pace and take all the chances we get, which will be limited.

Personally, I’d take a point now knowing how strong the Watford squad is, but let’s hope Hockaday has his men fired up and we come away with three points.

Prediction: Watford 1 Leeds United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

After Billy Sharp’s winner versus Middlesborough had put a little faith into the faithful, Brighton came along on another Tuesday night disaster and deservedly left with the three points on offer.

You cannot give a team so much space and offer little in the opening 45 minutes and hope to win football games. Leeds were shockingly bad but improved a little after the break.

United visit Vicarage Road tomorrow and it is hoped that ‘coach’ David Hockaday can learn from Tuesday night’s poor performance. I feel that without width and any pace Leeds will struggle against a team that has this in abundance.

With ‘Sully’ Doukara sidelined it could mean an extended run in the team for Matt Smith at centre-forward, but that could result in us going more direct and against Brighton this didn’t work at all. Luke Murphy’s place could come under pressure after a poor performance versus Brighton. I’d like to see Lewis Cook given a chance as he has the energy Leeds need in the midfield department. Austin did enough in the game to keep his place. The formation using the midfield diamond didn’t work on Tuesday so I’d like to see us adopt a 4-4-2 with Ajose and Bianchi used as wide men.

Leeds will need to be at their best to claim even a point; I don’t see it happening.

Prediction: Watford 2 Leeds United 0.

JONATHAN FORD

It’s a case of two steps forward, 10 steps back for Leeds at the moment, and Watford away will not be easy.They are a good team and play good football, and I don’t know which Leeds team will turn up. If our midfield actually shows up we may have a chance.

Prediction: Watford 1 Leeds United 2.

GARY NEWBOULD

United head to Watford looking to erase the memory of another all-too-familiar midweek ‘no show’. Like the Whites, the Hornets are full of Italian imports. A quick comparison of their respective vintages suggests another disappointing afternoon.

Prediction: Watford 3 Leeds United 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

Leeds United were so poor on Tuesday night against Brighton that predicting anything other than a defeat away at Watford feels incredibly naive.

That said, surely there will be a reaction to such a humiliating performance from both the coach and the players.

If Hockaday starts with four central midfielders again then you can expect more of the same. If he gives the hard working back line a proper outlet and the team manages to create something going forward then you just never know. Another promising new signing in Antenucci, a loyal following and a team bruised from a bad home defeat could all add up to a surprise victory at Vicarage Road. Hope springs eternal that it can’t get much worse.

Prediction: Watford 1 Leeds United 2.

Garry Monk.

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