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Watford v West Brom preview: Tough to choose between play-off hopefuls

Two teams with similar Championship play-off ambitions clash at Vicarage Road on Monday evening when Watford play host to West Bromwich Albion.

With the Hornets in eighth place and the Baggies two places and two points worse off having played a game fewer, this could help define which, if any of these two teams, goes on to eventually secure a place in the top six this season - if there is a winner.

WhatWatford v West Brom
WhereVicarage Road, Watford
When20:00, Monday 20th February 2023
How to watchSky Sports Main Event & Football
OddsWatford 8/5, Draw 12/5, West Brom 8/5

Two evenly-matched teams

The table and the two respective sides' underwhelming recent form suggests this will be a tight game. A quick check of the match odds also backs this up, with both rated 8/5 chances To Win, while the draw at 12/5 looks very backable.

Considering Watford and West Brom were both among the favourites to go up this season before a ball was kicked, they are currently stumbling around just beneath the top six displaying some worrying and ill-timed form.

Baggies have hit sticky patch

Carlos Corberan's Baggies were flying earlier in the winter, but have now just won two of their last five in the second tier, with a shock 2-0 defeat against local rivals Birmingham City at St Andrew's on 10th February taking the wind out of their sales.

Albion followed up that setback with a 1-1 draw at home to fellow play-off candidates Blackburn Rovers - admittedly being thwarted by a very late Ben Brereton Diaz goal on the night - but the incentive is there for the visitors to now get back on track.

West Brom could begin to make inroads above them in the table with a victory as they have a game in hand on the Hornets, who are now managed by former Baggies boss Slaven Bilic.

Watford recent draw specialists

The ever-competitive nature of the Championship - especially when trying to rank teams competing for play-off spots - means this is an extremely difficult match to call but there are some signs among Watford's recent form to suggest it could end in a home victory.

The Hornets have not won any of their last five games, losing to Middlesbrough and drawing with Rotherham United, Reading, Blackburn and leaders Burnley, but it's not all been bad.

Scratching beneath the surface of those results reveals they were 2-0 up at Reading and conceded twice in the last quarter of the match to draw 2-2, while they were seconds away from what would have been an excellent 1-0 win at Turf Moor before Michael Obafemi's late leveller for the runaway leaders in midweek.

They also drew 1-1 with Blackburn, again a solid enough result, while a defeat to Boro is nothing disgraceful at the minute as the Teessiders are on the charge and have moved up to third in the table having won their last five straight.

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Hornets could edge it but both should score

All things considered then, Watford could well edge this one, with 2-1 in Correct Score appealing at odds of 9/1.

But it would also be no surprise at all to see two clearly evenly-matched teams cancel each other out, just as they did in the reverse fixture at the Hawthorns in August, which finished 1-1.

That early-season draw was memorable for Ismaila Sarr's stunning goal-of-the-season contender when the Hornets star scored from just inside his own half.

Certainly backing Both Teams To Score again on Monday seems wise at 5/6, as that punt would have paid out in four of Watford's last five outings and the Baggies have scored in seven of their last nine league away games.

No fresh reported injury issues

Neither side has reported any fresh injury worries for the game and Watford are tipped to be unchanged after their eye-catching display at Burnley.

West Brom boss Corberan may opt to switch things around in midfield and up front, though, with Jayson Molumby, who came off the bench to score the opener against Blackburn, pushing to start, while Daryl Dike may get the nod over Brandon Thomas-Asante in attack.

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