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Watford vs Queens Park Rangers Preview: England's Best Home Record to End?

It's a slightly unorthodox Monday night kick-off awaiting Watford and QPR tomorrow, but that won't affect the "gladiator spirit" of the Watford side in Xisco Munoz's eyes. The Hornets Head Coach has already settled into life at Vicarage Road, boasting a 100% win record at home.

Queens Park Rangers and former Watford Coach Mark Warburton will want to spoil the party. They salvaged a point from the reverse fixture, Ilias Chair's strike cancelling out an early Ben Wilmot tap-in. Neither side are quite the same now, and we can expect a very different state of affairs at Vicarage Road.

QPR are slightly weakened by the departure of exciting winger Bright Osayi-Samuel to Fenerbahce, but have strengthened in other areas, bringing in midfielder Stefan Johansen from fellow London side Fulham. Centre-Half Jordan de Wijs and, most notably, Striker Charlie Austin have also been brought in this month, with the latter making an immediate impact on his second debut with a goal against Luton. 

Despite Austin's arrival the problems lie in the attack. Defensively, they're pretty solid, and goalkeeper Seny Dieng is widely considered to be their Player of the Season so far, but they sit in 18th place, in need of a consistent goal scorer. They suffered defeat last time out against a rejuvenated Derby County but prior to that had back-to-back wins and clean sheets over Cardiff and Luton. 

Mark Warburton usually deploys his side in a 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation, depending on whether the Full-Backs are attacking. They'll aim to free up Chair to exploit the spaces in Watford's back line, and get the ball to Dykes and Austin in attack.

Ilias Chair's strike at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium ensured the sides shared the points in the reverse fixture.

 

As for Watford, they're rejuvenated with the return of Ken Sema from a minor injury, and now have Rob Elliot as cover in the Goalkeeper position following Ben Foster's finger injury. On Philip Zinckernagel, Watford's first signing of the January Window, Xisco Munoz stressed the importance of "day-by-day, game-by-game" as he remains conscious of rushing him into a first team place. Zinckernagel is yet to start in the league for his new club, but may do so on Monday night.

Someone who won't start is fellow newcomer Dan Gosling. The 31-year-old, signed from fellow promotion hopefuls Bournemouth, is intended as a back-up option following the termination of James Garner's loan by Manchester United, and although there's a small possibility we'll see him in the Watford squad, there's little to no chance he makes an appearance just yet. 

Despite his arrival on the weekend, it's unlikely we'll see Dan Gosling in a Watford shirt just yet.
 

Head-to-Head

As previously mentioned, the last game between these sides was a 1-1 draw in November. The last time at Vicarage Road however was all the way back in 2013. Not exactly a classic, a goalless draw with Troy Deeney the only player likely to feature tomorrow from the two sides on that day. 

Watford enjoyed two 1-0 wins over Rangers during their Premier League spell, one in the FA Cup; Etienne Capoue scoring the winner on both occasions. 

Tom Cleverley scored in the last Watford victory against QPR at home. Lloyd Doyley scored a now-famous header in that game, a 3-1 win back in 2009.

Who's the Threat?

Watford: Joao Pedro

Considering Watford's boy from Brazil hasn't started the past two games, it's perhaps a little presumptious of me to declare that he'll be Watford's key man. But I'm optimistic that Joao Pedro will return to his spot in attack, perhaps playing off Troy Deeney, and is my pick to get a goal too.

Queens Park Rangers: Ilias Chair

Watford fans know what to expect from the Moroccan now following his impressive performance in November. Skilful, lively off the ball and very capable of connecting the midfield to the attack, Chair can absolutely cause Watford problems at the back, and the hosts will need to improve their handling of the 23-year-old if they are to fare better than in the reverse fixture.

Elliot's Score Prediction:

A very tough one to call. Two very strong defensive sides but we all know that quality that Watford possess at Vicarage Road. A comfortable (ish) 1-0 win. The notable stat? QPR are yet to beat a side above 13th this season, so there is undoubtedly an expectation of success from the Watford fans.

Watford 1-0 Queens Park Rangers

Kick-Off: 19:45, Vicarage Road

Televised? Yes, on Sky Sports.

Referee: Jarred Gillett

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