Verdict: Watford win
Best Odds: 7/10
Looking to mark their return to Championship duties with a flurry at Vicarage Road, Watford will host Hull on Sunday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, while Watford might have marked their Championship return with a sluggish start to the 2022/23 campaign, it appears Slaven Bilic’s new squad have put those issues behind them. Squeezing in a friendly showdown on December 3rd as they picked up a stunning 4-2 romp against Premier League leaders Arsenal, the former West Ham boss will be calling on his side to lay down a marker on Sunday afternoon. Looking to make up some ground in the top-two chase and with a Premier League return at the top of their agenda, the Hornets mark their return to action with just a single defeat from any of their previous six second-tier contests. Sat in pole position to claim a play-off spot this season, Bilic should also be excited by his side’s success on home soil. Including a thumping 4-0 victory against Luton on October 23rd, it should be noted that Watford have taken nine points from their last four Championship appearances at Vicarage Road.
After taking part in a Senegal squad that reached the knockout stage of this winter’s World Cup, Watford are hopeful that Ismaila Sarr can feature on Sunday afternoon. Keinan Davis will likely lead the line for Bilic’s side at Vicarage Road.
Still dealing with a long-term Achilles injury, the Hornets will once again be without former Bournemouth midfielder Dan Gosling here.
As for the visitors, last seen in Championship action on November 12th as they were hit with a 2-1 loss at home against Reading, Hull appear destined for another relegation scrap this season. Although the Yorkshire-based outfit might have snatched an action-packed 3-2 victory away at Cardiff last month, it appears that was just a minor boost for Liam Rosenior’s new squad. Opening this weekend’s fixtures holding just a single-point buffer from slipping into the bottom-three, the former Derby coach knows that he has a real job on his hands at the MKM Stadium. Winning just one of their previous five Championship appearances prior to the winter break, Hull should face a tough challenge on Sunday afternoon. Gaining a reputation for their extended issues at the back since opening the 2022/23 campaign, the Tigers have recorded just a single domestic clean sheet so far this season.
Hull will once again be without attacking talisman Oscar Estupinan on Sunday afternoon as the 25-year-old is still serving a suspension.
Potentially looking to make a handful of changes on their return to action here, Chelsea loanees Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale could feature here.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last met back in 2017, Hull picked up a 2-0 victory on home soil while on Premier League duties.
- However, the Tigers mark their return to action this weekend with just a single win from any of their last five Championship matchups.
- Watford have collected nine points from their last four Championship contests at Vicarage Road.
- Including a 4-2 friendly win against Premier League leaders Arsenal on December 3rd, Watford have lost just one of their last seven matchups across all formats.
- Hull have recorded just a single Championship clean sheet throughout the 2022/23 campaign.
With their sights set on clinching an immediate Premier League return this season, Watford should be confident of laying down a marker on Sunday afternoon. Marking their return to action with just a single defeat from any of their last five Championship contests, the Hornets have also impressed on home soil this season. Taking nine points from their last four second-tier showdowns at Vicarage Road, Hull should be bracing themselves for a tough test here. Battling it out at the foot of the table and at the heart of another relegation scrap, Sunday’s guests have continued to show a string of issues at the back. Suffering a 1-0 loss in their last trip to Hertfordshire, we’re backing a similar home win here.
Verdict: Watford win
Best Odds: 7/10