Since returning to the Premier League in the 15/16 season, Watford have been a bit of an enigma. The Hornets have managed to avoid relegation in the last 2 years with a couple of games to spare. Having, at times, played some lovely football. However, managers Quique Sanchez Flores and Walter Marzzarii have, both lost their jobs. The question has to be, why?
Watford are one of about 10 teams whose ambition, at the moment is realistically to stay in the Premier League, ensuring they don’t miss out on the exposure and lucrative deals available at the highest level of English football.
Now, with former Hull and Olympiacos manager Marcos Silva at the helm, can the Hornets move away from the bottom end of the Premier League, and perhaps look to finish closer to the top 10? Last season they finished a disappointing 17th, granted they were safe as their closest rivals had already fallen away before the season had finished. Though the way they ended the season was, quite frankly, embarrassing. They lost their last three games and then were emphatically dispatched by Manchester City, 5-0 at home.
The previous season they finished a much better 13th , so you could argue they were suffering from ‘second season syndrome’ as their performances dipped. It seemed the final nail in Mazzarii’s coffin at Watford was a reported falling out with club captain Troy Deeney, losing the loyalty and respect of your most important player, is never a good sign and the writing was on the wall at that point.
Having secured the services of Marcos Silva, it looks to have been quite a coup for Watford, a club with a questionable reputation among potential managers. Before Hull, many people and pundits alike questioned his ability to manage in the Premier League. Many going as far as saying this appointment would condemn Hull to relegation before he’d even started, yes Paul Merson, I’m looking at you.
His Hull team came out fighting and had some stirring performances, beating Manchester United at home in the League cup even if it was in vein over two legs. But a resounding 2-0 win over Liverpool gave hope of survival and silenced critics. His Hull side did go down eventually, but if not for him and his shrewd signings, they would have been down months before May.
The signing of Derby Prodigy Will Hughes looks to have been an inspired bit of business. It seemed only a matter of time before Hughes would make the jump from Championship to Premier League. £8 million is a lot of money to spend on someone who has never played Premier League football before, yet his performances in the U21 European Championships suggest he has the skill and maturity to grace the Premier League. He isn’t a proven commodity, by no stretch of the imagination, however under the management of Silva, as we have seen with Hull, he could help turn Hughes into perhaps one of England’s best midfielders.
If the Hornets are to have a successful term next season, the board and the owners will have to trust their manager has the man management skills to get the best out of his team, and to leave him to conduct his transfer business. This current Watford team will still continue to struggle and at best will just manage to stay up, but with a few key additions, I don’t see why they can’t look to try and finish further up the table. Highlighting their ambition and continued improvement.
(Featured Image credit: dailystar.co.uk)