Monday, August 10, 2020

Another boss bites the dust at Watford

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 9 Sep 2019

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Over the weekend Watford replaced head coach Javi Gracia with Quique Sanchez Flores, who had previously managed the Hornets. Gracia was a year into a four-and-half-year deal with the club.

The decision is not a shock considering Watford’s history and the team’s poor start to their Premier League campaign. However, the decision surprised Gracia, who took the club to just their second-ever FA Cup final appearance last season.

Watford enjoyed a good season

Last season was Watford’s best season ever in the Premier League era, as the Hornets finished 11th place in the table. For much of the season, the Hornets were hovering around the top seven.

However, the team’s run to the FA Cup final proved to be a distraction towards the end of the season when it came to league form. It was quite expected, as the team from Hertfordshire were in the unfamiliar position of possibly winning silverware.

After last season there were expectations that the Hornets could push on this season and attempt to finish in the Premier League’s top-ten this season. However, a lack of recruitment until late in the transfer window and also the lack of real quality arrivals rather quelled those top-half hopes.

A poor start to the season

Watford made a disastrous start to the new Premier League campaign, picking up just one point from their opening four league outings. In truth, the Hornets performances have been poor and probably deserved no less than what they got.

The poor start to the campaign means that the Hornets have won just once in their last league matches. It was always likely that boss Gracia was living on borrowed with a start to the season as Watford have endured.

The Hornets hierarchy the Pozzo’s have never been the most patient owners with bosses, which makes Gracia’s sacking unsurprising. To be fair to Watford’s owners their policy when it comes to head coaches has kept their club in the Premier League.

They have gone through a lot of bosses by most clubs’ standards in recent years. However, there have been various circumstances surrounding coaches exits, the club’s hierarchy has not sacked all the bosses who have exited in recent years.

Can Quique Flores kick-start Watford’s season?

Quique Sanchez Flores returns to the club he managed in the season 2015/16. The Spaniard guided the Hornets to an FA Cup semi-final appearance and a 13th position in the table. The first time around he only had a one-year deal with the Hornets, which has become the norm at the club. The 54-year-old is likely to have been appointed on a similar basis, as the details are difficult to find.

It is very easy in the Premier League season, so there is still a chance for Flores to kick-start the Hornets season. The bookmakers believe that Watford will escape relegation, as they are odds of 9/4 to suffer relegation this season. Their odds make them fifth favourites to suffer the drop.

There is not much between the teams at the bottom of the Premier League. A couple of wins could move Watford comfortably clear of the drop zone. Most teams enjoy a new boss boost, so the Hornets will hope for such an effect sooner rather than later.

Watford’s managerial policy has been enough to keep them in the Premier League for this long. It may well prove good enough to keep them in the top-flight this time around too. However, you have to wonder if their luck will eventually run out and they end back in the Championship.

Can Quique Sanchez Flores revive Watford’s fortunes?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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