The year so far has been of both relegation quality and form, tired upon our feet and lacking the ingenuity we have come to associate with head coach Quique Flores. Is he to blame for the demise of form?
Seventeenth in the form table since January is no laughing matter, what we are clinging onto is the superb start of the season, which has seen the Hornets since throw away a a healthy points total. But the question is why and what next?
We can dwell on the why, some say it’s the overuse of the same players which has caused fatigue. Yet an over reliance on players has proved no issue for Leicester City has it? Some argue it’s the lack of attacking options, while others will condemn the defensive nature of our midfield.
I blame none of those factors and actually put the earnest on the players themselves being at fault. The effort levels and spark has seemed rather flat. Earlier in the season, everyone looked sharp and most importantly committed from the first whistle until the very last.
Now we are just seeing the odd player who appears to have bundles of passion, when in fact it’s the others players making them look better than what we should be seeing of this now mid-table side.
Players like Nordin Amrabat and Nathan Ake have shone more than usual, partly because of the attitude and commitment of other players.
Take nothing from these guys though, Ake has proved wonderfully astute and I genuinely hope as much as the next Watford fan that we retain a player Chelsea have screamed out for all season. Likewise for Amrabat, who is new to the side, he replicates a tightly coiled spring with wonderful levels of pace and a direct attacking nature.
I believe the international break will benefit the side, giving them time to regroup and reassess attitudes and a commitment to one another.
Captain Troy Deeney himself mentioned post-match against Stoke that, “We don’t want this season to drift away, we’ll report back in a few days’ time and we can focus again and prepare for Arsenal”. Another honest assessment from the unlucky man left out of England’s recent squad.
Formation and tactically; I would not change a thing, virtually 100% of our season has seen us within touching distance of other clubs, which is exactly what we would have hoped for pre-season coming into the Premier League.
This season has been staggering, filled with many spills and thrills across the division. While little old Watford have remained competitive against each and every side. What an achievement to reach the FA Cup semi-finals too.
You do feel in later years it will be the cup run that will be better remembered despite an incredible achievement of mid-table in the Premier League.
Boss Flores needs to carry on what he started, his tactics have been superb. You do feel he is maybe one or two players short in the attacking dimension. Would you have Fernando Forestieri or Matej Vydra back for the rest of the season to support Amrabat?
I hope the players have a long hard look at themselves and recapitulate what they are capable of doing, what we all know they can do. In summary; it’s the approach that is proving an issue, the longer this drags on, the further our confidence will diminish.
Have the players lost that spark because of the feeling of mid-table obscurity? I will let you decide.
Brad’s Predictions: Arsenal 2-0 Watford