I commend the Pozzo Family on many fronts, mostly for their ability to be ruthless with acquisitions and departures alike, but currently for the appointment of Quique Sanchez Flores and the strong team he has quickly manufactured.
The resilience is masterminded via the French/Swiss combination of the dogged Behrami and the elegant strides of Etienne Capoue. They are both defensively-minded yet uniquely complement each other’s vast styles.
Behrami has been superb so far at breaking down attack after attack. A dynamic sort of player who ‘will bite your heels’ and pick up a yellow card or two. You have been warned! Second is the less evasive but more efficient Capoue. His guile on the pitch has been enjoyable to watch and he has a natural ability to keep hold of possession. This already has the making of an older romance blossoming beneath our eyes.
Three games and three draws in the league have raised curious eyebrows amongst the Vicarage Road stand. It is a case of whether your glass is ‘half full or half empty’.
Fans via popular social media avenues are simply slating the distinct lack of goals and opportunities, and in particular the isolation of lone striker and captain Troy Deeney.
However, I urge all to consider the sheer size and weight of the league we are now competing in, how crucial it is to accrue points steadily, and the importance of not being blown away in the majority of matches like Sunderland already have been. We are three games and are sitting in 12th position. It’s an incredible start. I, personally, could not be happier.
Firstly, Deeney being isolated is what we are accustomed to and is creating a stir. To do this is tactical genius in progress. He is the ideal target man for a start. When this team has settled and become accustomed to QSF tactics we will soon create a higher level of chances.
The facts are that we are not showing signs of shipping in three or four goals in a game like we used to under Zola. Quique has evidently spent hours on the defensive strategy. In effect, the back six, which includes the ‘Watford engine’ room, has been critical thus far. It is so important to not get pulled apart from pillar to post, particularly as a new club to the league. The physiological damage it could have done could have been beyond repair.
I fully believe Quique has set his stall up to draw at least the first three games with the optimism to maybe snatch a goal in the dying embers.
I feel it’s now a matter of time before the goals start to flow. Although maybe not starting this weekend against Manchester City…