Category Archives: Watford

FA Cup Replays – Who can cause an upset?

An enthralling game is in store for those in North London tonight where Tottenham host Championship competition of Middlesbrough. The inform tier two side may be concentrating on reaching a vital 40 points in the league, but there is no doubt the northern side will put on a valiant effort to progress into the next round. With this weeks news of Harry Kane’s absence till April, Mourinho has interesting squad decisions to make, and the strength of tonight’s team will surely have in mind their distance from a European spot for next season. The FA Cup may the silverware they strive for in Mourinho’s inaugural season as Tottenham manager.

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Kane out until April: Jose admits that without him, they cannot play the ‘Tottenham way’.

Another Premier League team with potential to fall with an upset are Newcastle United, who take on League one Rochdale at St James’s Park. The original fixture saw Rochdale bite back in the latter stages of the game with a goal made by two players aged two decades apart. Youngster Luke Matheson, who made his name when he equalised against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup earlier last year, grabbed the assist which booked Dale’s replay on Tyneside. An already classic FA Cup story, it seems written for Rochdale to go all the way, but will Premier League quality become too much and halt their FA Cup story?

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40 year-old Aaron Wilbraham scored the equaliser at The Spotland Stadium

Nigel Pearson has seemed to flip Watford’s Premier League fate on it’s head as after this weekend they sit above the relegation places for the first time season. However, his team were not as focussed as they conceded three second half goals to draw with Tranmere Rovers on the 4th January. A heroic display from the struggling League One display confirmed a replay which neither side would have desired at kick off, but one that could bring joy to the one set of fans, who have perhaps endured a poor season so far.

With current form, it would be suggested Watford would progress to the next round, but Pearson may rest his usual players for a tricky London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, as they continue to try secure Premier League status for next season. On the other hand, the Merseyside club will be hopeful for more FA Cup magic in the replay and may see a strong team out to finish a job they so excellently accounted for in the original fixture. Similarly to Watford in managerial terms, it will be argued the priority should be on Tranmere too escaping their relegation zone position.

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Watford must be delighted with Pearson’s impact so far, but what will his attentions be for The FA Cup

In Modern football is too much blame being placed on the manager?

The past seven days in the premier league has witnessed two managers relieved of their duties.

Both Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores, at Watford that was his second spell at the club and marked the hornet’s second managerial change of the season. 

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke revealed that the decision to remove Emery from his position had been ‘weeks’ in the making as they felt that the head coach had lost the backing of the fans. The former Sevilla and PSG boss was on a run of seven games without a win.

Former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungburg, replaced the 48 year old and the Swede opened his managerial account with a 2-2 draw away to Norwich this past weekend.

Ljungburg is the latest appointment by a club chairman and the board of a former player at one of the big six clubs following the trend of Frank Lampard at Chelsea at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has prompted Kroenke to say that, “ Ljungburg has Arsenal DNA and understands the club.”

These latest managerial sackings however prompt the question… Is too much blame being placed on the manager?

Head Coach versus Manager role

For a start some teams nowadays have Head Coaches while others have Managers.

The former Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking in 2015, highlights the subtle differences between the roles:

“If you are the manager, you decide many things about the club.  But if you are a head coach, your responsibility is to play better, try to improve the players and to get positive results.”

Pochettino continued:

“At Southampton, I was manager my responsibility was not only to coach the team. With Tottenham, I am a head coach.  A head coach is head of your department. My department is to train the team.”

The attributes needed to be successful are reportedly the same for both roles, being adaptable in terms of training and good judgement on team selection for instance.

The head coach however can protest regarding lack of signings, but there is a lack of authority on the role compared with being a Manager.

It seems that the days are long gone when an Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson figure end up having complete control in terms of how things are run at football clubs.

Ultimately however is enough time given to managers or head coaches these days to implement the changes they require?

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking to Harvard Business Review said:

“I believe that the cycle of a successful team lasts maybe four years and then some change is needed.  So we tried to visualise the team maybe three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly.”

Ferguson continued: “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead – no one expected me to go anywhere. I was very fortunate in that respect.”

Is football after all a team game?

Football is supposed to be a team game, so shouldn’t the players, coaching staff and those who run the club be held equally accountable?

There is a squad of 25 players and even though the manager is there to inspire, implement tactics and produce impactful substitutions, he is not out there on the field playing the matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson was often praised for bringing on substitutes that would lead to last minute Manchester United winners. More recent examples include Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, who have been praised for the way they set up their teams at Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Managers therefore are quickly praised but equally critics are ready to pounce if things are not quite going to plan. This leads to increased scrutiny on the man in charge and he is more often than not, provided with enough time to turn things around.

Flores for instance was only given 87 days so the window provided is getting shorter for managers to make the desired impact that the clubs fans and owners are looking for.

When asked about the recent pressure that Everton manger, Marco Silva was under, England and Everton’s number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford said:

“ A few bad performances should not put the manager under pressure”

Pickford continued:

“ We have to look at ourselves as individuals and as a squad.  You are a team and you win together and you loose together.”

Sacking managers is not always the answer

Pickford has currently had 11 managers throughout his Premier League career to date, since his introduction seven in three seasons at Sunderland, who are now currently in League One and four in the past three seasons at Everton.

Although Silva and his team enjoyed an impressive conclusion to the previous campaign, there is little suggest that Everton will challenge currently for the top six positions that they are looking to break into.

Owners expecting quick results

The influx of money, particularly in the Premier League and the spending power of clubs has changed, particularly in the past few years.

It has become harder for the top clubs to get the players that they want as other teams are under less pressure to sell and want to get the maximum amount for the player in question.

When the high transfer fees are spent, Emery for instance had over 100 million to spend on transfers over the summer, including 70 million on Nicholas Pepe from Lille, both the fans and the owners expect the side to hit the ground running.

If the desired results are not being delivered the boardroom will look for someone to blame. The easiest answer will ultimately always be the person in charge, the manager.

Challenging football schedules

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp eluded to this matter at the start of November as the German said,

“ Crazy football schedule for international players, there is no time for the manager to work with the players on the training field.”

Sadio Mane, one of Liverpool’s key attackers for instance has only had two weeks break all year round. The league leaders are currently at a start of a run that will see them play 13 matches over a six-week period.

It is therefore a struggle for a new manager or one that is under pressure to implement a new style of play or change tactics for an upcoming game if he does not have enough time to coach the players.

There is also the addition of international tournaments such as this year’s Nations League competition that increases the amount of time that players are away from their club sides.

The demanding schedules lead to the increased chances of injuries to significant players for key games as well as player fatigue that leads to a greater chance of players making mistakes out on the field of play.

Pressures of qualifying for Europe’s elite competitions

All the elite clubs strive to be apart of the Champions League with the prize money seemingly increasing year on year, for this season clubs would have secured roughly 15 million just for reaching the group stage.

This would drive club owners to make knee jerk decisions, especially if their team was not performing on the field.

Media scrutiny on Managers

Finally the media scrutiny on managers in this day and age is enormous.  Particularly for sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool, who have former players as pundits such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

They are quick to point out what the manager should and should not do using video technology in their Sky Sports Studio.

The influence of the Video Assistant Referee is also proving to be a game changer this season.

The manager also has to watch what he says in the pre and post match interview. He is ultimately put under the microscope more than any one individual player as he is exposed to the media every week.

If a player has a bad game he can choose to avoid the media and public eye following the match and can always redeem himself the following week.

When it is going well, the manager is quick to be praised by everyone and can supposedly do no wrong.  When things however start to go wrong, fortunes can change very quickly, owners want to see a return on their increased investment and it is on the whole easier for them sack one person rather than wait till the transfer market to sell and sign numerous players. 

 Feel free to give 24/7 your opinion, is too much blame and pressure being put on the manager or head coach?

 

 

Norwich 0 Watford 2: Match Report

Carrow Road was the host to a game that, by the end of the season, could prove decisive in terms of Premier League survival.

Before the game, Norwich sat in nineteenth, losing six of their last eight games whilst the visitors were propping up the table but were on slightly better form. Three draws in their last five games meant the Vicarage Road faithful had something to cheer about.

The Canaries were unchanged from their 2-0 loss to Brighton which meant they still had clumsy defensive midfielder Tettey partnering Godfrey in defence.

As for Watford, they made three changes to the team that lost to Chelsea. The disappointing Masina was dropped and versatile Holebas came in. As for the Hornets other two changes, Gray and Chalobah were taken out of the side and in their place Capoue and Hughes.

Watford, boosted by the presence of Deeney on the bench after over a month out, took an early lead through former Barcelona fringe player Deulofeu.

Godfrey made an early burst forward, passed to Pukki who toe poked the ball to Buendia just inside the Canaries half. Buendia tried to Cruyff turn Deulofeu but he nicked the ball and the Spaniard had acres of green space for him to exploit, which he did. Once in the box, the winger come striker cut inside and shot past the despairing Krul.

The Hornets got off to the best possible start – silencing the nervous home crowd. The Canaries responded well with most of the play being inside the Hornets half.

Through ball after through ball fed Hernandez who was causing the Hornets defence havoc all night.

Despite all their dominance, the home side struggled to create chances in the opening half but did create one. Steipermann pushed the ball through to Hernandez who couldn’t quite get to it and Foster smothered the ball but it landed at the feet of Pukki who shot but Kabasele blocked.

The Canaries were pushing and pushing which was leaving huge wholes in the defence which the Hornets exploited on occasions.

The half ended 1-0 so a response was needed by the home side, the game went the other way though and Watford killed the game of just a few minutes after the restart.

Deulofeu skipped past Tettey who dived in and he put in a ball which initially got blocked. The ball rebounded straight back to him, he had another go and this time he was on the money putting in a delightful ball for substitute Gray to attack. Gray, who’s struggled for form in recent months backed heeled the ball bottom corner from six yards out. Krul was completely flat footed.

Wave after wave of disappointing Norwich attacks came and went without them creating any meaningful chances. Long shots from Lewis and McLean tested Foster but that’s about as much as they could muster.

The before mentioned havoc that Hernandez was causing the Hornets defence proved to be fatal for Kabasele as it meant the end of his night.

The defender kept fouling the winger and finally in the second half Kabasele got a yellow card for holding the pacy winger back with his shirt. Then twenty minutes later, Drmic and the Belgium found themselves in a race for the ball, a race which the fresher legged substitute won and in an attenpt to reach the ball fist, the clumsy centre back brought down Drmic for his second yellow.

The red card will matter more in the coming matches than it did against the Canaries as they still couldn’t create anything.

The match ended 2-0. A damaging loss for the already confidence lacking Canaries but a huge first win of the season for the visitors.

(Photo – Daily Mail)

Preview: Norwich City v Watford

Preview ahead of the Premier League clash on Friday evening…

NORWICH City host Watford in the Premier League clash on Friday evening, kick-off 8:00pm, live on Sky Sports.

The Canaries, who were promoted to the Premier League last season, will be hoping to return to winning ways following a 2-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

The Canaries are currently on a four game winless run and will be hoping to gain their first victory since  beating Manchester City on 14th September.

Watford, on the other hand, will be looking to gain their first league win of the season in Norfolk against a very tough Canaries outfit.

The Hornets, who recently hired a new manager, haven’t seen the bounce that often happens with a change of manager. They will be hoping their fortunes change soon…

Manager/head coach:

Norwich City: Daniel Farke

Watford: Enrique “Quique” Sanchez Flores

League position:

Norwich City: 19th

Watford: 20th

Top scorer:

Norwich City: Teemu Pukki (6)

Watford: Roberto Pereyra (2)

Head to head:

Norwich City Wins: 42

Draws: 29

Watford Wins: 27

Last five results (League Unless Stated):

11th May 2016: Norwich 4-2 Watford

5th December 2015: Watford 2-0 Norwich

21st February 2015: Watford 0-3 Norwich

16th August 2014: Norwich 3-0 Watford

24th September 2013: Watford 2-3 Norwich [League Cup]

Team News:

Norwich City: Midfielder Mario Vrancic is available for the first time since August after recovering from injury and then illness, whilst, Ibrahim Amadou and Todd Cantwell are now both fully fit and could start.

Watford: Troy Deeney (knee) is under consideration to face the Canaries after having a operation which kept him out of action since mid-August. Both Etienne Capoue and Ismaila Sarr have also returned to training after injury, while Craig Cathcart has recovered from a back spasm.

Who, What, Where, When, Channel:

Who: Norwich City v Watford

What: Premier League

Where: Carrow Road

When: 20:00

Channel: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Ultra HD

Match Officials:

Referee: Andre Marriner

Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long

Fourth Official: Keith Stroud

Video Assistant Referee: Andrew Madley

Additional Video Assistant Referee: Andrew Halliday

Chelsea continue Premier League winning streak with victory at Watford

Frank Lampard and Chelsea were able to stretch their winning streak in the Premier League to five games after a 2-1 victory against Watford at Vicarage Road on November 2nd.

Chelsea got off to a hot start as Tammy Abraham struck a right footed shot from the center of the box thanks to a through ball from Jorginho. This goal for Abraham tied him among the Premier League leaders in scoring this season with nine, with a whopping seven of his strikes coming away from Stamford Bridge, which is top in the league.

The game started to die down for the Blues and Watford were able to catch up. However, Chelsea did have a few opportunities to score before goalkeeper Ben Foster made four saves before halftime. The opportunities for Chelsea that were saved by Foster came in the 18th minute from a right footed shot from Tammy Abraham, a 19th minute header from a Christian Pulisic header off of a corner kick from Willian, a left footed shot from Willian in the 30th minute, and a right footed shot from Mason Mount in the 43rd minute. A somewhat busy half for the English Shot-stopper.

After halftime, Chelsea had a great chance right off the gate to increase their advantage through a Mason Mount left footed shot, but Foster was there to save the Hornets from a two-goal deficit. However, the Blues were able to capitalize in the 55th minute after Christian Pulisic’s fourth goal in the last two league games courtesy of a pass from in-form Abraham.

Foster continued his great performance in goal, making three more saves to keep Watford in the game. The English goalkeeper had saved shots from Pulisic in the 55th minute, Kovacic in the 62nd minute, and Mount in the 73rdminute as he accumulated eight saves in the loss.

Watford came back after falling down 2-0 thanks to a controversial penalty call. After match referee Anthony Taylor had ruled a no call on Jorginho’s challenge on Gerard Deulofeu, VAR referee Mike Dean ruled it a penalty. Deulofeu was able to score from the spot in the 80th minute as the Hornets were only down by a goal.

The Hornets had a chance to get a point from this match in the seventh minute of extra time thanks to a header from a surprise candidate – Foster- but Kepa Arrizabalaga saved the shot from entering the right corner. The save ultimately saved Chelsea from suffering a heartbreak and sealed another three points for Lampard’s team.

Chelsea will look to continue their strong form on November 9th at home against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Watford, who remain the only winless squad among the top 5 leagues in Europe, will face off against Norwich City on November 8 at Carrow Road.

(Photo – Daily Express)