Category Archives: Watford

Watford sack Javi Gracia as Quique Sánchez Flores returns

Watford FC have parted ways with Javi Gracia after a poor start to the Premier League campaign. 

Four games into the season and Watford find themselves in the miserable scenario as they are currently bottom of the table.

They have a solitary point from four matches and are having the worst possible start to the campaign. In view of this, the board has decided to sack Javi Gracia from his role as manager.

Does it look too harsh?

In his dramatic 20 months at the helm, the 49-year-old Spanish tactician led the Hornets to an FA Cup final and cruised to an 11th position finish in the Premier League.

During his tenure, he has handled several high profile players including Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu, Abdoulaye Doucouré, etc.

Perhaps, his sacking after an abysmal start does seem to be a bit harsh. It could have been a result of the constant desire of results from the board and a bit of impatience, considering the manager and strategies he wanted to implement while he was at the club.

Football pundit Chris Sutton while delivering his thoughts on the Gracia-Watford case, insisted,

Watford sacking of Javi Gracia is a disgrace,” tweeted Sutton. “This can’t be justified. Quique Sanchez Flores back in but he was sacked by Watford not so long back? Football is bonkers.”

After the 1-1 draw versus Newcastle, Gracia, in the press conference, which ultimately turned out be his last one, gave references to a similar situation he faced at Malaga in La Liga a few years ago.

“I think we went to six games at Málaga without scoring. But we improved and finished in eighth. If you are winning, you only need time to see when you are going to lose – and when you are losing, you only need time to see when you win. We want to win as soon as possible, and we need to. I did it in the past, and now I want to do the same again.”

However, now it’s time for the club and their fans to look ahead.

Just minutes after his departure, Watford resigned Sanchez Flores as their new manager.

In the end, Javi Gracia’s successor has a big task on hand. Watford are 20th and the board and fans would want him to fix it as soon as possible.

Advertisements

Crystal Palace… Will They Make The FA Cup Semi Finals

So, this weekend sees the FA Cup, that great and grand old UK Football tradition resume with some interesting ties, that can be seen.

In terms of eveness, then Crystal Palace v Watford, or to be more precise, Watford v Crystal Palace, promises to be a good game, for the neutrals.

Both teams are very organised, with Watford under Javier Gracia, proving to be a surprise package this season in the league. Watford, it should be said, have opted for a more unusual approach to their management team, with each encumbent of the post having no more than a 1 year rolling contract.

Each manager has been successful in his own right, with Javier Gracia, being the latest and perhaps the most surprise package of all the holders of the post, because he has the team playing in an exciting way, which gets results.

Crystal Palace, equally under the wise old stager Roy Hodgson, are holding their own in the league and are very organised and tactically, difficult to break dow, playing their best football when Wilfred Zaha is in the side

Watford for their part, have their own talisman in the outspoken Troy Deeney, who is no shrinking violet when it comes to speaking his mind

So the game promises to be good with a chance for both sides to get closer to Wembley, a venue which Watford last visited in 1984, when they lost to Everton, While Crystal Palace, were there as recently as 2015/16 when they lost to Man Utd 2~1.

Palace will bv boosted by the return of Wayne Hennessy and Papa Soare for a match Roy Hodgson describes as difficult.

Watford, for their part appear to have no new injury worries and it could prove to be an emotional match for Huerelho Gomes if he plays, because , he has announced his intention to retire at the seasons end, when he will after all be 38 years old, so he if he plays and the result is an adverse one then thats Gomes last chance to win the competition gone.

Overall it promises to be a good game with Wembley beckoning, its a close one to call.

Javi Gracia – How has he changed Watford?

Since their promotion in 2015, Watford, have endured a slow, but steady rise which has seen them battle promoted side Wolverhampton Wanderers for an all-time high of 7th this season. But how? Here, we take a look at how they’ve gone from an ordinary side, to a potential “force to be reckoned with”.

2015/16

In their first season back in the top flight under Quique  Sanchez Flores, their league form wasn’t great, having only mustered a win streak of four matches from late November, to late December. However, it wasn’t all bad as they did reach the FA Cup semi-final, with Odion Ighalo finishing as top scorer.

2016/17

The following season, it was all change as Walter Mazzarri became their manager. It wasn’t any better than the previous season, as they only managed three separate win streaks in September, the conclusion of January and the start of February, and early April. It was thanks to a Hull City side that were considerably worse than them that they managed to remain in the Premier League.

2017/18

Yet another managerial change happened, with Marco Silva coming in from relegated Hull City. The Hornets had a decent start to the season before it was alleged that Silva’s head was turned by another club ,and was mainly the reason for the sides downturn in form that saw them risking relegation. He was eventually sacked towards the end of January, and was replaced by Javi Gracia in the same month. Under Gracia, their form wasn’t better but did just about enough to stay up, including earning a memorable home win over Chelsea.

2018/19

Before the start of the season, they lost key player Richarlison to Everton, which prompted questions about whether they could stay up this season.

Despite, that their start to the season has been exceptionally good, racking up a win streak of four matches – their all-time best in the Premier League.

They are currently in the top 10, and are looking to beat both Wolves, and Everton to 7th securing European football, which would be an all-time best, and are FA Cup quarter-finalists again.

But how have they gone from being perennial strugglers to top 10 challengers? How has Javi Gracia changed the mentality of the side? The acquisition of Gerard Deulofeu seems to have the image of the club given that he’s come from Barcelona, rather than a Stoke City type of side. He has also maintained the role of Troy Deaney who is a fan favourite at Watford and he has been in fine form.

Gracia has seen the talent that Watford has, and has utilised them well. I like managers that come into the Premier League, and know that they can do better than the level the club is currently at. The likes of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City, and Nuno Espirito Santo have shown that. 

Back to Gracia, I like what’s he’s done with Watford such as looking at ways to improve, and bettering the squad. He’s given them the belief that the squad can aim higher than just doing enough to survive like in previous seasons. Can he keep it up though? We’ll have to find out…

If Watford do indeed finish 7th, the Spanish manager would surely have to be nominated for Manager of the Season, right?

Watford should look to sign this England International

Watford were for many people at the start of the season a team that could do very well this season after the appointment of Marco Silva, but after just one win in nine in the Premier League the “Hornets” find themselves mid-table and 21 points off the fourth spot.

Although we are over halfway through the season, there are still 45 points to play for, and Marco Silva will be demanding more from his players to ensure that they have a strong finish to the season. With the January window, open Silva may look to invest in his squad to help make sure that the club finishes as high as possible in the league table and with that in mind they should turn to Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.

Daniel Sturridge – Although he has been plagued with injury over the last couple of years, Sturridge has proved when he is fit that he certainly knows where the back of the net is as he has 107 career goals to his name.

With the fact that he has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield and the fact that the World Cup is this summer, Sturridge may look for a move away even if it’s on a temporary basis to try and help secure a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England team.

Watford fans would you take Daniel Sturridge at Vicarage Road? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section…

History in the making? Vicarage Road could see Hornets go top

Watford face fellow unbeaten side Manchester City, who could bring the first real challenge for Marco Silva’s side.

Portuguese born Silva could lead Watford to top of the table, for the 2nd time in Watford’s existence but insists the fixture is ‘just another game’.

Last time Watford hit the top of English football was September of 1982 when Survivor were No.1 with Eye of the Tiger and Luther Blissett ended the campaign top scorer with 27 goals.

Manchester City have started the campaign strong with three wins and one draw, scoring 10 and conceding just 2 goals.

They come off the back of a 4-0 win against Feyenoord in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

City are still without skipper Vincent Kompany due to a calf injury sustained on international duty with Belgium.

Yaya Touré has been rumoured with fitness issues, while Raheem Sterling is available after his one match suspension.

The Hornets are without Miguel Britos’ due to suspension, Kiko Femenia and Younes Kaboul both picked up knocks against Southampton at the weekend, Craig Cathcart out with a knee injury along with Roberto Pereyra (groin), Sebastian Prodl (hamstring) and Dja Djedje with a knock.

The last two games have seen City score 7 compared to Watford’s 2 however, Watford only sit two points behind the Blues but the likes of Jesus and Agüero will prove difficult for Kabasele and Mariappa.

Last season Manchester City triumphed both meetings with Hornets, winning 2-0 in December and 5-0 in May.

After replacing Mike Phelan in January of this year, Silva’s Hull were fairly consistent beating Bournemouth 3-1 and drawing 0-0 with Manchester United.

However Silva departed and has had a strong start with Watford with 8 points claimed and no losses so far.

Guardiola has also had a solid start with Manchester City, level at the top with Manchester United on 10 points and still unbeaten, looking for another 3 points to take them above their Manchester rivals who play on Sunday at 4pm.