With just eleven games to go, Watford sit a respectable 13th place going into the closing stages of this Premier League campaign, the same position the Hornets finished last season when they were praised under Quique Sanchez Flores. So certainly a steady job done by Walter Mazzarri, right? It’s not been that straightforward for the Italian who has endured a spell of recent pressure following poor results and arguably even more significantly, some shocking performances.
In my opinion, the line had to be drawn when the club embarrassed themselves out of the FA Cup at the hands of Millwall. No fight, no cohesion and no clue, the signs had already emerged from previous games but it came to light with this abject display in a competition the club must go all out for. Just two days later though the nation was blown away as Mazzarri’s men triumphed away at the Emirates. That performance was stunning and at that point when the Golden Boys had showed so much potential, it was a real opportunity for a new lease of life.
To Mazzarri’s defence he’s had to deal with difficult circumstances. Frequent and hard hitting injuries have made it very difficult to put out a consistent team which is shown to come up positively for successful sides. When just one win in nine league games came over December/January before the Arsenal result, any side in and around us in the bottom half would probably have seen a similar outcome without numerous key men. Of course go back to mid September and Watford had just beaten Manchester United making it a great start to the season so with injuries and circumstances in mind, has Mazzarri done a bad job?
My answer is yes…and that is to not simply look at the black and white of a league table or certain results. In general his tactics, methodology, motivation have been simply amateur like. The implementation of a 3-5-2 formation has simply not worked, far too often you leave yourselves wondering what the strategy is on the pitch and indeed it looks like the players aren’t sure of their responsibilities either. A defensive record of 47 conceded, 19 more than this time last season backs this up. Individually we may not be blessed with the greatest defensive talent but a quality manager can certainly tighten things up like Flores did, with what remains a similar group of players.
Are our players good enough as a whole? I firmly believe they are, we are no world beaters but on our day in the right setup we are as good as anyone from 7th downwards. The Premier League once again has fallen short in terms of quality, when you see the likes of West Brom in 8th it has to create frustration for fans that we are getting held back by lacklustre managerial skills. While not having inside knowledge about what is translated on the training ground, it’s evident to see on the pitch that message is not being translated. Even more so I’m a believer that a team represents a manager on the field of play and Mazzarri’s hectic and bemused style has rubbed into an ill disciplined, temperamental side. Which would surely be an explanation for the inconsistent displays this season?
So while all doesn’t appear bleak by any means and with testing times for any manager having occurred, Mazzarri is fortunate to have a good squad at his disposal and even so to have poor competition surrounding him. His chance to redeem himself after the Arsenal result was there for the taking but things haven’t changed and while 13th place is no disgrace, I’m sure I share the opinion that’s important to smell the danger before it starts to hit the club hard. Watford need to get over the line this season and find the answer, because Mazzarri is simply not that.
Watford fans, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!