Watford have secured Premier League safety for the third consecutive year, finishing 14th in the table. Disappointingly, this is the lowest position that the Hornets have been all season. There was a positive start for the Golden boys, achieving a surprise 3-3 draw against Liverpool in the first home game of the season. This was followed by a four game unbeaten run away from home, taking points at The Vitality Stadium, St Marys Stadium, Liberty Stadium and The Hawthorns. Watford placed a respectable fourth position back in October before their form began to dip (a run of one win in eleven matches), arguably after previous manager Marco Silva had offers from Everton. Based on the loss of form and Silva’s desire to leave the club, the Pozzo’s were forced to make a difficult decision to sack Silva, replacing him with Spaniard Javi Gracia. Luckily Watford had gathered a considerable number of points towards safety before their form deteriorated. Things may have panned out a lot differently if Watford had kept Silva, however I believe it was the right decision. While under Silva’s management, the best game had to be the 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Vicarage Road with Cleverley scoring the 92nd minute winner. In contrast, the lowest point was a 3-2 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park where Watford threw away a two goal lead, conceding in added time just before Tom Cleverley missed a penalty.
Javi Gracia guided Watford to a memorable 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea in his first home game in charge, where Watford scored three goals in the final six minutes. Indeed, the Hornets home form has been much improved, only losing once under Gracia. However, away form has been poor where Watford have not found the back of the net once away from home while being under Gracia’s management. It would be great if Gracia got the chance to continue next season to make the changes but I wouldn’t be surprised if Watford appointed a new man in charge because that’s how their structure works.
On the field it could’ve been a different story if English midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah had not had a season ending injury back in September, as he was beginning to form a good partnership with fellow midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure. Without a doubt, Player of the year for me must be Doucoure because he runs the midfield ragged and always seems full of energy as well as being Watford’s top goal scorer, with seven goals for this season. For such a talented player, his future would appear to be away from Watford next season. To me, the most disappointing player would be Brazilian forward Richarlison, after such an impressive start for the Hornets he has failed to make an impact whilst under Gracia. His £30 million price tag will have somewhat dropped come the summer transfer window. The most frustrating player would be Greek defender Jose Holebas, purely down to his delivery of corners and free kicks, repeatedly not beating the first man and his poor attitude, arguing with the referee and confronting his own fans. As a whole the season has had some highs and lows, looking into the summer perhaps Watford need to be looking for a new goalkeeper, a new striker and most importantly a more solid line of defence if they are to improve next term.
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