Written by David Robinson
With less than a month to go until Watford kick off their Premier League season, the club have started their pre-season friendlies and will look to build a team ready to go to battle this season. New boss Walter Mazzarri will be forming his own plans and while these can always change throughout, he favours a formation with 3 at the back and this was shown in a 1-1 draw against Woking last Sunday. With this particularly in mind, I look at what Watford need in order to be confident going into a long and tough season.
This is for me the position that needs the most attention. A specialist position which is the biggest source of width and is pivotal in the success of the shape and balance of a team. We currently have Nyom, Paredes, Holebas and Anya who could operate in this position fairly naturally however I’m sure many fans would feel uneasy if these were the players who were deployed throughout the season. Nyom started excellently from his arrival at Vicarage Road but has become a liability leaving the right wing back position a must in terms of recruitment. Paredes is simply not up to standards despite more likely fitting the wing-back position greater than the right back position.
Holebas has looked an accomplished player in his infrequent appearances meaning should he start, he should handle the position down the left hand side with his attacking qualities a key asset in this Watford side. Ikechi Anya is also likely to benefit from being pushed further forwards rather than being at left back where the winger found himself at times last season. On the other hand, if Watford are looking to push on from a 13th place last season then this area will needs improvement. A step up in quality on both flanks would realistically be needed if the Golden Boys are to cope over the season.
Another area of concern for me is in central midfield. Mazzarri looks to have plenty of robustness in the middle of the park with Capoue, Behrami and Doucoure at the club among others. Having a creative force than links the midfield to attack could be key for the Hornets in order to provide more service to the likes of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. With Jurado departing, the type of player who could flourish in a 352 system, the options to fill this role could be Steven Berghuis who would be moved from out on the right hand side. We briefly saw the Dutchmen’s eye for a pass towards the end of last season and he could re-ignite his Watford career in more of a free role – otherwise I would struggle to see where he could fit in. Almen Abdi remains the other attacking midfielder at the club, a player who was underwhelming following his consistent brilliance in the Championship. However an Almen Abdi playing more centrally, a player who flourished in an advanced role in a 3-5-2 formation could see a much better player this time round. With this all in mind, this position should not be a huge cause of panic but at times Watford will need a spark through the middle and I have my doubts that the club are blessed with proven ability in this department.
With 3 centre backs likely to be deployed this season, this position will require a different set of qualities than the ones that were needed in a back four last season. Covering in wide areas and holding a strong back five when defending, it will be interesting to see how the likes of Cathcart and co. compare despite already having experience in a back five. Mazzarri has Britos, Cathcart, Prodl, Kabesele and Hoban at his disposal. This again should not be a huge concern with the first three defenders doing a fine job last season however a history of injuries among the defenders and some concerning performances towards the end of the season means that the club would be better prepared should a quality addition come in at centre back.
The Pozzo’s always seem to find the answer so while there is not a big reason to panic, a few additions to the club would be very much welcomed.
How many more additions do Watford need? Let us know in the comments below!