Watford

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Season Guide
2021/2022

Watford

In


Imrân Louza (mid) Nantes; Emmanuel Dennis (att) Club Brugge; Mattie Pollock (def) Grimsby Town; Joshua King (att) Everton; Ashley Fletcher (att) Middlesbrough; Danny Rose (def) Tottenham; Kwadwo Baah (att) Rochdale; Juraj Kucka (mid) – Parma; Domingos Quina (mid) Granada – end of loan; Cucho Hernández (att) Getafe – end of loan; Kwasi Sibo (mid) UD Ibiza – end of loan

Out


Craig Dawson (def) West Ham; Ben Wilmot (def) Stoke City; Jorge Segura (def) CD América – on loan; Adalberto Peñaranda (att) Las Palmas – on loan; Achraf Lazaar (def) – released; Carlos Sánchez (mid) – released; Jerome Sinclair (att) – released; Pontus Dahlberg (gk) Doncaster – on loan

Watford finished runners-up to Norwich in the Championship last season after conceding the fewest goals (30) in the league. Although their style of play was not the most attractive, they played possession football and kept the highest number of clean sheets (23). It was Vladimir Ivic who started the season in charge of Watford, but he was replaced by Xisco Munoz in December and the Spanish coach led them to promotion one year after they got relegated to the Championship. Watford signed three forwards this summer in Joshua King, Ashley Fletcher and Emmanuel Dennis, while experienced left-back Danny Rose signed on a free transfer and promising midfielder Imrân Louza joined from Nantes after impressing over two seasons in Ligue 1. Meanwhile, experienced centre-back Craig Dawson and back defender Ben Wilmot departed the club. Munoz imposed a possession-based style of football on the team and shifted from Ivic’s 4-4-2 formation to a more fluid 4-3-3, following an injury to Troy Deeney back in February. Compactness in defence has been their main strength, as centre-back Francisco Sierralta stepped up during the season and his emergence coincided with Watford's upturn in form, while right-back Kiko Femenia also improved under Munoz and produced four assists - the most among Watford defenders. Yet, following the departure of Craig Dawson, Watford should add depth to their defence to be able to compete in the top flight and avoid turning their main strength into a weakness.

Target


Staying out of trouble won’t be easy for Watford and transfer activity will determine whether they manage to secure safety, as they need to sign further defensive recruits this summer.

Season Review
2019/2020

№19: Watford

Only a single win in the opening 17 rounds and the sacking of 3 managers during the campaign were amongst the main reasons why Watford suffered relegation. Releasing Javi Garcia after just 4 games was strange, but it was even stranger that his replacement Flores was given just 10 games before he was sacked too. Pearson was next at the helm, with Watford bottom and 6 points adrift from safety when he came in. Under him at least the home results improved and the Hornets even exited the relegation zone before again slumping into mediocrity in July. This saw Pearson also sacked with just 2 rounds left. Without a fighting chance of survival 2 more defeats followed in their final games. The form at home was the team’s main strength and undoubtedly the most memorable game of this season was the 3:0 home win vs champions Liverpool in late February. Individually Doucoure, captain Deeney and, up until his serious injury in February, Deulofeu were the best players this season. An inability to defend set pieces and unfocused starts to matches were reasons for their struggles - Watford conceded 17 goals inside the opening 20 minutes of games. There was no unity in the squad with captain Deeney hardly giving an example when refusing to get back to training during the COVID-break due to safety reasons. Of the 4 managers that were in charge during the campaign, Pearson achieved the best results, but he showed poor management at dealing with the COVID-break and after the restart Watford were mere shadows of themselves. The Italian owners are now eager to sell the most valuable players, with reports that they might move all of their investments out of England due to Brexit concerns intensifying. All this suggests turbulent times for the Hornets and possible new ownership.


Player of the Season: Abdoulaye Doucoure

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