Watford finished last season in 13th place after they slipped outside the top 10 in the second half of the season. Under Quique Sanches Flores the team made a very good start, remaining around the top 10 for the whole of the first half with Odion Ighalo scoring goals regularly. Finishing 13th was a bit disappointing from where they were initially but it is still a decent position for a club to finish in their first season after promotion. This season, however, there’s a new manager at the helm, who would be imposing his own style on the squad. Walter Mazzarri is the man to lead the team into the new era, potentially with his 3-5-2 formation.
The Hornets have utilized the transfer window to a very good effect so far, bringing in the players who would be bringing the change into their gameplay reflecting the tactics of their manager. The capture of specialist fullbacks in Camilo Zuniga and Brice Dja Djedje is an indication of the emphasis of that position under the new manager. Watford’s biggest signing so far has been Isaac Success from Granada for a fee of £15 m. Centre-back Christian Kabasele, a £ 6.95m signing would bolster the defence further and is expected to start as one of the back three.
How the team is shaping up
Troy Deeney would be an important player for the Hornets again this year but there are question marks over Odion Ighalo for with all his skills in front of the goal he is not the kind of mobile center forward Mazzarri likes to work with. There are some other players targeted in that role, one of them being Saido Berahino of West Brom. Thus, there can still be some movements in the market for Watford with a player coming in in the forward position.
Apart from that, the team looks fit and well capable of putting up a fight. The biggest challenge this season for Mazzarri would be to keep the levels of fitness of the players throughout the season, as his style would demand a lot of it. The manager must once again make sure the team stays compact and steady throughout the season and doesn’t fall away again in the 2nd half where their mettle and physical condition would be put to the test. Mazzarri is well aware of the challenges that await him and when asked about what he expects next season he replied, “At Napoli, it was a great adventure that lasted four years with intense pressure. But I must say I work best under pressure because I like challenges. It was time for me to go abroad and put myself to the test as I need challenges in life. The Premier League is the right place to start for that as it’s the most important league in the world.”