Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A look inside the Hornets' nest

It's too early in the season to talk of both Watford and Charlton being in the Championship Relegation League. However, the Addicks are one point and one place behind the Hornets. What is immediately striking is that the Hornets have scored three more goals (12 against nine) but have conceded half as many again (fifteen against ten), although five of those were in a defeat by Derby.

Over the summer Watford were bought by the Pozzo family who also own Udinese and loan players from there are a key part of the new set up. Chelsea legend Gianfronco Zola was brought in as manager. Sean Dyche, who had got the club to 11th last season with a minimal financial outlay, was unceremoniously shunted out of the way. Even so, the starting odds were 28/1 for the Hornets to win the division and 5/1 to be relegated.

Four Four Two had them finishing 15th and that was also the position chosen by the Football League Paper. The Times saw them ending up 19th, which indeed is where they are at the moment.

Watford had a special boost on 22nd September against Bristol City when striker Troy Deeney was released from prison after serving just two-and-a-half months of a ten month sentence imposed for affray following a brawl outside a Birmigham night club. The prison diet does not seem to have done him any harm as he made an immediate impact. Nevertheless, the match ended 2-2 despite Watford having the majority of the possession and far more shots on and off target. This perhaps says something about defensive vulnerability.

Last Saturday they beat Huddersfield 3-2, winning with a 87th minute penalty. This was Watford's first win in six games. And it was Troy Deeney who stepped up to slot the ball home.

Former Arsenal keeper Manuel Alumina is in goal for the Hornets, although clearly he is not invincible and was thought to be somewhat at fault for the first Bristol goal. Italian international full back Marco Casetti seems to be a bit of a disaster area. Against Bristol City he was caught out of position several times. He struggled against Huddersfield.

Centre back Nyron Nosworthy was a tower of strength against Bristol. He was unavailable last Saturday, but is expected to play tonight. Udinese loanee Neuton [sic] finds the physical side of the Championship a bit of a challenge, but he was solid enough at Huddersfield.

Hornets youngster Nathaniel Chalobah was more impressive against Bristol than away at Huddersfield. Almen Abdi controlled the flow of play in the first half against Bristol, but was disappointing at Huddersfield.

Udinese loanee Fernando Forestieri was often thwarted and lost possession against Bristol, but was the star man for Watford at Huddersfield. He scored one goal and won the decisive penalty.

Forestieri played in Serie A when he was just 17 and he has an impressive turn of speed which enables him to get behind defenders. However, he can also be a bit moody, so it is never quite clear which version is going to turn up. He tends to play for himself rather than the team.

Vydra will be back from injury tonight and he was a real threat against Bristol City, scoring his fourth goal of the season after sublime control. He has excellent ball control and is good at getting past defenders.

Watford are going to score at least one goal, so we need to attack them. The big question mark is whether Ricardo Fuller will have recovered from what sounded like a nasty virus. If Wright-Phillips has to start on his own, then we need someone in the hole behind him who can get balls to him along the ground.

I am at pretty hopeless at predictions as my position in both the West Sussex league and the informal Row Q competition shows. However, if you want a guess, I will go for 2-2. See you there! Incidentally, when I started supporting Charlton in the 1950s, I would have been astonished if someone had told me that in 2012 I would be travelling 100 miles to games, using a train service provided by Deutsche Bahn.

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