Thursday, June 29, 2017

Woeful Watford

After finishing 17th in the league last year, Watford guaranteed themselves another season of in England’s top flight. Despite finishing so close to the relegation spots, they were still relatively safe with a six point cushion between themselves and 18th placed Hull. It was still a tough season though for the Hornets and in today’s post I’m going to be analysing what has caused such a poor second season in the Premier League.

Watford finished 17th last term, 1 place above the relegation places.
I’m sure most people would put it down to losing Odion Ighalo to Szechuan Palace in the Chinese Super League and in a way those people would be right; the Nigerian scored 17 goals in the 15/16 season, 15 of which came in the Premier League. But people do seem to forget that he did play a number of games for The ‘Orns last season, scoring 1 goal in 17 league appearances.

I’m sure this won’t surprise any Watford supporters but the truth is Ighalo’s goals dried up a long while ago. In fact if you look into it you’ll see that he lost his scoring touch in the middle of the 15/16 season as he scored 13 goals before January and only managed another 2 before end of the season.

In my opinion Watford haven’t really missed Ighalo specifically, just that consistent goalscorer similar to Ighalo. Someone who can finish the little chances The Hornets create. I don’t want to blind you with stats or anything but this season Watford have had 422 shots in the league, 7th worst in the league (or 14th best if you’re a ‘glass-half-full’ kinda guy).

Since they scored 40 of those shots that means that they have a shot conversion rate of just 9%, joint 4th worse with West Ham, relegated Hull and surprisingly Manchester United. Essentially Watford last season had to create ten chances per game just to guarantee they’d score one goal. This stat just shows how wasteful the Hertfordshire club have been. A finisher is definitely needed…

Watford didn't see a plethora of goals last campaign
...But isn’t necessarily the answer. When you look at West Brom for example, they had a shot conversion rate of just 11% but still managed a top half finish. This was down to their strong and resolute defending.

West Brom had 516 shots at their goal last season, conceding 51, which gave them a shot conceding rate of 10%, joint 4th best in the league. With 539 shots at their goal and 68 conceded, Watford concede 13% of the shots at their goal which doesn’t seem to far off Albion's but is in fact joint second worst in the league, beaten only by Liverpool (14%)…

Conceding goals isn’t a problem as long as you outscore your opponent. This is why liverpool had the worst conceding rate in the league but still managed a top four finish. But to outscore your opponent week in week out you would need some stronger attacking quality at your disposal…

How do Watford's attack compare to the Reds'?
Now Watford have proven they are willing to spend money, I just don’t understand why they splash the cash on random foreign players with no Premier League experience. If your side is lacking creativity and you need goals, you should go out and sign someone you can guarantee will create chances and score goals.

Lads like Jason Puncheon, Gaston Ramirez or Charlie Adam could do a job for Watford. Yeah they may not be the cream of the crop but they’re reliable and are guaranteed to get any lower league club more sightings at goal.
~ I’ve got really into Jason Puncheon at the minute and I’ve no idea why. Good player to watch ~

Not exactly world class talent but could they do a job?
Watford’s midfield has to be a priority to fix at the minute because I think a lot of their midfielders come with hefty price tags but no results to go with it. Once this is sorted I’d look to sign some defenders. The Hornets missed a trick with Harry Maguire but could get a good deal on someone like Robert Huth or Curtis Davies. Two very experienced centre-backs who could really bring something to Watford’s leaky defence.

To be honest though I have complete confidence in Watford’s new boss Marcos Silva to make the right signings. He made some very shrewd signings last campaign and, with them, came close to keeping the Tigers up. The irony is that it would have been Silva’s new club that’d have seen the drop if he was successful. Ah football's a funny game...

The right man for the job?
Anyways that’s all for today’s post. Tune in next week where I’ll be talking about FIFA’s proposed changes to make the game more “enjoyable”, including; 10 minute halves, no offsides, dribbling freekicks and corners and scrapping penalties all together…
~ I am genuinely quite worried about the penalties rule if I’m honest. If they scrap penalties my blog name won’t make sense…~

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

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