Some would call it a lucky stumble, yet the fans among us who follow Quique Flores closely will be aware that any tactical decision that is made has been the result of many hard hours graft behind the scenes at London Colney.
Here is my proposal to you as to why ‘wing-less’ Watford can still maintain the excellent league position we have gained so far, and maybe achieve even more.
Watford and recent rivals Leicester have shone through using the classic 4-4-2 which has relied upon pressing the opposition, quick counter-attacks and lethal striker options. Of course there are fundamental differences between either side, but we can be sure of strong similarities.
Recently, both sides have worn ever so slightly thin – slightly being the operative word before you cast judgement too early. Clubs are starting to ‘suss’ out how to counter-attack the method both sides are using and are taking advantage of both clubs’ small squads and overreliance on key players.
I am not one to dwell on previous games, but I keep being lured back to the 2-1 win against Newcastle last weekend. It was a game which saw Jurado swoop the Man of the Match award, but more importantly for me, we saw Watford make an adaptation which worked perfectly in terms of the formation. In simple terms, Jurado and Deeney floating behind star man Ighalo. They were supported by three players who can defend all night long in Capoue, Behrami and Watson.
It worked, we packed out the midfield defensively and due the nature of Deeney’s and Jurado’s role, we looked a threat in attack constantly.
This variation gave us a unique plan B in comparison to our usual structure of essentially four central midfielders across the middle. I really felt it worked, so much so that this variation made me think that the Hornets do not need to blow £12 million on an inconsistent flair winger like Andros Townsend.
The new transfer looming is a class act who is another central option – Mario Suarez. He will provide some much needed competition for the entire midfield. This signing to me only empathises the coaching staff’s plans to keep to the same two formations we have seen in recent times.
Who needs wingers when you have well-drilled central midfielders, creative wizards like Jurado and finishers like Ighalo?
The thing about wingers is if they fail to fulfil the defensive roles required, then they provide a burden on the rest of squad, while also affecting shape. ‘Carrying’ a player so to speak only works in maybe lower leagues, and you simply cannot afford that in the competitiveness of the English Premier League.
It is no shock where any team is this year based on performance, it is only a shock because of reputation. It is something that means little in football, consistency and tactical astuteness is what brings any side success over the entirety of a footballing season.
We are not safe yet, so keep behind the boys and keep your faith in the Pozzo family. If you really want to frighten yourself with our development, check out our signings from last January! Transformation complete comes to mind.
Brad’s predictions: Nottingham Forest 2-3 Watford & Watford 1-1 Chelsea