Will Watford avoid the dreaded drop?

Watford Football Club must be one of the strangest clubs in the country. They go through more managers than hot dinners, avoid relegation with ease most seasons and even made the FA Cup final last year.

After a dreadful start to the 2019/20 season, Javi Gracia lost his job in September. However, the new manager bounce never arrived with Quique Sanchez Flores, who was back for his second stint with the London club, as Watford only won one game in three months.

So here we are, Watford on their third manager of the season and they must have some guts to sack this one. Nigel Pearson is at the helm and enjoying life; so far. The former Leicester City manager took charge in December and has had a great influence on the club. Many speculated it was a step back in terms of progress but Pearson is a classic no-nonsense manager who will strip the side back to the basics; that is exactly what Watford needed and he has done.

He has come in and established his strongest formation, 4-2-3-1, and created a tighter unit at the back. During his time already, Pearson’s side have kept four clean sheets in the league. This defensive solidity has given the forward players more freedom to attack and find the back of the net more frequently. The Watford side under Pearson have scored double the amount of goals (14) in his time than they did under the previous two managers (7).

That unit mentality and strong team ethic will be vital for the run in come the end of the season but it is key they do not let their good form slip now. Currently 19th in the league, but just two points adrift of safety, Watford know they have to pick up points against sides around them. They know that the game against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend is a huge fixture.

A win on the weekend could see them out of the relegation zone and they could possibly go as high as 15th; however that would mean a nine goal swing against Brighton. The fact of it is Watford have to win games. They will be reeling from the late goals against Aston Villa and Everton in their previous two league fixtures.

They do have some tough games to come especially with a back to back header against Manchester United and Liverpool. However, the league this year has thrown up some very interesting results and Watford have already beaten Manchester United this season under Pearson.

Ultimately, Pearson has brought a sense of understanding and cohesion back to Vicarage Lane. It could be a vital component in survival. They are tough to beat and can win games again. You have to imagine that they will be safe but they need to fight for it now, in February, rather than left wondering what may have been come the end of the season.

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Phil Taylor
Phil is a keen sports enthusiast from Blackpool, England but is currently living in Manchester. He is an avid fan of any standard of football. Currently works on the EFL Championship for Sports Courant but happily works on several other leagues across the world.

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