Season Beginnings

Discussion in 'The Hornets' Nest - Watford Chat' started by Sting, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Sting

    Sting Squad Player

    How soon into a season should you start to make predictions about its outcome? Normally I reckon that about ten games is enough to give at least a fair idea on good/average/struggle.

    Even so each game is important and sets the team up in terms of confidence. The first two or three games of a season can be really defining. In our last three seasons we have had pretty good starts – and indeed they have tended to help us weather our poor closing.

    I think the Brighton game was very significant for several reasons. It is of course only one defeat but – it comes off the back of a run of defeats after our semi-final win. It also continued that trend of conceding heavily. Secondly Brighton are a “struggler” club in recent years, not a top 6. Third we were at home and if you are going to survive that is where you get most of your wins.

    Maybe Brighton had a “new manager” effect, were fairly lucky and the scoreline perhaps flattered them slightly. But they have spent heavily and it looks like they will climb the table this year.

    However out first target is always survival and to do so you need around 40 points and that probably means about 11 victories. Assuming our form against the top 6 continues and we get no wins again this year we have 26 “winnable” games. Only 13 home ones. You have to factor in some draws 4, 5? So realistically you are only going to win about 8 home games and then have to pick up a few victories on our travels – just to survive.

    Yesterday could have been one of those 8 wins.

    If we go to Everton and lose the pressure on us at home to West Ham will be great – how did we do in April – oh yes, we lost 4-1.

    I am sure the usual suspects will come on here bemoaning “negativity” as though any analysis which does not say we will get into Europe is bad but as I said at the beginning you really need about ten games to get a true perspective and I am certainly not suggesting that the one defeat can tell us too much. However sometimes a warning sign appears early and needs to be taken seriously. I think Brighton falls into that category.

    What do others think?
    Happy bunny and SkylaRose like this.
  2. folkestone orn

    folkestone orn Squad Player

    I think we're so accustomed to starting strongly in recent years. There was always a danger, perhaps even likelihood, that a poor start would cause some panic amongst the fans. This is totally understandable.

    This result should be a wake-up call for Javi and the players. Judging by both JG and BF's interviews afterwards, it was.
    One thing that I found interesting about what BF said was that the belief is that only 7 or 8 teams have stronger squads than us. This could explain that complacency. It also demonstrates that the 'first choice' players are replaceable if they underperformed, and they are (apparently) aware of this.

    It's clearly far too early to panic. Anybody chastising those for being negative after Saturday is plain wrong imo. It was as bad a result as we could have imagined. There's no point in pretending otherwise.

    Get the tactics and attitude right and we'll be fine.
    PowerJugs, Sting and SkylaRose like this.
  3. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Reservist

    Were Watford and wayyyyy to unpredictable for even the hardest of fortune tellers of football.

    We are the sort of team who can go to Arsenal and win, then play Sheff Utd and lose heavily. It depends on what team turns up. In Slithers last games it was easy to see players had downed tools and had given up his game plans.

    It remains to be seen if this is just a blip in form or a larger issue at hand with regards to player attitude. From what I saw at the Vic on Saturday, the latter appears to be true.
    Happy bunny and Sting like this.
  4. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    I’m not sure that will remain to be true for much longer...

    Gracia’s tactics are all too predictable at the moment and in the last 7 or 8 competitive games we’ve played, the opposition have just picked us off. We look easy to play against. My fear is that Sarr will be absolutely wasted in this formation.
  5. Relegation Certs

    Relegation Certs Squad Player

    Everton away is a write-off, and losing 3-0 again seems like the most likely result.

    Fail to get 4 points from the west ham and newcastle games will see us in a position we'll never recover from, considering it's arsenal, man city and wolves after that.
    NathWFC, SkylaRose, Burnsy and 2 others like this.
  6. Relegation Certs

    Relegation Certs Squad Player

    considering our record against the top 6 last season, I'd say this is complete bollox.
  7. Sting

    Sting Squad Player

    I had to give you a "like"for living up to your name so well.
  8. Relegation Certs

    Relegation Certs Squad Player

    Relegation will be a small price to pay for being proven right on the internet.
  9. Lloyd

    Lloyd Reservist

    About 45 minutes. We're f***ed
    Sting likes this.
  10. GoingDown

    GoingDown Pizza & Figs

    I forgot we play Wolves soon. Sure they'll be laughing heartily as they inflict our 11th consecutive defeat.

    Certain areas of the fan base will wave yellow flags, others will advise that its too early to make judgements on the season.
  11. folkestone orn

    folkestone orn Squad Player

    Plus think about an entire pre-season of pub debates. What's not to like?
  12. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    Embarrassingly, they'll sing 'did you cry at Wembley,' as if our subsequent international embarrassment in the final, collapse in the league and wolves' continuing progress since that game have not meant we are the comprehensive losers in this.
    CarlosKickaballs and Cthulhu like this.
  13. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    We have big problems.....mainly with mentality and attitude, but I'm going to look at Saturday's result as a possible blessing. There's no hiding place after that. No one can say we were unlucky. Ok a penalty should have been given, which would have probably changed the result, but so much was wrong about that display that you cannot moan about a 0-3 loss to a side that struggles badly on the road. Only 3 wins in their past 32 games before Saturday, tells you all you need to know about the quality of the opposition.

    Now we know we have things that need urgent attention, so that's good.

    Even before the season started, I looked at the fixture list and thought we'd better win against Brighton, or else our start could be very tough indeed.

    Next games are:
    Everton (a ) a place where we've never won in our history.
    West Ham (h ) who smashed us 4-1 at the Vic only two homes matches ago.
    Newcastle (a ) ok, I cannot pretend we don't have a chance of a result here, but like all away games, it will be a tough fixture. Their new signings are decent for sure.
    Arsenal (h ) a top 6 side and we all know we're pussies against this sort of opposition.
    Wolves (a ) no chance
    Man City (a ) we all know how this one will go too.

    So there you have it. 4 away, just 2 at home. It's going to be us down near the bottom, almost certainly, no matter how we play looking at that lot.

    I think we have to accept the possibility we will be fighting against the drop for much of the first half of the season (imo of course).

    We need to get our toughness and togetherness back. We've lost that big time. We've also got those two new signings to come in. They will give us a shot in the arm and some fresh impetus.

    I'm hoping by the time we play Sheff Utd at home, there will be signs of improvement and we'll be looking forward again.

    The end of season break has done nothing to arrest the slide, so something has to change in order for momentum and belief to be restored. I have confidence, by hook or by crook, this slump will be sorted out well before the end of the season.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Happy bunny likes this.
  14. West Ham lost their first four matches last season - but still finished above us in the table. There's always hope...
  15. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Keyboard Warrior Staff Member

    That set of fixtures makes for depressing reading.

    Everton - no chance, will feel they owe us a spanking and will deliver one
    WH - no real chance but perhasp our lightest defeat
    Newcastle away - lucky to get a draw.
    Arsenal - top 6 no chance
    Wolves - comprehensive loss as they again owe us plus likely to be violence from them. lovely
    City Away - Im not even going to listen in to this, my respect to anyone going. 6 or more nil

    1 Point at most from 7 this season and we are rooted to the bottom of the table.
    Media reports on where it has all gone wrong for us.
    Pozzo will act and Gracia will go.
    Again media criticism and criticism from other fans (FA cup final, little watford etc)

    Then it depends who we get in. But they will have the advantage of not having to play city, wolves and everton away.
  16. Sting

    Sting Squad Player

    I had not looked that far ahead but it is entirely possible we will have zero points after that lot. Two draws would actually not be a bad return.
    Now I have spoiled my entire day.
    wfcmoog likes this.
  17. hornetboy1

    hornetboy1 First Team

    If it goes the way many expect, then Gracia would be under serious pressure to keep his job for sure. However, the Watford board respect Javi and I think they would give him a little more time. Sheff Utd would be a must win game for him. If we didn't win that one, after the scenario you've portrayed, then I'm not sure how long the Pozzo patience would last before the inevitable. Once you're in a run as bad as that, it rarely turns around.

    However, we're still a long way from that, and I hope we'd get an unexpected win or two long before Sheff Utd. Gracia is a good fit for Watford and I hope he turns this mini crisis around.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  18. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Keyboard Warrior Staff Member

    I dont think we are far off with the team playing as it is and the fixture list as it is. Mid september.
    You can still get us at 4/1 for relegation if you like free money
    wfcmoog likes this.
  19. Relegation Certs

    Relegation Certs Squad Player

    Sheff Utd is when he'll be fired. They'll tonk us 4-1 a la huddersfield the other year. Our team will not be able to cope with their desire and heart.
  20. Knight GT

    Knight GT Predictor extraordinaire 2013/14

    God this is depressing stuff! I don't think Gracia can play 4-2-2-2 with Sarr, Welbeck and Delefeou in the team and clearly they will all play when fit so hopefully they can play asap. All games in this league in general are difficult and I hope this is the boot up the backside the team needs otherwise there will be some people proved right on here and I will look like an idiot.
    I believe will be ok as I think we actually have a decent squad but the squad suits a different formation
    Our full backs are not great at defending so I would go 3 at the back and play 3-4-3. With everybody available I would play
    Foster - Not sure there is anybody better despite some iffy form
    CB - Cathcart Kabasele Dawson. Despite some worrying decision making I still think Kabasele should be in the side and would add some pace to the back line.
    Midfield in a diamond formation - Capoue sitting in front of the back 3. Doucoure and Cleverley in the middle. These are the two that need to have the best engines to get up and down all game and although Cleverley has not been at his best since coming back from injury it is something he is good at. At the top of the diamond, Hughes. Just behind the attackers where he can be the asset most people know he is capable of.
    Attack - Interchangeable between Sarr, Welbeck and Delefeou.
    A lot depends on fitness but we have back ups for these positions. Pereyra, Gray and Deeney for the attackers. Quina and Chalobah for the midfield. Mariappa and Holebas for defence. This can be changed to 3-5-2 if we wanted to be more defensive.
    This will allow us to concentrate on our strengths and if we can make other teams think about these then the less issues we will have at the back
    I'm sure we won't do this but we need to change things as if you keep doing the same things you will get the same results.
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  21. So with no RB or LB who is covering attacks down the flanks via nippy widemen ? Doucoure & Cleverley effectively playing LM & RM ?
  22. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    I said in another thread that Brighton was a must win because of the run which follows.

    I dont think we'll go down, but we will probably be in the bottom 3 after 6 odd games and that's a nasty place to be.

    I'm looking at Palace's season last year as a kind of example. We'll have a dismal start but will need to finish strongly. That might need a change of coach to kickstart things, as Javi would need to reinvent himself beyond what I've seen in his time here, to drag this lot of spirit less players out of an extended, trans-seasonal slump.
  23. Knight GT

    Knight GT Predictor extraordinaire 2013/14

    I would push the centre backs wide and drop the DM back in to the midfield. As I said, can be changed to 3-5-2 depending on the opposition.
  24. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    That's how we lined up against Muff last year & they murdered us down the wings.

    Holly, Fem & Janmaat aren't any younger.
  25. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    Wednesday is Mooney Day.

    20 years ago we started with defeats to Wimbledon & Sunderland, & then made our way forlornly to Merseyside.
  26. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    I would say, actually, that our greatest strength in the Prem has been our increasing predictability.

    Last year, we lost to the big 6 & beat the bottom third.

    Losing to a bottom third outfit at home is alarming in this context.
  27. None of those 3 are in Knight GT's starting 11 !
    Knight GT likes this.
  28. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    He can if he plays Sarr at left back.
    Knight GT likes this.
  29. Sarr will probably be injured on his debut and out for the season.
  30. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    Several Championship teams lined up 4-1-4-1 at the weekend.
  31. RookeryDad

    RookeryDad Squad Player

    When crunching into Welbz & also the returning Chalobah?
  32. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    And we still went down.
  33. Burnsy

    Burnsy Squad Player

    The issue with playing 3 CB’s is that with that formation, we will already be looking to play Sarr in an unnatural position - do we really want to go down that road again?

    Personally, the whole thing boils down to Deeney in my opinion. The club and manager have allowed themselves to get into a situation where the atmosphere is clearly ‘Deeney can’t be dropped’.

    But when you look at the personnel available to Javi, I think we don’t have a particularly deep squad in places so we should be looking to play our best team with the players in their obvious positions of strength.

    The defence is an issue. And one that should have been fixed this summer - but it hasn’t been. I don’t think any of them will be improved by a different formation personally and I think we will have to rely on being better going forwards to negate the weaknesses at the back.

    Dawson and Cathcart are the best we have. I have issues that they are very similar profiles but I do think they are the most dependable - admittedly not saying much. The full-backs either side are much of a muchness as well really and no significant improvements come from whichever ones you choose. But I’d stick to 4 at the back.

    I think we should play Capoue and Doucoure as a two just in front of the back 4.

    And then Pereyra on the wide-left and Sarr on the wide-right - they can interchange sides at times and both play with the natural width they enjoy.

    I’d have Quina, Hughes and Deeney battle it out for the No.10 role. And then Deulofeu up front. Welbeck can compete when he is up to speed and Deulofeu can go to wing, and can compete for the No.10 role.

    Playing 4-2-3-1 gives us options in near every position and only really has Deulofeu potentially playing in an unfamiliar role. I actually think the squad is deeper in quality when the right formation is picked - but it has the illusion of being weak because too many players are shoehorned into unnatural positions by Gracia stubbornly refusing to adapt.

    But I think Gracia will soon be looking down the barrel of the sack if he sticks to 4-2-2-2.
  34. luke_golden

    luke_golden Space Cadet

    I agree with this post entirely. I desperately HOPE that the plan going forward is for Welbeck to lead the line, and Deulofeu to play that 10 role, with as you say, Pereyra and Sarr out wide. Pereyra would likely cut inside more to link with Geri and Welbeck, whereas Sarr would play more like a traditional winger and stretch the field on the right, giving us decent variety in our attacks and presenting opposition defenders with a number of threats to consider.

    Perhaps I’m giving Javi more credit than he’s due, but it’s also possible that his refusal to adapt beyond the 4-2-2-2 has been in part because we’ve lacked a forward capable of playing alone. Welbeck, if fit, may be the answer to this, given he possesses decent enough pace to present a threat in behind, while being physically and technically capable of holding the ball up when needed. I can understand why we’ve persisted with 2 up front when we’ve been picking between players who all lack the capability to be an effective lone forward.

    I feel as though Deulofeu practically played the 10 role last year, as he was mostly given freedom to roam and create, whilst being quick enough to also provide a threat in behind when space was there to run into.

    I’ll be very worried if Deeney continues to play once Welbeck is fit.
    Pob, Grrwood and RookeryDad like this.
  35. W & C fit enough to both appear for the first team, IN THE SAME MATCH ???? What are the chances ??

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