Editor Tom Bodell gives his thoughts on Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic
SO, that`s it, season over, time to pack up for the next eight months and try again next season. At least, that`s what you`d think if you had a quick search for ‘Watford FC` on Twitter following yesterday`s 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic.
Granted, it was far from a brilliant performance from the Hornets, who lacked any real cutting edge in the final third. It was also a fourth league game without a win, but the way some fans are carrying on you`d think we`re in Millwall`s position.
Without wishing to steal any of BHaPPY`s thunder, here are some of my thoughts following yesterday`s draw at the Vic`.
Everyone just calm down: This isn`t applicable to all and it`s certainly always the most vocal and the most negative that get the most attention on Twitter, but those suggesting radical change at this stage are clearly forgetting that we`ve lost once in the league this season and were the greatest team in the land after two wins earlier in August.
We`re seven games into a 46 game season. By my maths, that`s 39 games left to play and 117 points still to play for. Nobody in the division can be written off for promotion or the Play-Offs and as we have seen in recent years, it only takes a run of five or six wins and you are propelled up the league standings, a la Reading two years ago.
This season was always going to be tougher: Even with the bulk of our business done before the season kicked off, this year was always going to be much tougher than last.
For starters, we`re no longer a surprise package. Everyone knows we`re going to play possession-heavy football, everyone knows we`re going to play three at the back and everyone knows we`re bloody effective on the counter – though that might not be so true following Matej Vydra`s departure.
Throw into the mix that we`re not one of two teams in the division playing 3-5-2 – or 3-4-3 yesterday – anymore, Birmingham now play it, Charlton now play it and I`m sure others will too when they come up against us.
On top of that, the three relegated sides are no mugs. Whilst Reading do appear to be making a bit of ham-fisted attempt of bouncing back, Queens Park Rangers have shocked many – myself included – but then they have money and a shrewd manager. Wigan might not be firing on all cylinders yet, but again, they have money and a shrewd manager.
Compare those three to the trainwrecks that came down the year before – Wolves and Blackburn – and it`s easy to see this division will be trickier than last.
We need a Plan B and we need it fast: Pass, pass, pass is lovely and you`ll never catch me criticizing Gianfranco Zola or the players for trying to pass the football, never. But, when that clearly isn`t working against a team who have come for a point, or in Charlton`s case, were trying to protect the one-goal lead they`d unexpectedly gained, there needs to be an alternative plan, an alternative route to goal.
What that is, I`m not sure, but it`s up to Zola to work that one out.
Daniel Pudil is not a winger: For me, Pudil`s best position is at left-back in a back four. Asked to get up and down, he will, manfully so, but what does he offer? He isn`t the quickest and he isn`t the most skillful either.
The need for a left-sided wing-back who has an attacking skillset to match his defensive one is evident and if we`re going to continue to play 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 or any system that requires the wide players to attack and defend, a reinforcement is needed in the loan window.
Just not Matthew Briggs?
Troy Deeney isn`t undroppable: Yes, he is our talismanic number nine, yes he leads the line and yes he is a reliable source of goals, but right now the ball is not running for him and the one big chance he had yesterday, he would have scored last season or even earlier in this.
We have Javi Acuna chomping at the bit on the bench and for me, the two players are similar, despite their differing physiques. Both play as out-and-out centre-forwards, both bring others into play and both put themselves about. It`s one or the other, though, and right now, Deeney is not at his best.
What did you think of yesterday`s draw? Let us know by commenting below!