An Interview With A Watford Fan
Ahead of our game against Watford, we had a quick word with wfc123 from Vital Watford.
So with thanks!
1) What are your hopes for this season and where do you see yourself finishing?
My hope is that we better last season's superb 11th-place finish. Sean Dyche did a brilliant job to deliver a highly-unexpected top-half finish on a shoe-string budget to a backdrop of chaos off the field. if we better that 11th place, the sacking will have been 'justified'.
I heard a tremendous stat from Watford fan & journalist Lionel Birnie the other day, which was that at the same stage, we had one more point under Gianluca Vialli in 2001. Our last Italian manager & a deeply unpopular character; here's hoping we're not talking about Gianfranco Zola in similar terms in 11 years time!
2) Any highlights to speak of from pre season or the league?
Pre-season was more about off the field goings on than on the field matters. There was obviously the mounting speculation about the state of the club, the previous owner, the potential new owners and what that would bring to the club. Results were far from notable so I think it's fair to say most the intrigue was off the field.
In terms of the season so far, the highlight has to be our opening day victory over Crystal Palace. Trailing 2-1 with captain John Eustace subbed off due to injury, the fledgling team fought back to win 3-2 in the 90th minute with late screamers from new-boys Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra.
3) Any weaknesses that we can take advantage of - hints welcome!
A few weeks ago I would have said that defensively we were quite poor & from set pieces especially we were there to be got at. However, a change to 3-5-2 and the introduction of Fitz Hall and Tommie Hoban seems to have rectified those issues.
Problems now include right wing-back Marco Cassetti, who despite being an incredibly adept technical footballer, is devoid of any pace. At 35 that is hardly surprising and thus he struggles big time to deal with quick wingers. It's fair to say that Ben Marshall and Lloyd Dyer could have a field day up against Cassetti.
One issue arising from the 90th minute defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers last weekend was that we were too negative. We looked comfortable without every really coming out and attacking Rovers. We have the players to attack teams and cause them problems so it was frustrating to hear that we were being a touch negative.
4) Who is your dangerman and are their any new additions we should look out for?
Ok, here goes!
Daniel Pudil (left wing-back): Suspended vs. Blackburn but back to face you. Really cute left foot, good going forward & solid at the back.
Fitz Hall: Has shored up a defence which was previously leaking goals for fun. A big, experienced presence alongside young Hoban.
Almen Abdi (central midfield): Has scored three times - a screamer, a penalty and a free kick - and adds a touch of class to proceedings. Good passing, awareness and vision.
Matej Vydra (striker) - Hard-working striker who's quickly become a fan's favourite and got amongst the goals. No slouch either.
Fernando Forestieri (striker) - Similar to Vydra in a lot of ways but with a more selfish streak about him. Loves to slalom between defenders & known to take a tumble.
Dangerman is hard.
Zola has rotated the side quite a bit in recent games so it would be hard to pinpoint any one player. With that in mind I'd say any of the above five will cause the opposition problems, depending on who is selected. Hall and Pudil are the only dead-certs.
5) Where do you see Leicester finishing this time round and do you think Nigel Pearson is the man to take us up?
I think Pearson is a really good player & I expect a top-six finish, but realistically it should be promotion. He's done exactly the right thing in shifting all the egos and big names and building a fairly wholesome, hungry young squad of technical players. This should be Leicester's year.
6) If you could sign one of our players, who would it be?
Matty James. He's got similar strengths to Abdi and whenever I've seen him for Preston or England's youth sides I've been impressed.
7) Where do you see our main threat?
David Nugent has been in excellent form lately whilst Marshall has looked dangerous too. I was impressed with him when I first saw him for Sheffield Wednesday at Hartlepool! I would have plumped for him in the above question but we don't really play with out-and-out wingers.
8) Where do you think our main weakness lies?
I honestly don't know. Perhaps the weight of expectation? The talk about Pearson getting the sack earlier in the campaign looks more and more ridiculous with every passing week!
9) Which way will the game go, a prediction please...
1-1. A tight affair.
After perusing the Watford site, I had an additional question about their ties to Udinese and the number of loanees.
Well! You've asked a question there...
14 loanees - 1 from Standard Liege, 1 from Chelsea, 2 from Granada and 12 from Udinese!
We've always utilised the loan market heavily - in recent years Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Foster, Henri Lansbury, Tom Cleverley, Michael Kightly, Heidar Helguson, Jordon Mutch and Andrew Taylor have all played key parts for us.
This though, is brand new to us. A lot reactionary idiots quickly appear out the woodwork to blame the loanees/foreigners/non-Watford players if we lose; they're an easy scapegoat afterall. However, I think a lot of people have reluctantly accepted we would never attract players of this calibre normally. I write interviews for the club programme and through doing so I've spoken to a few of those on loan and they are all eager to state that it is their choice to be here. They get offered the opportunity and if they want to come, they do so, which obviously is good news.
In the case of five or so there is the option for us to sign them permanently when their loans are up. Considering we're owned by the Pozzo's who own Udinese, that essentially means freebies, which is good from an economic sense. In the case of Granada, also part of the Pozzo triumvirate, they have had several players on-loan from Udinese for two or three years, so there is some consistency and identity with those players.
As a kid I would have balked at the idea of players coming & going, you identify with several players & idolise them. As an adult I realise I support nothing more than the shirt, so I'm not too concerned. From a continuity perspective I hope a few do stick around. They're certainly good enough.
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