Newcastle v Watford – The carnage continues
In Toon Today: Watford
Today we welcome Watford to SJP and just like at NUFC, supporting Watford must be full of surprises.
Since the Pozzo family took over at Vicarage Road three years ago, the Hornets have had six managers, including one who was there for less than two weeks and another who was sacked after getting the team promoted to the Premier League.
This season they have 14 new signings, a squad from 22 different countries and an owner who makes our glorious leader look as boring as the all new Prime Minister’s Question Time.
‘We’ve got a club which can’t get to a match on time, a team who can’t stay on the pitch enough of the time, a manager who emails us all the time and supporters who have seen this for too long a time.’
Who Manages Them:
Enrique “Quique” Sánchez Flores made over 300 La Liga appearances for Valencia, Real Madrid & Zaragoza and on the face of it carried that experience of top clubs into his management career.
Coaching Valencia to a third place finish followed by a fourth place finish and CL quarter final, a year in Benfica winning the league cup and a short spell at Atletico where they won the Europa League and lost the Spanish Copa Del Rey, it all looks like Watford have got a real gem of a manager.
Just like NUFC under Alan Pardew, though the stats usually don’t tell the full story, Pardew’s work at Palace and what followed at NUFC after he left may have raised the Londoner’s stock but few of us would have him back to manage at SJP.
Likewise, not many people have got a good word to say about Flores, especially in Spain, where the only improvement Flores brought to La Liga was with the standard of jumper worn in the dugout, often the quality of the jumper seemed more important to him than the quality of the performance.
His Valencia team contained the likes of Mata, Silva and Villa and most Valencianos consider that team to be a more talented squad than the one which Benitez took to the title, Lopez and Cuper to CL finals and after Flores left, the one Emery took to consecutive third place finishes.
The Valencia fans disliked him so much that they started a rumour that Flores used to enjoy borrowing the lipstick of his Aunty Lola, a famous Spanish flamenco singer.
Let’s hope he leaves SJP red lipped and red faced today. Certainly Flores’ time at Valencia was marred by major arguments with sporting director Carboni, something which also caused his resignation at Atletico, constant internal bickering with star striker Diego Forlan. He has already had a pop at the Watford hierarchy for not providing him with a squad which he could register with the PL:
“For me, it is not comfortable. I am not happy, but it is the situation we expected before pre-season, I recognise that I am suffering a little bit for the players we have in the squad because it is difficult to train with 30 players in this period, one week before the market finishes.”
Sounds almost Toon-esque in its chaos. His solution was to buy a whole load more players.
(Caption: ‘Phil Brown in a jumper’)
Who Have They Signed:
Everyone. Watford have taken in more multi-nationals than the EU in the last two months. It isn’t possible for all of Watford’s summer signings to play today but those who definitely won’t play are striker Matej Vydra, loaned him straight out to local rivals Reading and midfielder Victor Behrami, sent off last week against Swansea.
Those who should play include Allan Nyom and Odion Ighalo, two of thirteen members of Watford’s current squad who have played for Granada, Udinese or both – with all three sides owned by Giampaolo Pozzo.
Also playing will be ex-Spurs midfielder Capoue, man-mountain Victor Ibarbo, an attacking midfielder on loan from Roma, Jose Jurado, a £6million attacker from Spartak Moscow and Obbi Oulare, who could play up front with Troy Deeney to form a hard-working attack.
Oulare is excited to be playing in the PL, saying:
“Actually, I only ever watched the Premier League, Match of the Day, everything…I never miss a game if I can. I’ve already looked to the game against Arsenal because I’m an Arsenal fan.”
Try being a Newcastle fan and watching MOTD. It’s like getting kicked in the nuts at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and choosing to watch it again along with the rest of the nation in the evening with Martin Keown telling you why you deserved it.
(Caption: ‘Watford’s new signings wait patiently at Vicarage Road on transfer deadline day’)
Who have We Seen Before:
One player we won’t see today and the only player who Watford didn’t sign this summer was Davide Santon.
Our ex-left back is at Inter Milan after we gave him away in a bizarre transfer in January, £3millionfor our first choice left back, less than we paid for him, no genuine replacement for him, only 23 at the time.
The Hornets ceased negotiations after opening talks with the former NUFC defender, Watford owner Gino Pozzo said:
“I see no particular enthusiasm in the lad, despite all the time that we gave him to reflect and evaluate the deal.”
No enthusiasm? He should have stayed playing for NUFC with that attitude.
(Caption: ‘Davide Santon: It’s a fair cop, I’m right miserable me’)
A Special Mention For:
Watford defender Miguel Britos, who sounds as a big a loon as our Serbian centre forward. He was sent off for violent conduct on his Watford debut in a League Cup defeat at Preston and the Uruguayan centre back came with a reputation when joining in the summer.
He was banned for the first two Premier League games for an alleged head butt for his previous team Napoli, a ban which carried across Europe. Imagine watching him and Mitrovic today, the mascots would have been on the pitch for longer.
(Caption: ‘Miguel Britos: You want nutters, we’ve got nutters’)
How Will they Do this Season:
As with half a dozen other clubs, survival will be the main aim. Much will depend on a moaning manager keeping his mouth shut, a squad of various languages and nationalities keeping their focus and a trigger-happy owner not reacting to every weekend like an angry hornet.
They have only scored 1 goal in the last 4 games, which may be 1 more goal than we have, but they’ll need to score more to stay up. In strikers Oulare and Deeney they have players who can score and link up well, as a team they work hard and the manager got his tactics right against Swansea. A high pressure, hard work approach worked a lot better than our ‘let their good players have the ball for as long as they want’ policy.
Flores doesn’t prepare for all games that well though:
“Newcastle are a good team, they are very competitive.” He said earlier this week, which proves he has only seen two of our league games this season.
Are We Going To Win:
The players are all saying that they have something to make up for from Monday night’s amble through 90 minutes in East London and I fully expect them to do so.
We’ve all discussed formations, tactics, performances and positions for the last couple of weeks but the bottom line this weekend is three points, no matter how we win the game, who wins it for us, where he is playing or for how long.
If we match their effort, we’ll win. Get behind the team, this weekend let the carnage continue somewhere else.