Friday, 17 January 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to ForzaWatford

Match Preview
AFCB v Watford
Blogger Interview: ForzaWatford

Cherry Chimes has been off talking again. Sadly Harry the Hornet was not available for comment, although I am not sure if he is still smiling with that earlier encounter this season. fair enough I say we were beaten by a better side and in the end it probably served our players well to know the standards they must obtain in this league. But I wanted an insiders view on all the going on at Watford FC of late and who better to turn to than Jamie Leah the editor of the ForzaWatford blog.

CC: Have you got over the shock of Gianfranco Zola resigning and do you think it was right for him to go or were you disappointed in him?

FW: I wouldn't say it was a shock. There was an inevitability surrounding Gianfranco Zola’s departure after a run of five successive home defeats, but it doesn’t make his decision to resign any less painful – for me at least. The Italian seemed deflated and out of ideas during that stretch and ultimately he didn’t feel like he could turn it around, hence why he handed in his resignation.

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of fans wanted Zola to turn things around and, naturally, one result in our favour would have helped his position no end, but with the players all so bereft of confidence perhaps change was necessary.

The way Zola galvanised a squad containing so many foreign imports in such a short space of time was nothing short of admirable, as was the way he conducted himself throughout his 18-month tenure at Vicarage Road. He left with class and my respect, at the very least.

CC: I know you haven't had much time with him but what have you thought of Giuseppe Sannino and his pattern of play, team selections and substitutions?

FW: Since the Pozzo family’s takeover of the club last year, Watford fans have been no strangers to Google Translate and Wikipedia. After all, 14 of the Hornets’ 18 signings last season were imported from overseas and the majority of those had never played in England. Now, for the first time, we've welcomed a foreign manager with no previous experience in English football and have had just a few games to gauge what he may – or may not – be like. Will he be up to the task of turning around our recent form (and reigniting our promotion hopes)? Only time will tell, but my initial impressions of Giuseppe Sannino are positive.

It wouldn't be fair to comment on his team selections and substitutions just yet, but it is worth noting that he's expressed a desire to create a hard-working side and to solidify the defence.

CC: Are you expecting Troy Deeney to still be at the club come February?

FW: In a word: yes. Deeney was attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs this time last year, but the loss of last season's strike partner Matej Vydra (to the Premier League) coupled with the Hornets' alarming lack of form this campaign means that the forward is unlikely to generate the same level of attention this January.

Still, though, he's continued to find the net this season and I certainly wouldn't rule out Deeney adding to his 11-goal tally on Saturday.

CC: You only just signed Alexander Merkel on loan from Udinese and Mathias Ranegie, so do you think more additions are needed this January window and if so in which positions?

FW: We're still desperate to replace Vydra's pace and goal scoring threat up front and despite our already overflowing pool of middle-men, Watford need a defensive-minded midfielder to shore things up. It's looking increasingly likely that Ghanaian international Derek Boateng will join from Fulham in order to boost his hopes of making the Black Stars' squad for the World Cup, and I'd expect another midfielder - possibly a defender, too - to join before the window closes.

CC: Do you feel the Udinese connection has been mainly helpful or is perhaps working against your team at times?

FW: The only way I feel the Udinese 'connection' is working against Watford is in terms of perception fans of other clubs have of it.

In an era where clubs are put under serious financial pressure by owners taking more and more risks in order to get to the next level, the Pozzo family have offered the Hornets the chance to achieve promotion via an alternative method, but that method - which revolves around three clubs effectively sharing one 'pool' of players - has its detractors. The Pozzos are criticised when other owners spend beyond their means and put their sides in danger, yet they have placed the club on a secure financial footing and built a competitive team on the pitch too. Work has also recently started on a much-needed fourth stand too, so I'm please to say we've had success both on the field and off it since the Pozzos' takeover.

The arrivals of highly-rated Italy Under-21 internationals such as Gabriele Angella, Davide Faraoni and Fernando Forestieri, not forgetting full international Diego Fabbrini, would simply not have been possible without our owners, so I'd certainly say our foreign connection has been a help rather than a hindrance.

Outsiders doubting the Pozzos' methods also seem to be learning that what's happening at Vicarage Road is not actually 'all that's wrong with modern football', which is always a good thing.

CC: You hammered AFCB 6-1 at home in the league and 2-0 in the cup but do you expect a tighter game at Dean Court?

FW: We've only won five league games since the 6-1 victory at Dean Court back in August, but Watford have looked relatively solid under Sannino. I definitely can't see another 6-1 win, but I think we've got enough to edge it so I'll go for a 2-1 win.

CC: Which players have continued to show good form of late at Watford?

FW: Arguably our most improved player over the course of the last year or so, Ikechi Anya's pace has provided a constant threat to opposing defences, while fan-favourite Forestieri continues to put his heart and soul into performances - even if his finishing leaves a lot to be desired!

Angella has impressed during his first season at Vicarage Road and it's probably fair to say that he could easily be playing at a higher level.

CC: As it is still all very tight, can you see Watford still making the play-offs?

It's certainly possible, but I think most of our supporters just want to see a turnaround in recent form before dreaming of another play-off run.
In a tight league such as the Championship, a few wins on the bounce and a team can be catapulted into contention, but the Hornets' players need to play less like individuals and more like a team if a promotion push is to happen this season. To be honest, I think we'd be better off consolidating this season before building for another crack at the Premier League.

CC: Well thank you Jamie for sparing some time to answer our questions. I believe this will be a very entertaining game with both sides known to be strong going forward. I do expect Bournemouth to be a bit more wary of Watford this time around and concentration at the back is key for the Cherries if we are to get something from this game. Please visit the ForzaWatford blog where you will be able to read more about Watford's FA Cup win and their recent game against Reading as well as much more on the goings on at the club.

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