Welcome back to another update of the rebuild mission at Watford. Wolfgang is in his 2nd season and making a name for himself in the Premier League. Today, we will have a review of the 2nd part of the second season and we will find out if the team followed the same pattern as last year, where they bottled a battle for Europe, which by the way was not the plan in the first few years!
Pozzo’s Future Plans:
A meeting was held with the management team, where Pozzo had offered Wolfgang a new contract, which was something out of the ordinary for sure here at Watford! The German happily signed a new deal extension, to keep him at the club for a further 3 years, which goes in line with the 5 year project.
Due to the influence Wolfie has brought to the club, the board included a few mandatories for the club culture which fits with the DNA of the manager:
- Sign U23’s for the first team
- High tempo, high pressing football
- Loan out youth talent to gain first team experience
Previously, the club were not very ambitious with their plans however, it seems the German has for sure influenced things around here.
January Transfer Window:
Watford entered a new year, which meant another transfer window to get some business done. Wolfgang had identified a few players which continued to struggle to perform within the system, which meant that a few players were let go.
Key players such as Cucho & Dennis were out the door as they struggled for form. Cathcart was in the last 6 months of his contract and wanted a fresh start aboard and Bachmann wanted to leave to seek first team football, otherwise further youth players were loaned out for first team exposure.
A backup keeper was required, Steele fitted the bill and was brought for virtually a free. Afonso, a player picked up by the scouting department, the 16 year old impressed in the under 18s and is now apart of the development squad. Then, we have the big signing, Adeyemi! Clinical finishing has been a bit of an issue for the team and this guy comes in to play mainly as a wide inside forward to cause oppositions big problems with his pace especially. Finally, Leonardo, another pick from the scouting team, a big future and someone who will play a role in the first team.
As we can see below, form did not drop and some big results picked up, mainly against Man City & the late win against Newcastle. Leonardo started to make an impact scoring in 3 games in a row which kept Solanke out the side.
As we get near the end of the season, again form did not change too much, there was a slight blip post the Arsenal game but overall a pleasing end to the season with big wins over Chelsea & Man Utd. Let’s see how this affected the league table!
Watford did the unthinkable! Wolfie and his team managed to secure European football next season. It could have been a top 4 finish if it was not for the goal difference, which was only by 3 goals! A very impressive end to the season & Wolfgang has a lot of work to do in pre-season as his team prepare to bring European football to Watford, which the fans are excited about!
Stand Out Performers:
- Okoye – The keeper kept the most clean sheets in the league and was very solid throughout the season. A total of 20 clean sheet were made, which is real impressive!
- Adeyemi – New signing in January, came in & hit the ground running by scoring 7 goals by playing out wide!
- Solanke – Finally, Solanke had a decent season with Watford. He had only scored 3 goals previously in the Premier League for Bournemouth but with Watford, he managed to bag 9 goals and put in a lot of good performances, mainly off the ball work to help the team
As per below, here are some interesting stats worth a view. Most of these, we can see why Wolfie’s team did so well such as the tackling and possession stats which were backed up well by general attacking and defensive stats. However, one part of the attacking stats was something that Wolfgang and his coaching team will review in terms of the amount of shots which were wasteful vs shots on target.
Development & Youth Team Main View:
As per below, here is a view on how the young players are developing here. This was something that was virtually non existent before Wolfie come in and now there is a line of kids that are being developed behind the scenes.
There are some great players coming through and most will be feed through to the first team once they have played at the best level possible by going out on loan.
There will be a few players introduced to the first team next season on the back of this. Wolfie will need a bigger squad especially with the extra cup games, therefore more game time potentially for the upcoming players.
End of Season Board Meeting:
The German sat down with the board again who were full of praise of his work at the club. The 5 year plan has already exceeded expectations as this finishing was the plan for year 5, which has shocked all the board members. The chairman has confirmed he will not apply any pressure on where the team finish as long as they remain in the Premier League. As a good gesture and the amount of revenue coming in now due to European football, the board has provided Wolfie with £80M to spend for next season which will be enough to build a stronger team.
Work is under way now to build a team for next season and welcome European football to Watford! Next time, we will see how season 3 progressed for Wofie and his army as they continue to cause havoc in the league.
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