Welcome back, to another series at Watford as Wolfie goes into Season 3 with European football coming home! Oh, and also Sissoko has confirmed this will be his last season at the club, so the team will do their best to give him the best send off possible!
Let’s find out what happened since the start of Pre Season onwards. Will the German continue to impress everyone yet again or will the fairytale end here with extra load applied to the players with additional fixtures pilled in.
So, as Wolfie and his team prepare for life in Europe, the team needed to be strengthened up and ready for the Thursday/Sunday games along with other cup competitions. Again, although money was spent, each player was researched well before brought into the club.
These signings will add quality to the side and offer some more depth. The full back areas was something the German wanted to make a strong force as well as adding some quality up top. Luke Brown was a 17 year old which is a promising player for the future & is already in the national team set up (England).
Again, most of the players were loaned out to improve their development. Not much money made overall, Louza half way through the season was the main sale, who left due to not getting much game time.
Europa League Group:
We were handed a fairly tough group with previous winners of the Cup, Sevilla apart of our run!
Let’s have a walk through of the season & how things progressed along the way.
Pre-Season – Sept:
Oct – Nov:
Dec – Jan:
Europa League Table Finish:
Feb – Apr:
Second KO Round – Beat Porto (3-2) over 2 legs
Quarter Final – Beat Monaco (2-1) over 2 legs
Semi Final – Beat Milan (4-1) over 2 legs
Final: Beat Aston Villa 1-0
Watford champions of the Europa! This is unreal and something that was never expected especially in just season 3 of Wolfie’s project. Side note ( I jumped off my chair when we scored and the chair fell on the floor and nearly fell back with it whilst celebrating)!
This season, Wolfie had to work with a smaller squad and balance this with the intense running of the fixture list. The German decided to make decisions for himself rather than lean on his mentors Bielsa & Ralf as he was starting to be recognized as a upcoming manager with big potential.
Wolfie was proud of his team and the Europa Cup win was something that was not anticipated for sure! The players thrived under the pressure and went out and played their own game, rather than being cautious and paying too much respect to the bigger oppositions.
The league finish, also another milestone to be proud of bearing in mind most of the teams above invested well and improved this season. Wolfie knows most of the teams in the league on paper have a far better quality side but the work ethic and all the players buying into his way of playing is the key to Watfod’s success.
Wolfie did try to tweak about with the tactical system but mostly stuck to this formation which this season was slightly more attacking than the previous. Wolfgang wanted his player to express themselves more and having some quality added would surely give the team more of an edge. During the season, Solanke started to play in the middle, which turned out to be effective, with his deep runs into the box and a extra threat, but also his workrate in the middle to help out when needed.
In summary, compared to last season the defensive stats have dropped slightly. We can see that only our full backs are making good strong tackles, whereas our centre halves are lacking in this department. This is also reflected in the tackles won stats, where we slipped down the table compared to the previous season where the team finished top. Possession won was high again but it appears a few teams in the league are performing better, so recruitment is key for next season to improve this.
The attacking stats are showing a better picture, Max Aarons firstly joint top assist this year which is an amazing achievement. Aarons is someone Wolfie hasn’t actively asked him to cross the ball too often, so these assists are not just balls into the box, but also in phases of play. When it comes to taking changes and goals, Watford are competing with the top teams in the league, this is on the back of the no fear mentality in the side and have the freedom to express themselves.
Board Request/Club improvements
Wolfie held talks again with the board and with the club being way ahead of schedule, it was only right to think bigger than the original plan. The following requests were made which were granted:
- Training facilities imrpoved
- Youth facilities improved
- Youth recritment improvement
- Stadium expansion – Due to having 100% attendance throughout the season
The above will take Watford to the next level, especially with Champions League football coming to the club too.
Team ahead of next season:
As expected, the team leave for holiday with high spirits and the bond with the squad is excellent. Team leader Sissoko will be leaving, so this will leave a gap in the team.
The board have provided £70M to boost the side again, Wolfie knows that the team needs to be improved yet again however, he will bring through some more players who will come back from their loans and give them a chance as promised.
Champions League coming to Watford is a dream come true for the fans! Wolfie has his toughest season yet, let’s see where the team end up next season as they enter season 4 out of 5 of the project.
That wraps up the series today. What an achievement! On Twitter, there will be some in depth player breakdowns provided such as key players, players brought through the system and more!
Thank you for taking the time to read through this today, much appreciated. I will look to be streaming over the next week or two, so stay tuned for this too!