Watford In the Champions League!
Welcome back to a new season of our DNA Series Rebuild with Watford! Today, we will uncover if Watford were able to survive the pressures of Champions League football and balancing this with a very competitive Premier League.
Just a quick recap, Watford qualified for the Champions League by Winning the Europa League, which automatically put the London based team in the competition! Watford will also be taking part in the UEFA Super Cup against the Champions League winners from the previous season PSG.
Big Season = Big Changes:
As soon as the season had ended, Wolfgang had met with the board to take the club to the next level (as if this wasn’t a big enough step already). Due to the impact Wolfie had made, the board agreed to making improvements to the club facilities such as upgrading the training facilities for the first team & the youth too. In addition, the German had requested that the youth recruitment took a step up and that the stadium capacity was extended. There was a good argument to expand the stadium as the club were selling out the ground on a weekly basis, this was without European football! The board simply asked where to sign and allowed the work to progress.
Champions League – Group Stage Draw:
Before we delve into the results so far in the season, here is the group that Watford were put into for the Champions League:
On the face of it, Wolfie had seen this as a real tough group however, it could have been worse. With the news of the group stage draw, the manager started to look into how to strengthen the side for the upcoming season.
Before we go into a bit more detail on the signings above, Wolfie had said already that he did not want to make too many signings as the current side he has got is already good enough to take on anyone on their day. Plus, he wanted to continue to introduce homegrown talent and high-profile players who went out on loan the previous season.
Todibo – Wolfie had been a long-term admirer of the centre half. The recruitment team had been tracking the young player for some time now and with how the team play from the back, this signing was perfect. Todibo has a great range of passing and also was ranked one of the highest in terms of interceptions made in his league last year.
Godfrey – Ben was a player who was one of the defenders of the season in the Premier League. He was ranked highest in terms of successful tackles as well as distance covered for a defender. Wolfie wanted another home grown player in the ranks and Ben can also play as a right back which gives cover for Max Aarons.
Overall, a decent pre-season as the team continued to work closely together ahead of a big season. A narrow loss to Bayern and a big win against Barcelona was the main highlight of pre-season, as the team showed great promise ahead of a big campaign.
Wolfie’s sided tactically played PSG out the game as Watford added another trophy into the silverware cabinet with a convincing 2-0 win!
Season Results – Thus Far:
Overall, Wolfgang’s side have appeared to have coped with the added pressures of European football. Some big results picked up along the way and a great end to the half way point to the season as the team look to be gaining some confidence.
Watford topped the group stages of the Champions League as they progress to the knockout stages, which again another incredible achievement. There seems to be no limit to how far this team can go, Wolfie has really build something special here.
League Table – Thus Far:
Watford continues to hold the trend of competing with the top 4 sides, it appears that the added pressures are not causing any issues for the German’s squad.
Secret Behind The Success So Far:
There are many factors as to why the team are performing so well, such as tactically, player recruitment and so much more. However, the one key factor which has benefied the team is the work rate of the players.
In the final blog series, there will be a in-depth breakdown of stats and data however, i wanted to share the below graphic with everyone.
As we can see, everyone is almost matching up in terms of distance covered, this shows that each player in every position is pulling their weight and there is no massive jump. This is except for the centre halves who would not cover as much ground as there are instructed to stay back and not press no where near as much as the rest of the team.
It’s a very small detail but its huge in terms of how everyone is pulling in the same direction which goes a long way.
Let’s see how Wolfie progresses next time, as the end of season blog will be released. Will Watford finally get top 4, how far can they progress in the Champions League, any more silverware?
Plus the added bonus of a in depth stats and data review will be brought to you next time, so stay tuned, as we will deep dive into the other secrets of success of Wolfies gang.