Preview: Watford v Southampton

After going nine fixtures without a win, Southampton’s fortunes finally changed last weekend as they defeated Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham; but their hunt for three points in the Premier League is still very much on. 

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So to find out what kind of challenge can we expect in our upcoming fixture, we spoke with Golden Pages – a fanzine made by Watford fans, for Watford fans.

How would you summarise your season so far?

Hit and miss, to be honest. As always, we started excellently before dropping off a cliff around Christmas. It’s certainly been exciting, though, with plenty of late winners both for and against us.

What formation and style of play has Marco Silva installed?

It’s more open than we have had under Walter Mazzarri or Quique Sanchez Flores, which comes with pros and cons. The wing play through Richarlison and Andre Carrillo is exciting to watch, and we often play the ball around nicely in midfield, but we lack a final ball (or consistent goal scorer!) and our defence still seems suspect.

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What have you made of your Portuguese boss? From the outside looking in it seems like he’s got the aesthetics and frontline nailed, but your defence lacks the experience and bottle required to hold their lead?

Silva has got us playing good football, but you’re correct that he really needs to improve the defending in his team. Being a former right-back you’d think he would prioritise defence, but equally you could blame our mistakes on personnel as much as tactics. It has to be noted that Silva is far from perfect – I think many Watford fans were surprised when Everton pursued him so vigorously earlier this season. The reason we so desperately wanted to keep him was more for stability than his own ability. That said, I do believe he is capable of great things if we strengthen our squad and get rid of some dead wood. He’s still relatively young, after all.

Who’s been your player of the season? And who’s stepped up most?

Abdoulaye Doucoure has been superb all season in midfield, so he gets my vote. But Richarlison is certainly not far behind. The winger is one of the Premier League’s signings of the season at just £11m. If he never played a game again then the points he has already won us would mean he was value for money. Another new signing who has stepped up is Kiko Femenia, the bombarding right-back, and we have missed him recently since he has been sidelined through injury.

How do opposition teams typically find joy against your defence?

Down the wings! Our full-backs are all excellent going forward, but seem to forget their primary job is actually to keep the ball out of our goal. We also implement a zonal marking system, so I imagine you could catch us out from set pieces fairly easily.

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You’re stranded on a desert Island and can only be joined by one Hornets player; who’s it going to be?

Tom Cleverley. He seems like a thoroughly decent bloke. Plus, he’s bloody hard working, meaning we’d have a shack built and food gathered in no time.

Which player from this Southampton side strikes the most fear into you?

I know he’s not on top form right now, but I’m always scared when Nathan Redmond lines up against the Hornets. He’s terrorized our defence on more than one occasion in the past, and I wouldn’t like to see that happen again.

And finally, what do you think the score will be this Saturday?

Both teams are in poor spells of form, so it’s a tough one to call, but I’ll say 1-1. I would certainly take a point.


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