Monthly Archives: December 2020

26th December 2020- Championship, Watford 1 Norwich City 0

BBC Sport: Ismaila Sarr got new Watford head coach Xisco Munoz off to the perfect start with a winning goal that ended Championship leaders Norwich City’s five-game winning run.

Sky Sports: Just a few minutes before the break, Watford took advantage. Ken Sema darted to the left-hand byline and pulled the ball back across the face of goal to the far post, where Sarr timed his run to perfection, sneaked past Jacob Sorensen and tucked the opener past stranded Norwich goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

Official site: City pressed but never had that golden chance and Foster wasn’t overly-extended in the Watford goal.

BHappy: Xisco Muñoz hits the right notes straight away, even if he does come across a bit Joey Tribbiani.  Positive, energetic. likeable.  Watford supporters should long since be immune to What Other People Think, in particular that sort of guffawing sub-pub bore nonsense churned out by Chris Sutton on 5 Live.  There are concerns in his lack of managerial experience of course, but then the likes of Boothroyd and Rodgers came in with comparable experience and both did alright for themselves with us and elsewhere, in different ways.  It’s unlikely that the Pozzos picked his name out of a hat after all.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55373502

20th December 2020- Xisco Muñoz Appointed Head Coach

Official site: Watford FC is pleased to confirm the appointment of Xisco Muñoz as Head Coach.

BBC Sport: Former Valencia, Levante and Real Betis winger Xisco, 40, becomes the Hornets’ fifth manager in just over a year.

Sky Sports: Senior club figures have been hugely impressed with Munoz, despite a relative lack of managerial experience. They believe the club has the players necessary to return to the Premier League at the first attempt, but feel a new manager was needed to change tactics and formation, putting an emphasis on attack, rather than defence first. It is expected Munoz will revert to a 4-4-2 formation.

The Guardian: The 40-year-old Spaniard – with an attacking philosophy to his coaching – was most recently manager at Dinamo Tbilisi, where he guided the club to a second successive Georgian league title in 2020.

19th December 2020- Championship, Huddersfield Town 2 Watford 0

Vladimir Ivic’s final game in charge.

BBC Sport: Huddersfield capitalised on first-half mistakes by former England goalkeeper Ben Foster and Etienne Capoue to beat Watford.

Sky Sports: Goalkeeper Foster dawdled on a backpass from Ben Wilmot, allowing Isaac Mbenza to chase him down in the box. The veteran’s attempted clearance only ricocheted off the shins of Mbenza and into the path of Campbell who gleefully tapped into the empty net.

Official site: Now, after defeat in West Yorkshire in the second tier of English football, the Hornets are down to fifth in the Championship in the depths of winter and the good folk of the town are facing further restrictions on their freedom amid the introduction of Tier 4 because of a spike in coronavirus cases. The outlook appears bleak, it always does after a defeat, but things will get better. They always do. There will be good times ahead. You have to take the rough with the smooth, put up with the rain to appreciate the rainbow.

BHappy: And then he was gone.

Watford Observer: Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic has been sacked this evening following the 2-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town. 

BBC Sport: The Hornets, who have won nine of their 20 Championship games this season under Ivic, are fifth in the table, four points off second-placed Bournemouth and nine off leaders Norwich.

Sky Sports: Before arriving at Watford, Ivic had great success in Israel at Maccabi Tel Aviv, winning the Israeli Premier League in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020 – ending a run of three seasons without the title for the most decorated club in the country. Before his arrival there, he had also won the Greek Cup with PAOK in 2017 in his first senior management role.

The Guardian: His overly defensive tactics have been unpopular with Watford fans, though, and the team’s style of play has not been easy on the eye.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55283941

15th December 2020- Championship, Watford 1 Brentford 1

This would be the final game of the season that Watford fans were allowed to attend as a rise in Covid cases brought the relaxation of government restrictions to an end the following weekend. The attendance was given as exactly 2000.

BBC Sport: In a frantic five second-half minutes at Vicarage Road, Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock was sent off for bundling over Ismaila Sarr in the box and Troy Deeney drilled home the resulting penalty. Toney then sent Ben Foster the wrong way after Christian Kabasele was penalised for handball.

Sky Sports: Substitute Stipe Perica had a header ruled out for Watford in the 82nd minute for offside – a call the officials also appeared to have got wrong as the striker was level with the last defender.

Official site: It was Deeney’s 137th goal for the club and he seems as hungry as ever. It didn’t end up as a winning penalty this time, as it really should have done against a Brentford side who played nearly half an hour with a man less, and that’s what will disappoint the captain the most.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55225496

12th December 2020- Championship, Birmingham City 0 Watford 1

BBC Sport: A late Troy Deeney penalty was enough for Watford to win a game of few chances at Birmingham City.

Sky Sports: It was a case of third time lucky for Deeney, who missed two chances of glory in the second half, lobbing into the arms of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge when clean through, before glancing another chance well wide.

Official site: It was a key goal as the Hornets had looked set to drop down to fifth and allow leaders Norwich to open up a six-point lead at the top. Instead, they are only four off the top and just one off second place Bournemouth. Again, this wasn’t a classic. In fact, it was a tough watch for large parts but there is no astérix next to it in the record books. It’s all about grinding them out at this stage of the season, especially when it’s cold and miserable, and moving onto the next one.

BHappy: It’s a stultifying game of football.  All the more so in contrast with that most epic of awaydays which it’s impossible to navigate this fixture without reflecting on.  I’ve only been to St Andrews once in the 21 and a half years since… but this one could scarcely be in sharper contrast to that encounter.  Most obviously where the was rabid, deafening noise coming from the stands in 1999 here there’s silence, punctuated only by what must have been a consciously noisy Blues entourage.  Where there were intimidating walls of Bluenoses there are now plastic cut-outs, statically swaying down one side of the pitch.  I was hoping that Watford would instigate something similar but I was wrong – the sight is melancholy, a silent parody of how it ought to be.  And on the pitch…  in 1999 it was furious intensity, no quarter asked or given by either side.  Drama and epic conflict.  Nothing epic about this.  It’s blancmange.  Nathaniel Chalobah and Lukas Jutkiewicz appear to shake hands as the game kicks off for pity’s sake.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55196875