Category Archives: Claudio Ranieri

24th January 2022- Claudio Ranieri sacked

Official site club statement

Sky Sports: Ranieri has failed to turn around the team’s fortunes since being appointed in October, with the Hornets dropping into the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.

Watford Observer: The embarrassing loss was the final straw for club chiefs, who had become increasingly concerned about the Italian’s record, which ends with just two wins and a draw from 14 games in all competitions.

21st January 2022- Premier League, Watford 0 Norwich City 3

Watford Observer: Moussa Sissoko has issued a rallying cry to Watford supporters ahead of this evening’s game against Norwich City.

Attendance: 20,782

BBC Sport: Josh Sargent’s first Premier League goals capped a “crazy couple of weeks” as the new father helped Norwich City to a crucial victory over 10-man Watford which moved them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.

Sky Sports: Watford manager Claudio Ranieri was in need of a spark, but there would be an 11-minute stoppage due to floodlight failure to further frustrate the hosts’ attempts to respond. After the lengthy stoppage, it was Norwich who doubled their lead as Sargent rose above Hassane Kamara to give the Canaries daylight (74).

BHappy: There was an edginess about the atmosphere at Vicarage Road, not abetted by the fact that plenty will have planned to arrive in plenty of time for a 7.45 kick off and instead arrived very early for 8 (and the magnificent GT scarf display which Norwich, oddly given the cold, were the first visitors on such an occasion not to really join in with).  But expectation too (yes, extraordinary).  We’re not very good at that really, traditionally, winning when we’re expected to but we’ve done well enough against the Canaries in recent years and reports from Norfolk suggested that the eye-catching win over Everton wasn’t borne of some great about-turn in form on Norwich’s part.  They were still pretty awful.  Nonetheless, as the flares warmed our cheeks and the fireworks went off and the yellow smoke dissipated (all of which adornment feels rather desperate in hindsight, though it would of course been a glorious opener to a fine evening if we had won) we were all hoping for an early goal to settle the nerves.

Fran’s Watford Blog: So, half-way through the season and we have dropped into the relegation zone for the first time. We have been on a downward trajectory for some time, despite some decent performances against the better teams, which makes it very hard to see us recovering from this.  The frustrating thing is that we have the talent in the team, but there didn’t appear to be enough fight today.  It has to be said that each of the Norwich goals came from individual mistakes and there was a horrible irony in the fact that Norwich only had two shots on target but scored three goals.  To survive at this level, we have to cut out the mistakes and start getting results against the poorer teams in the division.  We seem to be incapable of doing that.

1st January 2022- Premier League, Watford 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Attendance: 20,391

BBC Sport: Davinson Sanchez scored a 96th-minute winner as Tottenham continued their push for a Premier League top-four place with a last-gasp victory over struggling Watford at Vicarage Road.

Sky Sports: Watford had conceded 15 goals during a five-match losing streak, but Kane and company were frustrated by an inspired Daniel Bachmann before Sanchez’s very late intervention.

BHappy: It wasn’t to be.  And you can focus on Kucka’s ill-judged foul as Spurs once again tried to find a way into our penalty area, or Sierralta being outjumped by Sánchez, or Bachmann flying out and getting nowhere near the cross.  There was always a chance of this happening…  tickets, raffles.  The strategy of ceding possession and blocking space relied on absolute concentration and a bit of luck and in the 96th minute, after an interlude for a fan to receive treatment, both failed us.  The defeat also owes a lot, in fairness, to the relentless focus of the visitors – something not always associated with Spurs teams in the past.  Very few histrionics here, very few tantrums as the frustration at lack of progress must have built, not much in the way of testing the referee after he’d set a tone in the first half.  Just a concentrated belief in what they were doing, something that was true of both sides.

Fran’s Watford Blog: It was a heart-breaking end to the game.  Watford had done really well to contain the Spurs attack and had had a couple of decent chances themselves.  The second half had been much more positive from the Hornets.  Joao Pedro had been a menace and, had he been allowed to continue his run, may well have grabbed a goal.  The man of the match award was given to Kucka, but I thought the midfield three all did well with a decent showing from Louza and the sort of impressive performance that we have come to expect from Sissoko.

28th December 2021- Premier League, Watford 1 West Ham United 4

Attendance: 20,073

BBC Sport: The Hammers had gone into the game with just one win in seven games – a run that had seen them seemingly slip out of contention for the Champions League places. It looked like the slump was going to continue when Emmanuel Dennis knocked the ball past Craig Dawson in the fourth minute before firing a superb strike into the top corner.

Sky Sports: Less than two and a half minutes after they had led, Watford were behind. Michail Antonio’s run to the byline gave him time to look up and find Benrahma, who went one better from his earlier effort and beat Daniel Bachmann courtesy of a kind nick off Adam Masina (29).

BHappy: We held the lead for 23 minutes, none of them comfortable.  West Ham gained in belief as they kept coming at us; our supine midfield didn’t lay a punch on theirs and the lack of defensive shape was such that the most perfunctory of attacks caused yellow shirts to scatter like marbles.  Much play continued to be focused down West Ham’s left, either because of the threat posed by Benrahma – who provided the nearest thing to an equaliser before there was one, smacking a shot off the top of the bar – or because of a perceived vulnerability in Kiko or both.  There’s got to be dollops of mitigation ladled in here by the way, since however horrific we don’t know who and how much and in what way individuals were affected by viruses;  given the absence of Ngakia from the bench, the drop in Kiko’s level from the kick-off and the Spaniard’s withdrawal five minutes before the interval, it’s difficult to suppose anything other than a case of “well I’ll give it a go, boss”.

Fran’s Watford Blog: The one positive that we could come up with was the thought that, if Sissoko had equalised, it would have been a very different match.  But Fabianski pulled off a great save and the Watford defence made it far too easy for the Hammers.  There were a lot of misplaced passes and Sierralta was clearly very rusty. 

4th December 2021- Premier League, Watford 1 Manchester City 3

WFC.net Jon Marks’ goal commentary: 1

Attendance: 20,673

BBC Sport: The hosts were repeatedly ripped apart by City’s movement, passing and creativity and only a number of saves from goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann kept the score down to one goal in the first 30 minutes.

Sky Sports: Half-time sub Cucho Hernandez did pull one back for Watford (74), following up his own shot against the far post, and Josh King pinged his low cross just wide moments later but City regained control to see out the final stages and make it five Premier League wins on the spin.

BHappy: A blow-by-blow account is slightly redundant.  There were few defining incidents in the game – arguably only the goals that bookended the scoring and in between a lot of stuff during which time City converted twice and were denied on many other occasions.  These outcomes of these incidents could have been interchanged perfectly plausibly.

Fran’s Watford Blog: So, we fell to our second defeat in a week but, after the recent regular batterings by City, a 3-1 scoreline felt rather positive, especially after having conceded within the first 5 minutes.  This week we have played two of the top three teams in the division, we have lost to them both, but I came out of it feeling rather positive.  We were unlucky not to get a point against Chelsea.  That was not the case against City, who really should have scored more but, after being behind at half time, Ranieri brought on a couple of substitutes and adopted a more attacking formation and we fought back in the second half and actually scored a goal.  I thoroughly enjoyed Cucho’s performance, he battled and was so positive.  It has to be said that if Sissoko could shoot we may have got something out of this game.  But, unlike earlier in the season, I am enjoying watching the football again, even in defeat.