As we approach the fixture against Watford this weekend, Boro fans will be sending their thoughts to everyone associated to WFC following the sudden death of Graham Taylor. I met him on one occasion and he was a gentleman and a funny guy too. He will be missed in the football world.
Here are the views of Hornet’s fan Gary Woolf ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Vicarage Road.
Briefly, sum up Watford’s first half of the season.
We started well despite a run of difficult fixtures. However, we suffered a lot of injuries of late and haven’t had the depth of squad to cope with it. Last season we got lucky with hardly any injuries, this season is the opposite and we are now paying for it.
Who’s the first player on the Watford team sheet? And don’t say the goalkeeper!
Nordin Amrabat without a doubt. He will be sorely missed now he is away for the African Cup Of Nations.
Who’s been the most improved Hornet so far this season?
Amrabat again. Peripheral part of the squad last season and looked on his way out in the summer as surplus to requirements. Has taken his chance though and he is now our most important player and without doubt our player of the season so far.
If you could have 2 current Boro players in the Watford team, who would they be and why?
Although Holebas has been one of best players on the left, I have always had a soft spot for George Friend since his Doncaster days and would love him at Vicarage Road. As it showed again against Leicester when he came on, he has a wand of a left foot and I’m expecting a few more assists from him this season.
Another player I have been impressed with in recent games and feel is a bit of an unsung hero is Marten De Roon. He has a great engine on him and keeps play ticking over nicely when I have seen him. Already has a couple of goals and I can see a few more this season.
Troy Deeney hit his 100th Watford goal against Palace recently. Do you think the pressure is off for him to now go on a goal scoring trail?
Even though Troy got his 100th goal recently I don’t think it lifts the pressure. Ighalo has been hitting blanks for over a year now and whereas Okaka and Success have looked very promising when available, they have both been injured for the majority of the season. This has kept the pressure on Deeney and I think it will stay on him until these two are fully fit or Ighalo finds his form again.
As it’s January. The big question for most teams is who to buy in the transfer window. Which position(s) on the pitch do you need to strengthen?
A CB, an attacking midfielder and a striker. With Pereyra out for the majority of the season, he needs replacing this January. We have really struggled since his injury as he creates so much for us. With Success and Okaka struggling to get fit, we need another striker. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ighalo leave. Another CB would be good as well, even though we have 5 fighting for 3 places. Apart from Prodl they have all struggled for form or fitness.
So far this season. Which opponents have impressed you the most?
Chelsea and Liverpool are the obvious two. Liverpool hit top form against us and gave us a hiding. We actually controlled the game against Chelsea but they showed tremendous character in the last part of the game to win it, showing the ability to play badly but turn it on when required to win games. The other team I have been impressed with are Burnley. They are a completely different team away from home and struggle, but at Turf Moor they are a very difficult team to break down and seem to be getting enough points there to stay up.
You beat Boro 1-0 at the Riverside back in October. Do you expect the same outcome this time around at Vicarage Road?
With the form we are in, I see a reversal of the 1-0 score this time round. I expect us to dig in like we did against Stoke but I think it will be another low scoring game, wouldn’t be surprised to see a goalless encounter to give us something to build on again but if anyone will grab the win I see 1-0 to Boro.
Many thanks to Hornet’s fan, Gary Woolf. You can follow his Watford rants on Twitter (@hyena4).