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The Impossible Dream

Started on 23 March 2017 by InvertedWingbacks
Latest Reply on 29 April 2017 by InvertedWingbacks
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March Madness for Watford

Key Man: Gabriel Jesus was on fire for Watford this month

A short, 3-game month was enough for Watford to secure their survival in the Premiership for another season, as they picked up 1 win and 1 draw from their three games, despite facing some tough opposition. Loanee Gabriel Jesus was once again the key name, netting key goals against Hull and Arsenal to help his side.

Against Hull, Watford showed some of the best football they have played so far this year, scoring twice in the first half through a Pepe header and a magnificent poacher's effort from Gabriel Jesus, as he mopped up a rebound to chip the keeper just before half time. Hull rallied in the second half through goals from Mbokani and Markovic, but Gabriel carved the Hull defence up in the 88th minute, before squaring it for fellow loanee Joaquin Correa to fire home and seal the three points.

Gabriel Jesus was missing for the next tie against Manchester City, but Watford impressed regardless, holding the visitors to what looked like ending in a goalless draw, until Nolito slipped free of Craig Cathcart outside the box, and used the yard of space to send the ball flying into the top corner, past a sprawling Gomes.

What followed was a titanic battle between Watford, and Top 4 side Arsenal, as the two went toe to toe. Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring after just a minute to put his side on the front foot, and this was followed by Abdoulaye Doucoure scoring in the 20th minute to double the lead, on only his 4th start of the season. Arsenal pegged Watford back through a Pepe OG, before the defender redeemed himself with a headed goal on 60 minutes. The game seemed to be sewn up, but two late goals for Olivier Giroud pulled Arsenal level, and broke Watford hearts.

March Results
3-2 v Hull
1-0 v Manchester City
3-3 v Arsenal

League Position: 11th (40 Points)
Nice results, and next season youll get City
Decent results there!! 11th isn't too bad.

Tough End to A Great Season for Watford

Safety: Watford Fans Celebrate A Decent Season

Despite only winning one of their last seven games, Watford fans will be delighted with the turnaround in form shown by their side since November. Nigel Pearson has restored a belief to a side which previously was listless and lifeless, and the team and fans must be confident that next season they can show further improvement.

Watford's final seven games of the season should have been relatively straightforward, but having already beaten the drop, and too far off the place to realistically mount a challenge for the top half, Pearson took the opportunity to try out new formations and new players, and handed debuts to youth players Gareth Swatteridge and Alper Basran, who had previously been let go by Manchester United and Mainz respectively.

The youngsters impressed despite the team only winning once, and the standard of play on show was still excellent, despite results. Itcould be claimed that results were poor because a lot of the teams which Watford faced still had something to play for, but they certainly could not be accused of rolling over.

Following the end of the season, Watford's players will enjoy a slightly shortened summer break, returning to the club in just under 6 weeks to play Friendlies against French sides Lyon, Monaco and PSG, as the club attempt to raise funds for the coming season.

April/May Results
1-1 v Southampton
3-2 v Everton
2-1 v Crystal Palace
3-1 v Middlesborough
2-1 v West Ham
2-2 v West Brom
1-0 v Tottenham

Final League Position: 13th (45 Points)
Congrats on surviving your first season
Shame about the results in them last few games, but I'm sure a few of them youngsters that you handed games to benefited from it. Overall, a very good season by Watford's standards, you've steadied the ship very well and hopefully next season is a time for you to really push on!
13th is a very solid finish in the end, steady progression from now i reckon.
Sensational: Man City Youngster Gabriel Jesus Scored 11 Goals for Watford Last Season

With celebrations and commiserations over, Premiership teams are looking towards the new season with renewed hope and aspirations, and some teams have already made a splash in the transfer market. Chelsea confirmed the signing of Atletico Madrid defender Aymeric Laporte in a £56m deal, while Manchester City and Manchester United also moved quickly to seal their marquee singings; City snapping up James Rodriguez from Real Madrid (£44.5m) while their city rivals headed across Madrid to bring Antione Griezmann into the club from Atletico (£63m)

By contrast, Watford - who did well to stay up last season after a poor start - have started the transfer window slowly, and this morning confirmed that only two of their six loanees from last season would be staying with the club. Nigel Pearson refused transfer options on both Tom Cleverly and M'baye Niang, in favour of retaining January loanees Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) and Joaquin Correa (Sevilla) for another season.

The duo were a revelation last season after arriving in January: Correa, who had struggled to make an appearance for Sevilla, made 16 appearances for Watford, scoring 5 goals and setting up a further four for his team, as he began to come good on the promise he had previously shown for Sampdoria in Serie A.

However the true star of the show was Gabriel Jesus; he had struggled at Manchester City, scoring just twice in 18 matches as the club struggled to really break into the top 10. However something clicked for him at Vicarage Road, as he came alive with 11 goals and 4 assists in 17 matches, picking up awards for Player of the Month (January + April), and Young Player of the Month (January + March), as well as breaking into Brasil's Best XI, and the Watford Best XI for the season.

Speaking to SkySports this morning, Gabriel Jesus seemed delighted to be re-signing at Watford, crediting manager Nigel Pearson for his turnaround in fortunes, and indicated that he was looking forward to working with him for another season, and "potentially even longer"
Your duo were brilliant signings in January and to have them extended for this season is some very good business. A few more signings like that and you could be pushing for a top ten finish. Up the Hornets.
Misfire: Balotelli scored just 9 goals in 35 games last season, and is on his way back to England.

After two turbulent spells in England, enigmatic Italian Mario Balotelli will be hoping third time's the charm, as OGC Nice refuse to extend his contract, having seen the £120k a week striker score just 9 goals in 35 matches as they finished 10th in Ligue 1 last season.

The 26 year old touched down in England this morning, and at 4.30pm, Watford manager Nigel Pearson confirmed that he and his transfer team had made the decision to match Balotelli's wage demands, and announced that the striker had signed a contract with the club which sees him tied in until 2021.

A four year deal seems like a risk when you consider that Balotelli has not stayed at a club for longer than 2 full seasons since he left Inter, but Pearson seems convinced that he can get the best out of the striker, in ways which Liverpool and Manchester City both failed to do.

Balotelli refused to speak to the press this morning, claiming only that he had to file paperwork to get his micro-pig brought into the country, but Watford fans are sure to be watching with a heady mix of anticipation and trepidation, as they hope that this year is the year Balotelli finally comes good.
Get his micro-pig into the country... genius. ;) Interesting signing, personally think this is the last chance for Mario to prove himself, let's hope he sorts his head out and knuckles done for you.
Unsettled: Liverpool starlet Marko Grujic is one of 10 new faces at Watford

As they gear up to face Lyon, Monaco and PSG in a pre-season tournament at Vicarage road, Watford have confirmed that they have completed their transfer business for the season, barring any major incident or enforced change. Manager Nigel Pearson spoke this morning about being keen to ensure the squad was settled and preparing for a tough campaign ahead, and despite a slow start to proceedings, he seems content with the business that has been done.

Watford Transfers 2017/18 - Summer

Spent: 70m | Received: £54m

Transfers In

Gabriel Jesus - Manchester City - Loan
Almost a no-brainer to return: 'GJ33', as he has been nicknamed by Watford fans, scored 11 goals in 17 games for the club in the second half of last season, almost single-handedly securing their spot in the Premiership for this season. Manchester City seem content with the gametime and development he is being afforded at Watford, and so that loan deal was extended.

Joaquin Correa - Sevilla - Loan
Another returnee from last season, Correa contributed 5 goals and 2 assists in 16 starts last season, joining Gabriel Jesus as one of the signings of the season. He is unhappy at Sevilla, and this loan is seen by all parties as a likely stepping stone into a permanent deal next summer.

Marko Grujic - Liverpool - Loan (£61k/month)
Grujic officially signed for Liverpool back in 2014, but spent a season on loan at former club Red Star, before being sent to Newcastle last season, where he played 32 league games, contributing 4 goals and 7 assists. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp doesn't feel the Serbian is ready for first-team football, and with stiff competition in the Watford midfield, the 21 year old has a point to prove this season if he hopes to return to Liverpool and compete.

Mario Balotelli - OGC Nice - Free
Perhaps the riskiest move of the summer here: Balotelli is a known quantity to fans in England, but Watford seem to be banking on the fact that when he's good, he's REALLY good. If Balotelli can avoid some of the off-field antics that seem to hinder him wherever he goes, this could prove to be the signing of the season. If not, there's a lot of wages being paid, for potentially not a lot of output.

Kai Ritchie - Gala Fairydean - Free
The 17-year old Scot only popped onto Watford's radar in March of last year, but has bags and bags of potential. Like Josh Kellogg (below), Ritchie is not likely to see first-team action for a few years yet, but when he does, he could be very, very special.

Josh Kellogg - West Brom - £650k
Another youngster with bags of potential, the 16 year old central midfielder has shown flashes of brilliance last season in the Under 18 leagues, but, like Kai Ritchie, it could be some time before we see him take to the pitch in first-team action.

Kieran Tierney - Celtic - £7.5m
Watford have been crying out for some quality at the full-back positions, and 20 year old Kieran Tierney could well be the answer they need at left-back. Quick, and with a solid eye for a pass, he was in scintillating form last season, and Watford fans will hope that carries into the Premiership. There's a lot of pressure on the Scot, but if he delivers, he could develop into something really special.

Michael Keane - Burnley - £8.5m
A first team regular for relegated Burnley last season, Keane was one of the few positives in that campaign. Along with fellow ex-united centre back Chris Smalling (below), Keane is one half of what could be a long-term solution to the defensive troubles which plagued Watford last season, particularly their difficulty in dealing with crosses into the box. At only 24, Keane still has a few good seasons in him, and Watford could be the place he really comes good on his promise.

Chris Smalling - Manchester United - £9.5m
Transfer listed by Manchester United having started just 25 matches last season, 27 year old Smalling will be looking to reaffirm his credentials as an international-level centre back this season. Capped 39 times for England, Smalling brings international experience to what has at times looked like a very young backline (Pepe being the exception, obviously), and that experience could be vital moving forwards.

Miguel Almiron - Atlanta United - £10.75m
23 year old Paraguayan midfielder Almiron is not a name that many people would have linked with Watford, but the technically gifted midfielder lit up the MLS last year with his vision and work rate, and could bring some much-needed technicality to the Watford midfield this season if he can break into the first team.

Georginio Wijnaldum - Liverpool - £15m
It was something of a surprise to see Wijnaldum transfer-listed by Jurgen Klopp this summer, but Liverpool's loss may well be Watford's gain. The 26 year old didn't have a bad season last year, notching 5 goals and 4 assists in 27 starts, but clearly that wasn't enough for him to retain a spot in the Liverpool squad this year. Internationally experienced, and technically very adept, Wijnaldum could have a massive year for Watford.

Mitchell Weiser - Hertha - £17m
Once one of Bayern Munich's great hopes, 23 year old Rightback Weiser became a little complacent with his lot; a lot of players do when they net a lucrative contract in their early twenties. When Bayern decided not to renew his contract, Weiser moved to Hertha, where he hit a rich vein of good form, scoring twice and creating 6 goals in 31 league starts, while also maintaining a decent defensive record. Along with Keiran Tierney (above), Weiser represents what could be the final piece of the defensive jigsaw which is likely to be the basis of Watford's season.

Transfers Out

Isaac Success - Udinese - £12m
Daryl Janmaat - Leicester - £10m (Rising to £15.5m)
Mario Suarez - Valencia - £9.5m
Tommie Hoban - Derby - £6m (Rising to £8.5m)
Sebastian Prödl - Crystal Palace - £5.5m (Rising to £8.25m)
Valon Behrami - Celtic - £5m
Nordin Amrabat - Hull - £3m
Steven Berghuis - LOSC - £2.4m
Younes Kaboul - Chievo - £225k
Some absolutely cracking business there to say the least, massive fan of Keane and Wijnaldum as I think they'll be the key to success for you over the course of the season.
Nice transfer window... bringing back "GJ33" for another season seems like a very nice choice in my opinion... I hope Wijnaldum, Keane and Smalling do well for you.. :D
Damn amazing transfers

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