After an unforgettable Saturday evening in Hertfordshire for all #Watford fans, their fans feel a real sense of optimism as they reflect on their 2-1 win over Arsenal at Vicarage Road. Currently sitting in 4th place in the league and having won points in stoppage time for the 3rd successive game, #Marco Silva has turned around a team that was in a serious decline towards the end of last years’ campaign under the uninspiring Mazzarri. So what has changed over the summer?

Manager

Little was known about Marco Silva to most Premier League fans earlier this year when he joined Hull, certainly Paul Merson had no idea what the Portuguese manager was about.

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He had a good record in his 3 roles prior to joining Hull (Estoril, Sporting Lisbon & Olympiacos) but had only spent 1 season in each of his two spells. Hull City were in dire straits when he joined and he managed to delay the inevitable and excite their fans along the way, increasing his reputation to the Premier League fans. However, after just 8 games in charge of Watford, it is clear to see he is a top manager in waiting.

Supposed “trigger happy” owners, the Pozzo’s have a famous (and successful) transfer method in which the manager is solely a #Head Coach with little to no say on the transfer processes, however Silva stood firm over certain players that he wanted, demanding through the press that he needed players that would fit his style of football. Unlike many predecessors, he got the players he had highlighted such as Andre Carrillo, showing the faith that the Pozzo’s had in their new man.

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The mood in the camp from the outside seems visibly better than last season, matched by a more attacking style of football employed by the new Head Coach. The players are all playing for their places and even those who are not playing seem involved in the squad. Previous regulars like Troy Deeney are coming on from the bench and having an impact on the game, pushing for a start without signs of discontent.

The tactical nous of Silva was evident against Arsenal at the weekend, when he changed formation in the second half, changing from a back 5 to a back 4 and pressing higher up the field and with more speed and intensity. Something, Wenger and Arsenal were unable to cope with. This flexibility should enable them to continue to change games in vital points of matches throughout the season and shows he has his squad well drilled to different situations.

Transfers

As previously mentioned, the Pozzo’s have a famous transfer model, which Watford have benefitted from immensely since took over.

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With players such as Almen Abdi, Matej Vydra, Pererya and many more, the Hornet fans have witnessed players’ week in week out that they would have only dreamt about prior to 2013. However, in the past 3 transfer windows, a small percentage of players brought in are deemed 1st team regulars, with players such as Success, Okaka, Zuniga, Amrabat and Suarez either shipped out or not featured in the 1st team squad.

This summer, however, they reinvented their model somewhat and went for an English core; Cleverley, Chalobah, Hughes and Gray – 3 of which are all starting a week in, week out. On top of that, they signed Carrillo and Richarlison who are both in scintillating form and have added an attacking threat from the wings, which Watford have long suffered from in the Premier League. With additional players such as Femenia and Kernezis, they have built a strong squad. This window seems to have propelled Watford’s squad to be able to challenge with the higher echelons of the league.

Passion

It is hard to say players lack passion, however, this season the Watford players are running further, pressing with more intensity and playing right up until the final whistle. With late goals in half of their games now, they are showing a never-die attitude and a disconnect between the playing/management team. The fans from last season have quickly been repaired.

With passionate fans such as Watford’s, lead by a fan movement in the 1881 Club, they demand players who want to play for the shirt and who connect with the fans themselves. Players such as Troy Deeney and Heurelho Gomes have built a strong rapport with fans based on blood, sweat and humility – other players are now following suit and this has created an improved atmosphere both at home and away games, which the manager himself has mentioned many times in post-match interviews.

Marco Silva is creating an exciting team at Vicarage Road and their fans are rightly encouraged by it, as they should be. This year they should finish in the top 10 and potentially push the top 7 teams all the way. It will be interesting to see how long they can hang on to Marco Silva before a top club come in for him – but their fans should enjoy him whilst they can because under the Pozzo’s they will continue to improve on and off the field.