Watford should not be underestimated

October 28th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

The football world becomes ever crazier, especially at Premier League level, with Leicester and Everton wasting no time in looking for a new manager after a few poor results.

Clearly, Leicester’s new owners do not beat around the bush and Paul Shakespeare probably knew he had only a short time to impress the powers that be. Whether the Foxes will fare any better under Claude Puel remains to be seen. The Frenchman may have been a little unlucky at Southampton, though eighth place was a little flattering, several points adrift of seventh. I don’t know if two or three senior players had their say, though the press certainly thought so at one stage. Puel is quiet, diffident and could shrug for France. Not everyone can be a showman but he needs to sell himself a bit better. In Vardy he has the sort of striker missing at St Mary’s so maybe things will work for him but I have my doubts.

Ronald Koeman, also ex-Southampton, was rather unlucky at Everton and certainly deserved a few more games. The trouble was, no one could understand the formation or the tactics, while 2-5 on your own pitch against Arsenal will always rock the boat.

Another problem is that Everton’s fans think the club is bigger than it is at the present time. Telling them how long things will take and that it’s rash to think of troubling the best is a risky approach. Koeman was good for the Saints but certainly used the club as a stepping-stone. It didn’t work and those managers who have to use players bought over their head will have limited sympathy because Ronald was given a free hand. Everton must take their time before making another appointment. There are too many quality players at Goodison for relegation to be a genuine possibility.

Having said that, recent results will let mid-table teams know that nothing can be taken for granted. Stoke aren’t even mid-table and the away game at Watford is a good deal harder than they might have supposed back in August. WATFORD have bought well, play for each other and the manager, get people forward and hit telling balls fast and low through the middle. Stoke look very ordinary indeed and 11/10 (Betfred) about the home team is fair.

I wouldn’t touch Crystal Palace v West Ham, though Palace had to slip out of the League Cup asap and I wouldn’t take the 4-1 defeat at Bristol City too literally. Leicester v Everton (see above) is also too tricky to call, though the spirit the Toffees showed at Stamford bridge in a 2-1 defeat in the same competition made it look as if the players felt a load had been lifted from their backs.

It tells you plenty about Chelsea that the bookmakers will let you have some 8/13 when they visit Bournemouth. The Cherries are a much better side than their league position suggests and, whilst 9/2 is not quite tempting enough, they have a very real chance of causing an upset.

I’m worried about Fulham, my long-range fancy in the Championship, and the home game against an improving Bolton will test them, just as Preston did the other day. SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY have not touched the form which carried them to the play-offs, either, but whenever I see them I always think the quality is there and, reluctant though I am to sound dogmatic when it comes to a local derby, I think they will have too much fire-power for Barnsley.

WATFORD 20 units at 11/10 to beat Stoke
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 20 units at 8/11 to beat Barnsley

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