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The inside track on Watford...

Posted on 30 December 2016  - 15:20

Simon Mail of the Watford Observer runs the rule over our New Year's Day opponents in our latest 'inside track' feature.

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Simon Mail
Chief sports reporter, Watford Observer

simon_mail_observerWatford are 10th in the PL going into the NY fixtures - from the outside, that would seem like a decent start to the season, is that a reasonable summary?
Simon: "I think almost all Watford fans would happily take this position. Their form in recent weeks certainly hasn’t been impressive but the early results have given them a healthy points tally and cushion above the bottom clubs. It’s undoubtedly a decent start but I think fans will want to see improved performances heading into the new year."

Walter Mazzarri has managed at the very top level in Italy (Napoli, Inter) - what has he brought to the club?
Simon: "He has brought with him a wealth of experience from abroad, albeit he is new to the Premier League. Mazzarri has shown a willingness to switch formations throughout games this season. He has demonstrated tactical flexibility although you do get the sense he is still trying to establish his best team and system."

Below: Walter Mazzarri

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Have there been any changes in style?
Simon: "The switch to playing 3-5-2 early on was something not all the players in the squad were familiar with. In terms of style, Watford have mixed up their game a lot. The Hornets still have a tendency to play direct which probably suits the strikers in the squad although they are capable of playing decent football at times."

Below: Sebastian Prodl

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Who have been Watford’s key performers so far?
Simon: "Sebastian Prodl has been their most consistent performer this season. The centre-back has been very impressive so far and has benefited from having the full confidence of Mazzarri. Nordin Amrabat has also caught the eye after initially taking a bit of time to adapt to the Premier League. He is often the team’s best attacker with his directness standing out."

Below: Heurelho Gomes

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How would you expect Mazzarri to approach this fixture in terms of line-up? Any players definitely out?
Simon: "Watford have no shortage of injury problems heading into the game after Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami hobbled off early on against Crystal Palace. Miguel Britos will be suspended after picking up a fifth booking on Boxing Day. It means Mazzarri’s hands are tied to a large extent and the squad is being tested to the maximum presently."

Below: Former Spurs Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue with Troy Deeney and Jose Holebas

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Finally, last season at Watford was one of our toughest away games, how do you expect it to pan out this time?
Simon: "If Watford go into the match with the right intensity then they can still make life difficult for Tottenham. But the hosts are not playing particularly well and are also weakened by injuries and suspensions so I would expect Spurs to claim another win this weekend."