City play Watford in the FA Cup 3rd Round this weekend in what could be an intriguing tie. I know very little about Watford but luckily I know a man who does. I caught up with Michael Moruzzi, a Watford fan who runs the excellent Regista Blog, and got his thoughts on the game.
You positioned nicely in the play-offs. Tell our readers how your season has been going?
Much better than expected. We’ve gone from the constant uncertainty of our previous owners to having financial stability, and (touch wood) a long-term future. No one knew what to expect back in the summer, but given that we signed half a squad’s worth of players in the space of month, I suspected a lengthy transition period. That’s how it looked to begin with. The side was very erratic and fragile – we could not hold a lead – but, over the past couple of months we’ve seen more consistency, and some great football. We play three at the back and look to play on the counter, and pretty good at it, as demonstrated in a 6-1 win at Elland Road and a recent 3-1 win at Brighton. Basically, it’s been great. You’re almost guaranteed entertainment with Watford this season – plenty of goals at both ends. You need to enjoy seasons like this.
Gianfranco Zola is an absolute legend of the game. What’s it like having someone so well liked and well-respected as Watford’s manager?
It’s slightly surreal, but it doesn’t mean a great deal. We had Gianluca Vialli in charge for a season and he was well liked when he joined. People liked the novelty of having a big name from European football at the club, but ultimately he was a disaster. Nice knitwear, terrible manager. Zola is very easy to like because he’s so enthusiastic about Watford and seems to be buying into the club’s community philosophy, but the main thing working in his favour are results and performances, which have been excellent.
Who’s been your best player this season?
Matej Vyrda and Troy Deeney have been scoring the goals, but Almen Abdi is the kind of player we don’t get to enjoy at Watford very often. He’s an attacking midfielder, and our main play maker. He’s the one who keeps finding Vydra in scoring positions. Also worth a mention is Nathaniel Chalobah on loan from Chelsea – an 18-year-old midfielder who looks freakishly composed for one so young.
You’ve been on a decent run of form at home. What are the odds of you beating us at our place?
I’d say we’re about evens.
Do you think you’ll get promoted?
It’s a crazy league. I don’t expect Watford to be in the top two, but anyone can win the play-offs. I’d rather they had another season and really had a go at it next year, but you don’t always get to plan like that in the Championship. The danger is you get promoted before you’re ready, which has happened to us twice before, and it wasn’t much fun.
What do you make of City and how they have spent their money?
They’re the league champions, so they spent well. You can argue about the relative value for money of individual transfers, but the owners took a club from mid-table to league champions in a relatively small amount of time. On the other hand, their European performances have been awful, but I think the finger of blame is pointed at Mancini there. It was a tough group, but I don’t buy the argument that City lacked Champions League experience. Finishing bottom was embarrassing, and I don’t believe he’s the manager to take City much further in Europe.
I’ll give you 1 City player on a free with subsidised wages. Who you having?
You could probably get away with playing Yaya Toure and a goalkeeper against some Championship teams and win at a canter, which would be great for squad rotation.
1-1. See you at the Vic for the replay.