- Watford are yet to win a single game in the Premier League all campaign
- It is easy to forget they were FA Cup finalists against Manchester City in May
- Since then, they have got rid of their manager and are still struggling to impress
- Quique Sanchez Flores’ substitutions were jeered when they faced Chelsea
Watford and Quique Sanchez Flores seem like they are sliding towards relegation
The players show their dejection as they lose another game against Chelsea at the weekend
It is easy to forget that they were led into an FA Cup final by Javi Gracia in May this year
Watford have been on the end of two drubbing defeats by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City
They suffered a 9-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium in September after their 6-0 FA Cup final defeat
Flores has suggested that the injury suffered by Craig Cathcart was due to the pressure
Watford are on target to pick up just 17 points over the course of the Premier League season
Key man Troy Deeney has spent the majority of the season on the sidelines with an injury
There is a hope that 18-year-old Brazilian forward can have a positive impact in January
It is easy to forget just how well last season went for Watford until they stepped on the hallowed turf of Wembley.
They had just finished the Premier League campaign with a record points total of 46. For the first time ever, a manager had survived the summer and was about to lead them into a third campaign.
Not only that, but they had given their supporters a day out by reaching the FA Cup final. Then Manchester City happened.
A 6-0 tonking by Pep Guardiola’s relentless machine can upset the confidence of even the best sides, but few would have predicted the complete collapse Watford have managed since.
Javi Gracia, the man who achieved a feat that no other Hornets boss has managed in recent years – surviving a summer – was sacked after picking up just one point from the first four games of the season. They had also not won in the league since April.
He was replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores, who had already held the post between 2015 and 2016.
It has not been easy for Flores to settle back into the job, and seven games on from his re-appointment, Watford are still yet to pick up three points. Just two games into the post, he went to the Etihad and came away with an 8-0 defeat to his name.
They are, if the numbers are crunched, on target to pick up just 17 points all season.
After the City thrashing and the poor start, it’s no surprise fans are turning. Flores is already being jeered for his substitutions.
On Saturday, he decided to take Daryl Janmaat off for Kiko Femenia with Watford two goals behind against Chelsea. Rather than trying to make a positive alteration, such as bringing on Isaac Success, he chose to swap two of his defenders.
Flores accepted the reaction and said: ‘It’s normal because sometimes in the stands we are reading a different match and probably they are thinking we have one striker on the bench. But from my point of view I have the feeling with [Daryl] Janmaat we are not deep anymore.
‘He made a very, very good first half but he’s not deeper anymore and we need someone deeper, so the only player we have to do that in this moment was Kiko [Femenia]. Someone fresh and the position was normal, player for player.’
Flores is already under pressure, as reported by Sportsmail on Thursday night. The Italian owners of the club, the Pozzo family, are keeping a close eye amid fears the players are losing faith in the manager and with growing tensions in the dressing room.
Sportsmail understands there are doubts over whether Flores is the man who can turn it around. He will surely not have long to do so.
Among the Watford faithful there is already a lack of patience given the performance of their attack.
Their finishing has been diabolical this season, with them needing, on average, 23 shots to score. Add in the fact that they only manage around 12.5 attempts per match and it feels like a recipe for disaster.
There is also a sense that the pressure is grinding down those involved in the team.
Flores himself admitted: ‘Obviously this situation is tough, is difficult, and we are not the same coach sometimes when we have many things to manage and we need to give clarity for different things.’
The Spaniard has also suggested that the heightened atmosphere is causing his players to pick up injuries more frequently.
After Craig Cathcart had to go off after 20 minutes of the Chelsea loss, Flores added: ‘The players, when they are playing with these kind of pressures – so heavy, so bad – the body could react in a lot of directions that we can’t control.
‘Probably it’s the first time I’ve seen Cathcart leaving (due to an injury) after five minutes, but now the pressure is there, it’s inside of the players and the muscles are reacting different.
‘To lose one change of the players after five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes is really bad for the team but we have to live with that.’
There is a big caveat to Watford’s problems. Troy Deeney has not played since the second week of the season due to injury and their options up front are limited.
Fans are now hopeful that January arrival Joao Pedro can fix things, but it seems incredible to rely too much on him. The Brazilian forward is just 18 years old and had to wait a year for a work permit.
He has also only hit 10 goals in his senior career, with Watford having initially snapped him up before his debut for Fluminense.
This all feels like a recipe for disaster and looks like a side sleepwalking towards relegation.
Who would have predicted that back in May? You know, before City happened. Twice.