Premier League side Watford have enjoyed a thoroughly impressive season so far. During a campaign where sides like Wolves have got so much credit for performing against big teams, sides like Watford have not got that applause for often doing the same with a smaller budget.
The Hornets spent considerably less in the market than Wolves, who shelled out over 100 million euros last summer. More than that, Javi Gracia’s men have beaten Nuno Santo’s men more than Wolves have beaten them. The way they knocked Wolves out in the semi-finals of the FA Cup is a reflection of justice being served in a fitting way.
Watford are unglorified and they just seem to thrive on that. When Wolves often bottle against the sides from the lower half of the table, Watford don’t as much they Santo’s men do. They are flexible enough to play both ways, as Wolves come up short when the smaller teams defend deep against them and hand them possession of the ball.
That is why possibly winning the FA Cup or coming this far in itself would represent a cherry on the cake for this season for the Hornets. Not just because they have beaten Wolves, but the fact that this is happening decades after Graham Taylor did that in 1984 with the great Watford team under the ownership of Elton John.
It may not end as a restart of the glory days of the days gone by when the Hertfordshire side gained consecutive promotions in the First Division from the Third Division. Those probably were the best days for the club but this season could change history for the club.
Under Taylor, Watford had finished 11th in the 1984 First Division campaign. This season too they have finished 11th and have 57 points. But back then, each team players 42 games unlike how they play 38 games throughout the campaign today.
While that is an unfair measuring scale to juxtapose different things from two different eras, but winning the FA Cup will be a massive achievement for a club like Watford in the era of the richer and the more powerful top six. Beating the best of the top six would certainly cap all of it off brilliantly. And it is not like they will not deserve it at all.
They’re pragmatic when needed and are good on the ball when needed. Gracia has shown that after spells at smaller clubs like Rubin Kazan, Malaga, Cadiz and Almeria. At Watford, he has shown the tactically sound and flexible manager he is.
The Pozzo family has backed him to its helm, allowing him to get whichever players he wants. The permanent capture of Gerard Deulofeu has been a coup. Ben Foster’s capture has been a very shrewd capture and the signing of Adam Masina will reap rewards in the long term. Domingos Quina and Ben Wilmots are seen as future stars of the club too.
A lot is currently in place for Gracia to make Watford better and push the top six like Leicester City might next season.