Firing Watford boss would be Premier League crime of the century
Murmurings in the Daily Mail implying Watford’s board are contemplating sacking Quique Sanchez Flores are enough to make the average football fan gasp, let alone those members of the Hornets fraternity.
Football is littered with injustices both on and off the pitch, that’s just the unforgiving nature of a results-based, heavily scrutinised and increasingly money-driven spectacle.
Some wrongs are very minor, like getting a penalty incorrectly awarded in a match, and some are a lot bigger, such as certain players being made scapegoats for collective failure.
The largest of all is when a manager loses his job in controversial circumstances.
Newcastle and Chelsea are among the Premier League’s worst culprits for ditching managers too frequently, but seldom will there have been a greater injustice carried out in the top flight than if Watford’s board actually sack Sanchez Flores.
The Spaniard, who takes his mid-table Watford team to West Ham on Wednesday evening with the chance of leapfrogging Everton into 11th, has worked minor miracles with the squad he inherited at Vicarage Road in June.
For a manager afforded so little time to ingratiate himself among the players and convey his ideas, the way Watford took the top-flight by storm up until the turn of the year was incredible.
Although there was a smattering of players with Premier League experience to advise the former Spain international, Sanchez Flores’s own greenness cannot be underestimated.
It’s fully understandable a slump would arrive at some point, only the freakish Leicester seem immune to that.
And though wins have been far less frequent, an FA Cup semi-final berth has also been earned during the downturn, while the Hornets have actually collected four of the last six points available.
December’s Manager of the Month should also be lauded for showing the bravery to carve up modern convention and field a 4-4-2 formation, which best suited his resources.
Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney’s fearsome partnership may have been quelled significantly in 2016, but up until Christmas, the two of them in tandem were propelling Watford to the dizzying heights of seventh.
There is a good chance the Hornets can still finish as the top promoted club of last season and even win the FA Cup.
Sacking Flores, even if both these things fail to materialise, would be lunacy after securing Watford’s prized Premier League safety with five games to spare.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.