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The tale of Watford’s managerial merry-go-round this season

Watford fans have learned not to get too attached to their managers these days. There are few clubs in England who dispense with the services of coaches as often as the Hornets, as Claudio Ranieri became the latest to be shown the exit door after just four months in charge.

Roy Hodgson is the next man tasked with keeping Watford in the Premier League this season, but with the team currently sat 19th in the Premier League at the time of writing, the pressure is on for the 74-year-old to reverse Watford’s position in the football betting odds for relegation.

They’ve had some great results this season, notably the 4-1 home win over Manchester United, but they’ve also suffered some dismal defeats, like the recent 3-0 loss to Norwich City at Vicarage Road, which ultimately spelled the end of Ranieri’s tenure. It’s been a topsy-turvy campaign, so let’s take a brief look at how the Hornets find themselves gearing up for their third managerial reign of 2021-22.

Muñoz out of his depth

The season began with Xisco Muñoz in charge, after the Spaniard oversaw Watford’s promotion from the Championship last term. However, despite opening the season with a win over Aston Villa at Vicarage Road, it soon became clear that the inexperienced Muñoz did not have the coaching acumen required to succeed in the Premier League.

Watford’s owners are notoriously difficult to please, and although the team weren’t in the relegation zone at the time, Muñoz  was given his marching orders as the club’s hierarchy made desperate attempts to avoid slipping down the table.

Ranieri seeking another miracle

Former Leicester City manager Ranieri was the man identified as their saviour. Having guided the Foxes to that sensational Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 season, it was hoped that the Italian would be able to have a similarly inspiring effect on Watford’s players.

A 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool meant things got off to a poor start, but Ranieri did deliver some impressive results, including the aforementioned 4-1 hammering of Manchester United. However, things began to slide out of control, and after that dismal 3-0 home defeat to Norwich, it was decided that Ranieri was not the man to lead the Hornets towards Premier League survival.

Hodgson brought in to fight the fires

Now, Hodgson arrives at Vicarage Road having abandoned his retirement to try and save Watford. Aged 74, some may argue that there is little for Hodgson to gain by taking the reins at the club, although by the same token there is little to lose. Even if he ends up losing his job in short order as is common at Watford, he can return to his retirement without any worries of his reputation being tarnished for future jobs.

Hodgson will view it as a chance to prove he still has the ability to coach at the highest level, and that Crystal Palace were wrong not to offer him a new contract. His style of no-nonsense, back-to-basics football is exactly what Watford need to string a few results together and clamber out of the relegation dogfight. It’ll be fascinating to see how it unfolds.