CHAMPIONSHIP: BRISTOL CITY- WATFORD
On November 26th I updated our Championship long term positions on Watford and Cardiff ....
So, where are we with Cardiff City and Watford ? City are top of the table and are priced as favourites now in most books at a general 3.75.They are 9-0-0 at home and if they had been better able to hold onto a couple of leads on the road, they would be trading at even money now. The Hornets are 11th, ten points off the top, but just two adrift of a playoff spot, they have dropped ten points from winning positions, four of those came against two of the three form teams in the Championship and are worth looking at. Away to Cardiff they led for well over 40 minutes and held out for twenty at 1-1 with nine men, before conceding a last minute winner, they also led for 30m against Middlesbrough, again played a very long time a man short and held out at 1-1 for 30 minutes with ten players. Plenty to take from those, I spoke to someone, a neutral ,who watched the Watford-Leicester City match, the visitors are many peoples idea of the best team in the division, or were until recently and he said that Watford were unplayable for 30-35 minutes. They are a work in progress, it was always going to be like that, we took the huge odds, in case everything clicked and it still might.
Boss Gianfranco Zola said recently his team were "ahead of schedule in their development" and added "I don't know the capabilities of this team. I don't know exactly where we can get to - whether we can get mid-table or the play-offs or whatever. I'm finding out more and more about my team day by day."If you ask me where we can be at the end of the season, I don't know. I'm sure we can do well."
They are currently 33-1 to win the Championship and circa 10-1 to get promotion, a little higher in a place or two and that second quote looks on the big side. Firstly,they have already played a lot of strong teams on the road in Leeds United, Cardiff City , Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace. Secondly, the players that they have brought in probably still have improvement in them, currently a dozen are on loan from Udinese or Granada and Zola has rotated his large squad, so might not even know his best eleven yet. . Also, I wonder what could happen with regard to further and possibly even better loans from the parent club, if Watford made further progress through December, you can also actually play additional "loanees" by making existing deals permanent, which would be a little unethical, if you were later to sell them back, but not against the rules as I understand them. I have no reason to think this will happen, just speculating about what is possible, if that EPL carrot was dangling infront of the Pozzo family and the "parent"club were safe and had nothing to play forin Serie A, which looks highly likely to the case very soon.
Leicester City website: Bright in their movement, smart in possession and watchful in defence, Watford looked a well balanced side and in the lively Forestieri, carried a contstant attcking threat.
Since then, Watford have collected ten points and 12 goals from five starts and are up into the playoff places, it will be interesting to see what the Hornets do in the transfer window and a big finish to 2012 will probably help Gianfranco with any negotiations, the go to Falmer to play Brighton at the weekend and three points here will be by far the easier on offer. City have conceded nine goals and collected just one point from their last four home games and that draw came courtesy of a late minute equaliser. Ashton Gate has been a happy hunting ground for Watford, who have not lost here inside 90 minutes in 9 visits and have won the last two, scoring at least two goals in the last three.
City have just announced losses of over £14m for the year ending May 2012 and they are going to struggle to meet the financial Fair Play regulations , which should come into play at the start of the season after next and these are worrying times for the Robins. Two clubs who look to he heading firmly in different directions, the pair were tied on ten points after eight matches, over the last 15 Watford have collected 27, City just 9, an average of 1.2 per game. Any of you on that 66-1 /14-1 promotion pre season have a good bet, they are now trading at circa 20-1/ 11-2, but we do not have to worry about that at present, nice price for Watford to record a sixth away win of the season.1.25 units Watford -0.5 ball 2.25-2.30 general quote.