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Andre Gray having a difficult start to life at Watford

Monday 23rd October 2017
Andre Gray has lost his place in the Watford starting lineup and was given mere minutes from the bench in Saturday's 4-2 defeat to Chelsea.

The 26-year-old has struggled to find the back of the net since making the £18m move from Burnley in August.
And with Gray being dropped from the starting lineup in two of his last three league appearances, it's clear that his Watford career isn't going exactly to plan.

Goals have dried up

Andre Gray came to Watford's attention in the summer after scoring eight goals from 17 Premier League starts for former side Burnley. The centre-forward was prolific in the Football League too, scoring 23 goals in 41 games to help the Clarets earn promotion from the Championship in 2015/16. Gray was a Conference player back in 2013/14, notching 30 goals in 44 games for Luton Town and his career has since gone from strength to strength.
However, the goals have not arrived for Gray in a Watford shirt. Gray has made 10 appearances for the Hornets in all competitions, scoring just once. His poor form for Watford has now led to him being dropped from the starting lineup, getting only a handful of minutes against Chelsea and a quarter of an hour against West Bromwich Albion at the end of September. His only goal for Watford came in a 2-1 away win over Swansea City last month.

Andre Gray doesn't seem to fit the system

Watford has started the season strongly, finding themselves fifth in the Premier League table, with Gray having appeared in all the matches. But the 26-year-old hardly gets any chances in games, which suggests he isn't gelling too well with his new teammates.
Gray has made just seven shots from his nine league appearances, with only two of them being on target – one every 262 minutes. Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka have been utilised at times as a result of the club-record signing's toils this season, and dropping Grey from the starting lineup might be the only solution considering he's hardly getting a sniff in attack compared to his teammates.

Fans feel the 26-year-old might need to play alongside a strike-partner to be effective, as he's incapable of holding the ball up like Deeney can. Gray prefers to make runs off the defenders into space, but his teammates just aren't supplying him in the positions where he can be at his most dangerous.
Gray's problem is that his playing style is at odds with Watford's approach. The Hornets need a centre-forward who can collect the ball with his back to goal and bring others into the attack, as well as flick balls onto the pacey wide men making runs past him. Gray has won just four of 19 aerial duels this season, averaging just 9.6 passes-per-game, while making only two successful dribbles.

It shows Gray isn't carrying the ball and relieving pressure from his team, nor is he proving to be a good target-man option from set pieces. The Watford man has created only three chances in the nine league games he's played and is hardly getting on the ball to build attacks. Until Gray can contribute to the side, he's not likely to feature from the start. Having a pacey option from the bench could be ideal if the Hornets need a goal, but he's not playing well enough to lead the line from the off.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 330

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