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Watford's Premier League Story

Wednesday 19th April 2017
After many consecutive years sitting in the Skybet Championship, since returning to the Barclays Premier League, Watford seems to really be enjoying life back where they belong. They find themselves sitting in 10th position as they look to hold onto top-half league finish this season, but many are wondering just how far can Watford go next season?

After a decent run of results, Walter Mazzarri's men have clearly grown in confidence, as they continue to sift under the radar, slowly climbing the table. They've managed to pick up an impressive nine points out of their last four games, which included a 4-0 loss to title-chasing, Tottenham Hotspur. Getting a point at Tottenham would be an extremely tough ask by the board, let alone three points. I'm sure all at Watford are pleased with the Hornets' efforts over the past couple of months.

With the Premier League arguably as strong as ever and so many world class players and managers in the English league, Watford are certainly doing their fans proud. With their successes on the pitch this season so far, the question is how far can they go in the coming seasons - should they keep some sort of solidarity with Mazzarri as manager. They've already managed to exceed expectations, which possibly were to just avoid relegation. This season, fans are wondering how far Mazzarri can take his team.

European football is an extremely big ask for everyone at Watford. When you look at Arsene Wenger, a manager who hasn't failed to qualify for Champions League football in 20 years, sitting in 7th place a good 10 points off fourth place, you notice just how hard the Premier League has become. The arrival of Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola has heated up the competition as the old "big four" has arguably become the "big six" with the uprise of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the past decade. Sure, Watford may not have the same spending power as these clubs, but they've shown that they can compete on a points basis as they continue to win games in the league. A strong start, mediocre middle and a big finish to next season could see Watford do the unthinkable, bringing European football to Vicarage Road.

I may be getting too ahead of myself. Yes, Watford have been doing exceptionally well in the league this season and yes, they do have a great manager, but one season wonders are not unheard of in the Premier League. A prime example is Leicester City. After defying all odds and completing possibly one of the greatest upsets in world football ever, they have plummeted towards the bottom of the table ever since. Their poor form this season resulted in one of the most contested debates in football this season, Claudio Ranieri losing his job, as Craig Shakespeare takes over looking to get them back up to a mid-table finish. Whether Watford will invest in new talent over the transfer window, look to stick with what they have, or lose players to clubs with higher buying power who can offer their players a better salary is yet to be seen; whichever they choose will ultimately have a big impact on how well they do next time around.
Jack Drury
19 years of age. Sport and Exercise Science Student at Loughborough University. Peterborough United.

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