Claudio Ranieri took over Watford during the international break in October and played his first game in charge against Liverpool, which they lost 5-0. Last weekend, they took on Everton away from home and came out with a 5-2 win. Joshua King scored a hattrick for the Hornets, with a goal each from Juraj Kucka and Emmanuel Dennis. The victory saw Claudio Ranieri’s men come up to 14th in the 2021-22 Premier League standings with 10 points from their opening nine games. In this post, we will have a look at the changes in the stats produced by Watford before and after the arrival of new manager Claudio Ranieri.
Watford had only won two of their opening seven games under their previous manager, Xisco Munoz. They had scored seven goals in the seven games, conceding 10. Under Ranieri, they started with a 5-0 defeat at home to in-form Liverpool, but made a comeback against the other Merseyside club, winning 5-2 away. Joshua King, who was a part of the Everton team last season, was out of favour and wasn’t doing much under Xisco Munoz as well. But Ranieri has trusted the Norweigan international as his favoured number nine, and he has delivered so far.
The above viz is the shot map for Joshua King in the game against Everton. He was playing as the lone striker and made his presence felt, taking a total of six shots, and scoring three goals. Even after starting most games under former coach Xissco Munoz as well, these were his first three goals in the league this season. Ismaila Sarr got a few goals under the former manager, and so did Emmanue Dennis, but they only scored seven goals in those seven games.
One of the major problems due to which the change in management was made, was the lack of attacking prowess of Watford. They still have the second-lowest xG creation in the league with just 9.03, which must have grown after they scored five goals against Everton. Claudio Ranieri has given the fans hope that they will be more entertaining and threatening to watch in the upcoming games.
The first game for Ranieri ended in a 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, but in his defence, it was against arguably the best team in the league. In his second game against Everton, they looked much better and won the game 5-2. The above viz is the shot map for them against the Toffees. The Hornets took a total of 19 shots in the game, hit the target six times, scoring five goals. They had an xG of 2.65 in the game, which is a huge part of their overall 9.03 at the moment.
Watford still have the lowest number of passes into the opposition’s box. They have had one of the lowest attacks, shots, xG etc and that led them to bring a change in management. Claudio Ranieri has started well with his improvements in attack as they won 5-2, but as he himself said in the post-match interview, that his team still needed to defend well and keep clean sheets. They will have to be more clinical in front of goal, as they had only six of their 19 shots on target, and were lucky that five of them were goals.
The problem to solve next for the Hornets will be their defence. The above viz shows that they have the second-lowest recoveries in midfield. Also, they have the lowest recoveries in the final third, and the second-highest in the defensive third. They will now try to keep more of the possession and will hope Ranieri leads them to a much higher finish in the league this season than many people expect them to.