Newly promoted Watford faced Leeds United on Matchday 7 of the 2021/22 Premier League season. The Hornets lost 1-0, leaving them on 15th in the standings with just seven points from seven games. With the fourth defeat of the season, manager Xisco Munoz was sacked by the board and a few hours later, it was announced that he will be replaced by Claudio Ranieri. Here, we will discuss Watford’s performance so far in the league under former manager Xisco Munoz and try to figure out the reasons why he was sacked from their stats.
Xisco Munoz’s Watford side scored seven goals in their seven games while conceding 10. They won the first game of the season against Aston Villa 3-2, and then the fifth game against Norwich City 3-1.
Watford were not very effective going forward under Xisco Munoz, and had the second-lowest xG generation in the entire Premier League of 6.10, which is only higher than Norwich City. They have scored seven goals so far, out of which four were scored by Isimaila Sarr and two by Emmanuel Dennis. They have been heavily reliant on Sarr for their goals, and have failed to get results in games where he hasn’t performed well.
In order to be effective in attack, it is important to reach the opposition box and have some touches and shots. Watford have the fourth lowest touches inside the penalty box with 107 and have taken the second-lowest shots in the league with just 65, hitting the target a total of 23 times.
Another problem for Watford has been a lack of creativity in their attack. They have not been successful in getting goals from crosses into the box, and have also had very few smart and key passes in the final third. The third lowest smart passes in the league belong to Watford, with just 24 passes. This has made it difficult for them to create big goalscoring opportunities.
Normally, if teams struggle to get attempts and goals from open play like Watford, they tend to focus more on their approach of set pieces and try to make full use of them. The problem Xisco Munoz and Watford faced was that they only had three shots resulting from corners in the first seven games. This show that they have not been successful causing threats from the set pieces.
Along with the poor performances in the league, Watford went out of the Carabao Cup as well, after losing to Championship opposition Stoke City. all these factors lead to the sacking of their manager Xisco Munoz after just 10 months of his appointment. Claudio Ranieri has been named the new manager for Watford, as he will now have the responsibility to improve their season and help them finish as high in the standings as possible.