At the beginning of the season, Watford’s only target would have been to stay in the Premier League. However, with the club sitting comfortably in 10th position at the start of February, their aims may have shifted slightly. With club’s Premier League status all but secured, it may be the perfect time for them to focus on FA Cup success.
At the start of the season, Watford were odds on to be relegated and were strongly criticised for signing so many new players, with 13 players joining in total. Instead, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have taken the Premier League by storm, and are just seven short of the magic 40 points mark, with 14 games still to play.
Given that their league status is virtually secured, Watford may be able to aim for their first ever professional trophy in the FA Cup. After progressing to the fifth round of the competition with a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest, they are only two games from making the trip to Wembley for the semi-finals.
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In the round of 16, they will face Championship side Leeds, and having only lost to Premier League opposition for the last four years in the FA Cup, they will feel they have a real chance of progressing further. Given that the draw also matched up Chelsea with Manchester City, there will be one massive obstacle out of the way if they make it through.
Sanchez Flores showed on Saturday that he was prepared to take this competition seriously. He started with Troy Deeney and Ben Watson among other Premier League regulars and had no hesitation in turning to top goal scorer Odion Ighalo, even when he could have held on for a 0-0 draw and taken a replay.
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Despite making seven changes from the side that beat Newcastle the week before, Sanchez Flores still played 11 first team players, in what was a clear attempt to win the game. If he continues to show this sort of dedication to the cup, there is no reason the Hornets can’t go all the way.
Victory in the cup would also bring an excellent reward for the Watford fans who have supported them up and down the country this season. 4,000 made the trip to Nottingham on a cold Saturday to support their side; they would undoubtedly relish a trip to Wembley.
Given the talent available in the squad, Watford are capable of going all the way, and now their place in the Premier League is stable, they can focus on the FA Cup.