Football

A man of style and substance - Quique Sanchez Flores.

Leicester City have been fantastic, but Watford and Bournemouth also deserve praise

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Football fans have been understandably swept up in Leicester City's fairytale season, in which they appear on course to claim the Premier League title.

However, whilst the Foxes merit the limelight, there are two others who deserve credit for their performances this campaign.

Leicester were viewed as candidates to be relegated, but Watford and Bournemouth were seen as stone-cold certainties to play in the Championship next season.

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The Hornets came into the new season in turmoil following former manager Slavisa Jokanovic's departure from the club, the Serbian lasting just eight months as a result of contractual disagreements.

Spaniard Quique Sanchez Flores was then brought in to take the reins at Vicarage Road, becoming the club's fifth manager inside the space of 12 months.

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From an outside perspective, the task at hand for Flores looked exceptionally difficult, yet since his arrival the 51-year-old has overseen impressive victories against Liverpool in the Premier League and Arsenal in the FA Cup.

He has done so with what can only be described as a small and eclectic squad. The fact Flores has managed to gel a group of players with over 20 different nationalities into a cohesive unit is a remarkable achievement.

As it stands, Watford have 37 points in the Premier League, sit comfortably 12 points above the relegation zone and have an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to.

Crystal Palace v Watford - Premier League

Eddie Howe, on the other hand, has done an equally superb job at Bournemouth, overseeing League One and Championship promotions into England's top-flight.

The Cherries now sit 13th and one point above Watford, firmly separating themselves from the league's relegation battle.

Amidst a season full of highlights, wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and Southampton have epitomised the quality residing in Bournemouth's squad.

It was well documented upon their arrival in the Premier League that they play in the smallest stadium in top-flight history, yet this hasn't deterred Howe's side from looking assured and at home amongst the countries elite.

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League

What's interesting is the differing makeup of the two sides - Bournemouth have a squad largely made up of English players, whilst Flores' Watford boast a vast array of nationalities.

It just goes to show that with a stable pair of hands in charge, both approaches work.

Claudio Ranieri and Slaven Bilic are both quite rightly favourites for the Manager of the Year award, yet Flores and Howe are more than deserving to at least be in the running.

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Topics:
Bournemouth
Premier League
Troy Deeney
Watford
Football
Chelsea
Arsenal

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