The striker debate

For the first time in years, we have choice. Choice in which players we want, choice in how much we want to sell our players for and more importantly when we want to sell them. But the biggest and most controversial choice so far this season is who starts up front.

At the beginning of the season, Gianfranco Zola acknowledged he had too many options and went for the three up front, one of them being Sean Murray who arguably suited the more attacking role. This system was dropped quicker than the player himself after the 5-1 defeat to Derby and we haven’t looked back since.

The return of Troy Deeney coincided with this tactical switch and for the first time in a long time, we had quality up top, which ever option Gianfranco took. The aforementioned Deeney came back from prison, after a strict diet of sit-ups and press-ups, nearly as wide as he is tall, Matej Vydra, the man with lightning pace and the best finish that I have ever seen, Alexander Geijo, the proven goalscorer who came from Spain, more of a deep lying forward providing solid link up play and a lot of flicks, and the mercurially brilliant and constantly mental Fernando Forestieri.

Forestieri and Deeney looked like the number 9 and 10 for the next 3 seasons when they first started playing together. Zola even said he thought they were his first choice, the signing of “Fessi” on a 4 and a half year contract in January confirmed as much. What Forestieri lacked though, was finishing. He somehow made the difficult things look simple and the simple stuff look difficult.

Vydra is the opposite. The Czech Republic international is ruthless. Scoring with a conversion rate of 65%, nearly every shot is a goal. The otter is rapid as well, as shown by the brilliant goal he scored against Brighton earlier on in the season, flick on by Deeney, Vydra sprints past Wayne Bridge and another no mark and then coolly slots passed Tomasz Kuszczak in the Brighton goal. There was inevitability he was going to score though. Every Watford fan knew it; unfortunately every scout knows it as well.

Geijo has been somewhat left out in the cold though whilst all this was going on. At one point the George Riley to Vydra’s Blissett, Geijo has dropped further and further down the pecking order and after a poor display versus Bristol City I doubt we’ll be seeing much of him again. Any other year though and we’d probably see the man who looks suspiciously like Scott Fitzgerald as our main striker.

The ideal partnership for me would be Forestieri and Vydra but Zola feels he can’t play both, and you can understand his thinking; both are worse in the air than Anthony MacNamee and so Deeney provides a panic ball if someone like Jonathan Hogg gets the ball. If there is a way though, I think Zola should try it, the football, if not the results, could be brilliant.

Written by Greg Cooper, We Are Going Up’s Watford blogger

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