For the past two years, Nigerian international Odion Ighalo has been crucial to everything Watford have done in the final third. His goals, all 16 of them, kept Watford away from any danger last season and his partnership with skipper Troy Deeney has been incredibly fruitful for the hornets, producing 50 goals from just 60 games before this campaign.
However, this term Ighalo has managed just one goal, a deflected effort in the 4-2 win at West Ham, and has not looked like the same player that at this stage last season had seven goals to his name. Mazzari has shown faith in the forward since he took over but he seems to have run out of opportunities, after a series of average performance and serious lack of goals.
December was a great month for the frontman last year as he scored six in as many games and scoped up the Premier League Player of the Month Award. This December he will be fighting to get a game from the bench as Walter Mazzarri’s new 3-4-3 formation doesn’t seem to accommodate for the striker.
Advancing the Midfield
Mazzarri pushed Etienne Capoue further forward against Leicester and had 13 million pound signing Roberto Pereyra playing just behind Deeney in a more central role. This worked almost instantly for the hornets as both were on the score sheet within 13 minutes and Pereyra tormented the foxes backline all afternoon.
Deeney also played his part, winning six aerial duels and laying on the assist for Capoue’s opener. Deep midfielder Valon Behrami also seemed to flourish in the new system, sitting in front of the back line and tidying up whenever the hornets lost possession. The new role suited the tenacious Swiss international down to the ground.
Ighalo out in the cold?
With the success of the 3-4-3 deployed on Saturday, Ighalo is going to find it tough to be integrated back into Mazzarri’s starting line-up. His task will not be made any easier by the return to fitness of compatriot Isaac Success and fellow striker Stefano Okaka, who had both impressed before injuries set them back.