Two Portuguese managers go head to head in the Premier League this afternoon but it is perhaps not the duo you would necessarily be familiar with as Marco Silva squares off against Carlos Carvalhal at Vicarage Road with the former Sheffield Wednesday boss now installed as Swansea manager until at least the end of the season.
For Watford they will look to build on a Boxing Day win over Leicester in front of their own fans, a result that saw the Hornets end a run of four straight defeats and more importantly stopping the rot that had all too obviously set in. Whether that was as a consequence of their season getting slightly derailed by Everton’s attempts to snare Marco Silva I’m not sure but it is fair to say the win was most welcomed.
It is a win that sees the Hertfordshire club lie 10th in the Premier League table with that position bringing the luxury of having no stress of a relegation fight but at the same time it means that they are not in contention for any of the end of season prizes, a scenario which will be something of a disappointment after their bright start to the season.
The task now for Watford is to bridge the gap to the likes of Leicester and Everton above them and if they can do that they will at least make sure that they do not repeat the post Christmas slump that has happened in the past two seasons, a slump that has ultimately gone on to cost the man in charge their job.
You get the feeling that Marco Silva’s standing is more secure but with the rinse, wash, repeat process that the Pozzo family (Watford Owners) seem to adhere to at the end of each season then the club and more importantly the former Hull City boss can ill afford to witness another slide down the ladder in the second half of the campaign.
For Swansea the hope will be that their is something of a new manager lift now that Carlos Carvalhal has been installed as the new man in charge, the South Wales outfit are another club who seem to enjoy the rinse, wash, repeat process only they seem to roll the dice in December in a bid to beat the drop.
To be fair to them it has worked in the past two occasions with the appointments of Francesco Guidolin and Paul Clement (we’ll ignore the Bob Bradley era) but you do have to wonder whether or not lightning can strike thrice as this Swansea side does seem to be suffering a death by a thousand cuts.
It is apparent that the quality the South Wales outfit have had over the years is no longer there and it was also apparent on Boxing Day that the club needed to act fast and name a new manager after they were soundly beaten by Liverpool at Anfield by a scoreline of five goals to nil, a result that bought an end to Leon Britton’s stint in charge of the club.
Carlos Carvalhal has promised the fans that he is not going to spend wildly in a bid to beat the drop but with Swansea having scored just 11 goals this season you get the feeling that they will have to bring in some form of reinforcements, either that and they are all but waving the white flag and preparing for life in the Championship next season.
You could argue the decision to only give Carvalhal a contract until the end of the season speaks volumes, Swansea not being prepared to give a manager their full backing and now they are stuck in something of a halfway house as they wait to see which way the wind blows and what division they will end up in.
Appointing a new manager should usually bring an upturn in result but that is not a guarantee, you only have to look at West Brom this season as evidence of that and unfortunately for Swansea I cannot see them getting anything out of this trip to Watford this afternoon. It won’t be a dream start for the new boss as the home side pick up all three points.