Hornets must beat Leicester City
25 April ~ Back in November, with 13 matches of the current season gone, 16th-place Watford played second-place Leicester at Vicarage Road. The Foxes were flying, while Watford fans were unsure of their rapidly assembled squad. The subsequent 2-1 victory was a turning point in our season; the start of a seven-match unbeaten run featuring five wins, including a 6-1 thrashing of Leeds at Elland Road. Now, with two games to go, Watford must beat Leicester tomorrow night to close the gap on Hull in second to one point – at least until 5pm on Saturday.
If the two clubs finish level on points, Watford will go up thanks to their massively superior goal difference. And, let me tell you, it is not often a Watford fan gets to write "massively superior goal difference".
I doubt there are many Watford fans who haven't been overcome with frustration during the past month. The excitement of having beaten Hull at the beginning of April was followed by the horror of returning from Peterborough and Millwall with nothing. Automatic promotion was gone and we were destined for the play-offs, hopelessly out of form. Then we swept aside a dismal Blackburn last Saturday and Hull failed to beat Bristol City. Suddenly, there's a chance – granted, it's thin – but it's a chance.
Standing in our way is a decent Leicester team desperate for the points to get a play-off spot. The Watford of a few months ago will have to turn up if they're to win this one. The swagger of star-striker Matej Vydra seemed to evaporate the moment he won the Football League player of the season award. Vydra hasn't scored for Watford since February 23 and it's been the little Argentinian, Fernando Forestieri, and the superb Troy Deeney who've been plundering the goals to maintain faint hopes of automatic promotion.
This is a game between two clubs that have to win for different reasons. With this much pressure on the players they'll do well to walk onto the pitch without being crushed by the weight of expectation. It's been an incredible season but in recent weeks Watford fans have been trying to moderate each other's feelings of disappointment, reminding each other that we didn't know what to expect back in August. Hopefully the team will just go for it tomorrow. It might not be enough but at the risk of sounding like Kevin Keegan – a victory would mean Hull have got to go to Barnsley and get something. And, I would love it if Barnsley beat them. Michael Moruzzi