New Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is under pressure from the start following the contentious circumstances surrounding Sean Dyche’s sacking. Watford’s new owners, the Pozzo family, controversially axed Dyche just days after taking over the club and last weekend replaced him with Zola, who signed a two-year deal. The rash decision has outraged many supporters after Dyche had the Hornets to a respectable 11th placed finish, in what proved to be his one and only season in charge.
Zola’s immediate task will be winning over the Vicarage Road faithful who have been left both perplexed and disappointed by Dyche’s sudden departure. In many ways the appointment of Zola has been a bizarre one. The Italian endured a disappointing final season in charge of West Ham in 2010 and has been out of work since. Furthermore he has no experience of either playing or managing in the Championship. Meanwhile Dyche, a former Watford defender, had been working on the club’s coaching staff for a number of years before his appointment and had impressed in his first season in charge, guiding the club to a creditable top half of the table finish, which was their highest finish for four seasons.
Zola, who will look to employ an attacking brand of football, has stated that he is determined to prove himself and will relish the challenge that lies ahead. He admitted he was attracted by the club's ambitions and has already targeted promotion to the Premier League. Paddy Power have handed Watford long odds of 33/1 to win the Championship, while they can be backed at 8/1 to get promoted. Zola’s first league match is away to Crystal Palace on August 18th. Paddy Power have the Hornets available at 15/8 to come away with the three points, while Palace are the 5/4 favourites to open up their campaign with a win.