Watford became the first Premier League team to sack their manager this season as Javi Gracia was fired following Watford’s winless start.
Gracia oversaw a terrible end to last season which was capped off by a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. Gracia led Watford to their first FA Cup Final in 35 years but it wasn’t enough to save his job after a bad start to the new campaign.
The Hornets’ start to the season saw them lose their first three fixtures before finally drawing against Newcastle United 1-1 just before the international break. Watford were winless in nine of their last 10 matches under Gracia.
The Spanish manager joined Watford in January 2018. He kept Watford in the Premier League and led the Hornets to a great start the following season.
Gracia is the ninth manager to have been in charge of Watford since the club was taken over by the Pozzo family. Watford’s executives have not been shy about changing managers since the Pozzo family took over the Vicarage Road outfit. Gracia’s staff was also axed at the same time the club let him go.
Javi Gracia out, Quique Sanchez Flores in
Former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores was re-hired to lead the club. Sanchez Flores managed Watford from June 2015 to May 2016 and led the club to the semifinals of the 2015-16 FA Cup.
Sanchez Flores spent the last 18 months of his managerial career coaching in the Chinese Super League. The manager oversaw Shanghai Shenhua posting a 5W-3D-9L record with the club.
During his previous tenure at Vicarage Road, Sanchez Flores tallied a 36.4% win rate. The manager posted a 16W-9D-19L record.
Sanchez Flores recorded the joint-most Premier League points as Gracia with 1.18 per match.
Why sack Javi Gracia now?
It was a matter of time before Watford sack Gracia. The Hornets awful end to last season combined with the FA Cup loss and poor start to this term meant that his dismissal was unavoidable.
Watford’s front office may have waited until after Watford’s next fixture against Arsenal. However, the Hornets are obviously looking for a response going into their next match. Watford will play Manchester City following their fixture against Arsenal. Sanchez Flores will have a trial by fire.