John Barnes believes Watford need to face a weakened Arsenal side on Sunday to have any hopes of staying up. The Hornets legend does not hold out high hopes for his former club’s survival this weekend and believes that the decision to sack Nigel Pearson with just two games left will cost them dearly.
John Barnes said “They’re in a lot of trouble. They’re in the bottom three with one game to go. They’re obviously hoping for West Ham to do them a favour against Aston Villa, but the slight issue is that they’ll still have to beat Arsenal, which is a challenge in itself. It’ll come down to whether Arsenal decides to hold back their strongest team and save them for the Cup final and then, but perhaps only then, Watford may stand a chance. Sadly, I think the sacking of Nigel Pearson has left the team unbalanced and some of that fighting spirit seems to have gone. I really do not understand why anyone would sack the manager with only two games to go; in fact, overall, I thought Pearson was doing a good job. It’s been a tricky season for Watford but it’s worth remembering that they were bottom of the league when Nigel Pearson took over and within a few games, they were out of the relegation zone. He should get some credit for that. Yes they lost some important games, but that also beat Liverpool 3-0 only a few months ago. Somehow, expectations and reality have not been aligned for the Club this season and things have gone from bad to worse. The harmony just wasn’t right – same for Norwich. It’s the nature of the game. A club can have the same manager, same players over the years, harmony together and the beliefs are strong and suddenly, although they’re not doing anything differently, but maybe they just dropped off in terms of the togetherness and beliefs and all of a sudden, you find yourself in the very bottom of the table. There’s nothing new in football, it’s just unfortunate for Watford that having seemingly got out of the situation at the beginning of the year, they’re now back in the situation that they were in before Christmas. If Watford can find that fighting spirit, togetherness and harmony in its play, then I think they may be able to do it. It’d obviously help if Arsenal had a bad day at the office too, At the end of the day, Arsenal will be the favourites to win but never say never. If the team can find it in them, and fight as hard as they can, then, maybe, they’ll win on Sunday. But the stars need to be aligned.”
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