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18 games to save Watford: History suggests Roy Hodgson can do it

Former Liverpool, Fulham and Crystal Palace boss will have 18 games to keep Watford up. We take a look at this first 18 games from every other Premier League job he's had.

Watford is without a doubt the most precarious managerial job in English football. Under Gino Pozzo's ownership, the Hornets have rattled through 15 managers in less than ten years.

True to form, the axe fell on Claudio Ranieri on Monday after just 14 matches in charge. He was swiftly replaced by the 74-year-old former England boss Roy Hodgson.

Tasked with saving Watford from relegation, whichever way it goes, Hodgson will only be a short-term appointment. But on the surface it certainly looks a very shrewd move by the London club.

The state of play

Let's not sugar-coat it: the situation at Watford is a desperate one right now.

They sit second from bottom of the Premier League with 14 defeats from 20 matches.

They are yet to keep a clean sheet and have lost eight of their last nine. The other was a draw.

While the situation is desperate, it is not yet hopeless. Far from it, in fact. They are just two points from the safety of 17th place, currently occupied by Norwich. They have a game in hand on Newcastle, who are directly above them, and two on the Canaries.

Hodgson, therefore, will likely need around 22 points to give Watford a fighting chance of avoiding the drop and has 18 games in which to get them. That is a required points-per-game of 1.22.

With that in mind, we have looked back on Hodgson's previous five Premier League reigns to see how he performed over the first 18 games.

Blackburn - 1997/98

Games: 18

Wins: 10

Draws: 6

Defeats: 2

Points: 36

Points per game: 2

Hodgson's first taste of Premier League football was an impressive one, as he revived the champions of three years previous Blackburn Rovers.
Rovers had finished 13th the year before and Hodgson would eventually guide them to sixth in his first season in charge.
That was largely based upon a blistering start to the campaign, but there is obvious caution in trying to equate the situation at Blackburn to that which he has inherited at Watford.
Crucially, he took over at Blackburn in the summer, which is obviously worlds away from joining a struggling club mid-season.

Fulham - 2007/8

Games: 18

Wins: 6

Draws: 3

Defeats: 9

Points: 21

Points per game: 1.16

There are no two ways about it - Roy Hodgson was a brilliant manager for Fulham. He got them to a UEFA Cup final, for goodness sake, beating Juventus along the way.

Before all that, though, he was tasked with pulling off a great escape not dissimilar to the one Watford require this season.

Fulham had won only two matches and Hodgson had 18 games to save their skins. He did it too, although it was a slow burner of an impact with most of the wins at the very end of the season.

That's the good news for Watford fans. The bad news is that the 1.16 points-per-game he achieved at Fulham in similar circumstances may not be enough to save the Hornets.

Liverpool - 2010/11

Games: 18

Wins: 6

Draws: 4

Defeats: 8

Points: 22

Points per game: 1.22

Hodgson's Fulham heroics saw him offered the Liverpool job in the summer of 2010.

It was not the opportunity it is these days, though, with the club trying to rebuild on a budget.

Hodgson is remembered as a huge failure at Liverpool having fallen well short of the expectations - he did not see out the season.

His first 18 games in charge, though, for all his struggles, would probably see Watford safe if replicated.

West Brom - 2011/12 and 2012/13

Games: 18

Wins: 6

Draws: 6

Defeats: 6

Points: 24

Points per game: 1.33

Hodgson resurfaced at West Brom in February 2011 with the Baggies only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference.

That season there were just 12 games left, and Hodgson made a massive impact. In those 12 matches he gained them 20 points at 1.67 points per game, eventually leading West Brom to an 11th-placed finish.

A comparatively poor start to the following campaign took the gloss off the figures, but Hodgson proved at West Brom that he was capable of a positive short-term impact.

Crystal Palace 2017/18

Games: 18

Wins: 5

Draws: 7

Defeats: 6

Points: 22

Points per game: 1.22

When Roy Hodgson took over at Crystal Palace, the Eagles had lost four out of four without even scoring a goal. Matches against Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea made up three of his first four in charge, so it already looked like it would take a colossal effort to keep them up.

He lost his first three Premier League games in charge too, leaving Palace without a single point from seven matches.

Hodgson was able to steady the ship though, and in the first 18 games he delivered the the points per game that would probably keep Watford up.

READ MORE: From Gianfranco Zola to Claudio Ranieri: Every Watford manager under the Pozzo regime

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