Valon Behrami return could prompt change in formation

Quique Sanchez Flores is looking forward to welcoming back Valon Behrami into the matchday squad and feels the midfield terrier is capable of playing in the same side as Ben Watson and Etienne Capoue.

Behrami has played just 26 minutes of action since the 1-0 win over Swansea City on September 12 because of a combination of knee and calf injuries. He is a highly-valued member of the head coach’s squad and it will be decided at training this morning if he is ready to be restored to what Sanchez Flores calls “the list”.

Picture (plus main) by Sean Hinks

“Behrami is a top professional,” Sanchez Flores said. “He wants to come back as quickly as possible. This week he is feeling is completely different. He feels good.”

The return of the player who snapped and snarled with such relish in the first five games would see Ben Watson’s place come under threat but Sanchez Flores doesn’t see it like that.

“Perfectly,” he said when asked if Watson, Capoue and Behrami could be fielded together. “They could play as a three or a four. Against Stoke in the last 20 minutes, when Valon went to the pitch, he was on the left. Valon plays on the right for the national team, sometimes in the middle. Valon and Capoue can play in different positions.”

Picture by Paul Dawson

Sanchez Flores actually pitched all three in a narrow midfield at SC Paderborn and Cardiff City. He is also not opposed to the idea of playing Adlène Guedioura with them, too.

“We can use four midfield centres in the middle,” he said. “At Atletico Madrid I had Raul Garcia, Koke, Tiago, and Paulo Assunção It is possible. We have players who can play on the sides.”

The flexibility and tactical acumen of the head coach is what sets him apart and will ensure the chances of Watford being found out or becoming predictable in the second half of the season are kept to a minimum.

“Quique will still have some surprises up his sleeve for the second half of the season,” said Watson.