If Nigel Pearson, appointed Watford’s manager only until the end of the season, was potentially identified because of his ability to limit the damage their 2019/20 so far represents and then to prepare them to challenge for promotion from the Championship during 2020/21, he has already given them hope of preserving their Premier League status. Pearson oversaw a similarly unlikely escape from relegation while managing Leicester in 2014/15, but that was a squad he had shaped. Javi Gracia was sacked after their first four fixtures of 2019/20 followed their disappointing conclusion to the previous campaign, and after Quique Sánchez Flores returned to succeed him, he had an even more damaging run of only one win in 10.
Their three victories from his first five league fixtures as manager mean that not only are Watford no longer bottom of the table, but that a further victory could even take them out of the relegation zone. Even then they will be far from safe, but they will have perhaps greater momentum than any of their rivals, which could prove crucial given their results prior to his arrival have given them so little margin for error before the season’s end. As with every other manager in England’s leading division, it is Pearson’s methods that are likely determine whether or not they succeed.