Watford supporters have been reasonably satisfied in recent times after seeing their side bounce back from defeat last week with a draw in the Premier League at the weekend.
Javi Gracia’s men went into their clash with Brighton at the AMEX Stadium off the back of going down 2-1 at Tottenham on January 30, in turn suffering their first league defeat of 2019. And while they didn’t bounce back with all three points against Chris Hughton’s Seagulls, they got the next best thing by earning a 0-0 draw from their trip to the South Coast, a result which saw them move into eighth place in the Premier League table.
As such, there have been many satisfied Hornets supporters up and down the country in recent times, with Adrian Mariappa one man who has been in fine form for the Hertfordshire-based outfit this season.
The defender returned to Vicarage Road on a free transfer (as per Transfermarkt) back in the summer of 2016 following the expiration of his contract at Crystal Palace, but given just how impressive he has been for the Hornets so far this season, it’s fair to say that Palace lost out yet Watford pulled off a masterstroke.
Ultimately, it was at Vicarage Road in which Mariappa began his professional career having come up through the ranks at the Hertfordshire-based club, eventually making his senior debut back in 2005 and then spending seven years with the Hornets before being snapped up by Reading in the summer of 2012.
And in that time the 32-year-old more than proved his worth with 247 appearances in all competitions for the Hornets, including being a regular in the Championship between 2007 and 2012 to underline his credentials as an accomplished second tier defender.
Thing didn’t work out too well at Reading though, what with the centre back leaving the Madejski Stadium after just one season to link up with Premier League outfit Crystal Palace, for whom he also struggled for regular game time in eventually playing only 49 times in three seasons at Selhurst Park.
As such, the Eagles unsurprisingly ran his contract down so that he left on a free transfer in the summer of 2016, with Watford taking the plunge in bringing the 32-year-old back to Vicarage Road in the hope that he could rediscover his best form, form he only ever really showed at Watford in his first stint.
And while his first season back was tricky, appearing only eight times under Walter Mazzarri in the 2016/17 campaign, he has since become a regular under Gracia with 30 appearances in all competitions last time round for the Hornets, most of which coming following the Spaniard’s appointment back in January of last year.
And this season has followed a familiar pattern with Mariappa playing 17 times in the Premier League including starts in each of their last seven matches – the fact he has occasionally captained the side underlines just how highly thought of he is by the Watford manager.
And this all highlights just how much Palace lost out in letting the 32-year-old leave on a free – he is now playing his part in a side that are sat eighth in the Premier League, and very much moving forward under the stewardship of Gracia.
On the other hand, there is little doubting that the Hornets have pulled off a masterstroke in luring the defender back to Vicarage Road.
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