There was a feeling of bleak familiarity around Watford's humbling 3-0 defeat to Burnley on Saturday afternoon, with Quique Sanchez Flores' role in the downfall being questioned by some after the game.

It was another story of strikers' profligacy and defensive disorder colluding to pull the Hornets back down to the foot of the table, following a brief respite at the dizzying height of 18th.

Nevertheless, it is believed the head coach is not quite being prepared for the chopping block yet, despite one or two reports suggesting otherwise.

This may come as a surprise to some, who have seen him fail so far in his efforts to transform Watford's season in the way their second-half comeback against Arsenal suggested he might.

Since then, frequent Gunners capitulations have provided enough evidence to explain why that result might have been as much to do with Arsenal's struggles as any "new manager bounce" brought about by the return of Sanchez Flores.

The renewed hope from that game was all but torn to pieces in the match that immediately followed, with Pep Guardiola's fearsome Manchester City exacting their revenge for an uncharacteristic defeat to Norwich on the ill-prepared Hornets in an 8-0 massacre that has burdened them with a dreadful goal difference that could turn out to be hugely significant come the end of the season.

Altogether Sanchez Flores has had nine league games to try and get a tune out of his players since arriving, but has won just one, against a Norwich team who have their own mounting problems to worry about, and has been guilty of fielding sides defined by an imbalance between packed defensive units and lightweight attacking collectives.

However, swimming around in this sea of negativity, is a suggestion that the work the head coach has done actually has Watford at the beginning of a large U-turn that could eventually point them in the right direction, should it be allowed to continue.

Games against Sheffield United, Tottenham and Bournemouth showed that the Hornets can make themselves difficult to beat and, with a different VAR official and a more confident set of strikers, those games might have yielded even greater positives.

From his nine league games, Sanchez Flores has collected seven points, which over the course of a 38 game season would see them finish with 30 points and almost certain relegation. Yet, compared with his predecessor Javi Gracia, the club is almost three times better off in terms of a points-per-game average.

While it is difficult to judge Gracia's contribution to this season, given that he was only afforded a four match spell before he was handed his P45, it is still a statistical improvement of sorts. It's far from perfect, it's not even sufficient, but it is at the very least a small step on the right path under a difficult set of circumstances.

As bleak as it was, the scoreline in the 3-0 defeat to Burnley somewhat belied the events on the pitch and, though that might come as little comfort to supporters and players alike, it is still a crutch Sanchez Flores can lean on.

Prior to Craig Dawson's injury, the game seemed to be heading in Watford's favour and an inability to suitably replace the defender is what ultimately harmed them, which is a problem the head coach is not wholly responsible for.

A leaky defence towards the end of last season was crying out for reinforcements and while the club will point to Dawson as an attempt to sure things up, it is clear more could have been done, with a small fortune spent on the unproven luxury of Ismaila Sarr that perhaps might have been better invested on improvements throughout the squad.

What's more, no one could point the finger at Sanchez Flores for the fact that come the end of this season Daryl Janmaat, Jose Holebas, Ben Foster, Heurelho Gomes, Adrian Mariappa, and Daniel Bachmann could all leave for nothing and further deplete the squad's defensive options. Some of those players may sign new contracts before the summer, but all but one of them are over the age of 30 and will need match-ready replacements sooner rather than later.

Young goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg is still unproven after being unable to gain game time on loan over the past two seasons, while Bachmann's development has been dealt the same problem this campaign after an impressive loan period in Scotland.

Full-backs Adam Masina and Dimitri Foulquier are still yet to have produced enough to suggest they are now in a position where they could step up to being first-team regulars, while Kiko Femenia's recent struggles have been obvious and Marvin Zeegelaar could hardly be described as one for the future.

Elsewhere, a new crisis has arisen, with strikers having seemingly lost the confidence to finish. A number of good chances have been created this season, but those up front are simply not performing as well as they did in the previous campaign, again something for which the blame cannot lie solely at the feet of the head coach.

Nor could the absence of key players. The last six games in all competitions have seen players forced out with injuries in the first-half, while Troy Deeney admitted he had tried to "be the hero" when playing with a knee problem at the start of the season, a decision that has affected over three months of football so far and will continue to have repercussions as the skipper works his way back to fitness.

Additionally, taking a punt on the injury-prone Danny Welbeck in an attempt to strengthen striking options on the cheap could have been shrewd transfer business, but instead it has come back to bite the club, as has the lack of development of Isaac Success who, despite the ongoing attacking problems and the player not being injured, has not been able to force a place on the bench for the last two games.

The fact is, statistically, Premier League survival is unlikely from this point on, though not impossible. Ten teams have survived the drop in the past 24 seasons since the Premier League changed to a 20 team format when sitting with eight points or fewer after 13 matches.

The Hornets need to win 11 of their remaining 25 games in order to reach the coveted 40 point mark, although 38 points could be enough this season, with a number of teams languishing at the wrong end of the table.

That is an arduous task regardless of who is in charge of the team's tactical output and the majority of the problems currently at Vicarage Road were inherited by Sanchez Flores rather than caused.Whether or not he has exacerbated those issues is open for debate, but at the time he was brought in, his remit was to make the team more solid at the back. Three clean sheets suggests he has been at least moderately successful in fulfilling that duty.

As for his long-term future, that will be decided in the coming weeks, with games against Southampton, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Aston Villa all games that the club will view as potentially winnable prior to the new year.

And while Sanchez Flores continues to call for patience and to insist that, given time, he can once again provide Watford with a positive identity, he knows those around him may not be as willing to wait as he would like and his performances in those matches will be under close scrutiny.

He may not have coated himself in glory, but for Sanchez Flores to be held responsible for all that is contributing to Watford's current situation would be wrong and, though he currently finds himself in the most precarious position at the club, others need to shoulder their share of the blame for putting him there.