Watford are once again back in the Premier League and with ten new signings and a new man in the dugout, the Hornets will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their last two top-flight campaigns with an instant relegation. Will it be third time lucky for Watford?
Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores
Home ground: Vicarage Road
Last season: 2nd in Championship
Highest EPL accolade: 20th (2000, 2007)
Watford had no problems scoring goals last season as they found the net 91 times in the Championship and one man who accounted for 21 of those was the Hornet’s main man up front Troy Deeney.
The 27-year-old has been a target for many Premier League clubs for a couple of seasons and now the big striker has the chance to prove that he has what it takes to compete at this level. he became the first player in Watford history to score 20 or more goals in three consecutive seasons and fans will hope he keeps it up.
This is the big test now for Deeney but I am not quite sure he will hit the numbers he has over the past three seasons. The Birmingham-born striker will be a very strong presence up front for the Hornets but will he do enough to help Watford survive?
Sebastian Prodl (Werder Bremen – Free), Gledrius Arlauskis (Steaua Bucharest – Free), Jose Holebas (Roma – £1.8m), Matej Vydra (Udinese – Undisclosed), Etienne Capoue (Tottenham – Undisclosed), Valon Behrami (Hamburg – Undisclosed), Allan Nyom (Udinese – Undisclosed), Miguel Britos (Napoli – Free), Jose Jurado (Spartak Moscow – Undisclosed), Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar – £4.6m)
Lewis McGugan (Sheffield Wed – Undisclosed), Jonathan Bond (Reading – Undisclosed), Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough – Season loan), Juanfran (Deportivo – Season loan), Sean Murray (Wigan – 1 month loan), Uche Ikpeazu (Port Vale – 6 month loan), Vujadin Savic, Marco Motta (both released)
One to Watch
Watford will need their star players to hit top-form this season if they want to avoid relegation straight back to the Championship and winger Almen Abdi will be hoping he can light up the Premier League and become the Hornet’s saviour.
The 28-year-old is one of Watford’s most creative players with an 87% successful pass rate and also had nine goals to his name last season. Expect many a cross or pass come in from the right-wing for either Deeney and Odion Ighalo to power home just like he did last season. He loves trying his luck from long-range so there could be some screamers to watch out for as well.
There is no doubt Watford have got some quality players with plenty of experience from all around Europe but Adbi is definitely one to keep an eye on. The Championship is a tough league but the Premier League is on another level. Can Abdi make the step up?
Paredes Prodl Britos Holebas
Abdi Ighalo Anya
This was the hardest team to preview because with a new manager in Quique Sanchez Flores and ten new arrivals at Vicarage Road, it is so hard to predict what will happen to Watford this season. If all their new signings gel quickly, they could just about survive.
Former Atletico Madrid boss Flores was appointed new manager in the summer – thier fifth manager in less than a year – and brings plenty of knowledge at his disposal as well as seven cups and titles with four different clubs. He does not have Premier League football in his resume though but I reckon he is up for the challenge.
We have seen before when a club makes a host of new signings it turns out to be a disaster, take QPR in 2012 for example. However, they have made some strong signings in Sebastian Prodl and Jose Holebas, but they will all have to gel quickly. This is either going one way – a complete disaster or just enough to stay up. I think it will be the latter.