Will the Hornets continue to show their ‘sting’ this season?
Welcome back to ‘The 2019-20 Premier League Season Preview’ – a feature series that previews all 20 clubs of the Premier League ahead of the new football season.
It’s time to travel just outside of London and preview another on the up in… Watford.
MANAGER: Javi Gracia
CAPTAIN: Troy Deeney
ODDS TO WIN THE LEAGUE: 1000-1 (via Oddschecker)
Before last season, pretty much everyone expected Watford to get relegated. Before this season, some are calling for The Hornets to be an outside bet to secure European football for the 2020-21 season.
What a difference 12 months make in football. And it seems to come down to stability finally existing at Vicarage Road. Having burned through more than a dozen managers since 2009, current boss Javi Gracia seems to have finally taken Watford to the next level, having signed a new deal with the club during last season.
With signs of long-term planning showing, Watford are very much on the up.
HOW THEY FINISHED IN THE LAST FIVE SEASONS
2014-15 – 2nd (Championship)
2015-16 – 13th (Premier League)
2016-17 – 17th (Premier League)
2017-18 – 14th (Premier League)
2018-19 – 11th (Premier League)
Premier League – 11th
FA Cup – Runners-up
Carabao Cup – Third Round
Top Scorer – League: Gerard Deulofeu (10), All: Troy Deeney & Gerard Deulofeu (11)
Ismaïla Sarr (Rennes – £40m)
Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion – £5.49m)
Tom Dele-Bashiru (Manchester City – Free transfer)
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal – Free Transfer)
Dobi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin – £18m)
Obbi Oulare (Standard Liège – £2.70m)
Jerome Sinclair (VVV-Venlo – Loan)
Marc Navarro (Leganés – Loan)
Ben Wilmot (Swansea City – Loan)
Kwasi Sibo (Ibiza – Loan)
Miguel Britos (Released)
GK – Gomes, Foster, Dahlberg, Bachmann
DF – Janmaat, Dawson, Prödl, Mariappa, Masina, Cathcart, Femenía, Zeegelaar, Holebas, Kabasele, Foulquier,
MD – Cleverley, Sema, Chalobah, Doucouré, Hughes, Quina, Dele-Bashiru, Capoue
FW – Deulofeu, Deeney, Welbeck, Peñaranda, Gray, Sarr, Okaka, Pereyra, Hernández, Stuparevic, Success
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR – ISMAÏLA SARR
While the attention would have rightly been on Sadio Mané for Senegal at the African Cup of Nations following his outstanding season for Liverpool, opposition sides would do well not to forget about the next prospect to come from the Génération Foot production line.
Watford had wanted to sign him from Rennes for a long time now and finally got their man on transfer deadline day after paying a club record £40m to the Ligue 1 side.
Expect big things from the highly-rated Senegalese winger.
HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAINST CHELSEA
Matches played – 35
Won – 10
Drawn – 6
Lost – 19
HOW MUCH OF A THREAT WILL THEY BE TO CHELSEA?
Watford are the sort of ‘awkward’ team that could be problematic on their day for the Blues.
But with only one win over Chelsea this century, I’m not expecting the Hornets to pick up many points if any.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Don’t be surprised if this season ends up consisting of three leagues within one. The ‘Top 6’, the bottom nine, and a ‘mid-table’ group of teams that are ‘too good’ to get relegated and are aiming to take a shot at European campaigns in the near future.
Watford are in the mid-table group along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, West Ham United and Everton, looking to battle it out with each other in attempting to crack into the top 6 this season.
They may not better their position from last season of eleventh, but expect Watford to give another strong outing over the next few months.
Predicted position: 11th
Come back for part 19 as we make the short trip back into London and preview… West Ham United.
• Part 1 – Arsenal
• Part 2 – Aston Villa
• Part 3 – Bournemouth
• Part 4 – Brighton & Hove Albion
• Part 5 – Burnley
• Part 6 – Chelsea
• Part 7 – Crystal Palace
• Part 8 – Everton
• Part 9 – Leicester City
• Part 10 – Liverpool
• Part 11 – Manchester City
• Part 12 – Manchester United
• Part 13 – Newcastle United
• Part 14 – Norwich City
• Part 15 – Sheffield United
• Part 16 – Southampton
• Part 17 – Tottenham Hotspur