What Could Go Wrong? Watford 18/19 Season Preview

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Watford harmlessly finished 14th last season on 41 points. Will this be the season they start making impactful noise among the clubs Outside the Top 6?

Who’s In?

  • Gerard Deulofeu — 24 — Right Winger — Barcelona — $13.5M
  • Adam Masina — 24 — Left back — Bologna — $5.2M
  • Ken Sema — 24 — Left Midfielder — Ostersund — $2.3M
  • Marco Navarro — 22 — Right back — Espanyol — $2M
  • Ben Wilmot — 18 — Center Back — Stevenage — $1.7M
  • Domingos Quina — 18 — Center Midfielder — West Ham — $1.1M
  • Ben Foster — 35 — Goalkeeper— West Brom — ?

Who’s Out?

  • Richarlison — 21 — Left Winger — Everton — $40.6M
  • Nordin Amrabat — 31 — Left Winger — Al-Nassr — $8.8M
  • Mauro Zarate — 31 — Striker — Boca Juniors — $2.4M
  • Costel Pantilimon — 31 — Goalkeeper — Nottingham Forest — ?
  • Jerome Sinclair — 21 — Center Forward — Sunderland — Loan

European Chances

Gerard-Deulofeu-Watford

Here’s what Watford have going for them this season: four of their top five scorers are back from last season. They also permanently signed a guy from Barcelona named Gerard Deulofeu. Unfortunately, Deulofeu, while on loan at Watford last season, only appeared in seven matches last year.

Twenty-seven-year-olds Andre Gray and Roberto Pereyra are back as well as an aging Troy Deeney, who is officially north of 30.

Watford did have youth last year in Richarlison, but they sold him for more than $40M. And that’s why I’m hesitant about Watford’s chances at a top half of the table finish.

Where’s the youth? Where’s the spunk? Deulofeu’s job just got a lot tougher this season and I don’t think he will be enough.

When Will Your Manager Be Fired

Javi-Gracia-watford

Javi Gracia arrived at Watford last season after the Hornets cited Marco Silva for cheating on them with Everton. Fair-play. But they definitely lost the fire they had in the fall of 2017.

Watford allowed the third-most goals last season and haven’t done anything, meaningful, to fix it over the summer other than bring in 24-year-old left back Adam Masina from Bologna. 

Their back four in their opener against Brighton averaged 30 years old, even though they kept a clean sheet against — let’s be honest — a potent-less Brighton side. Watford can’t get away with that for the rest of the season, but it’s hard to see where relief is coming from.

Watford’s schedule is fairly balanced throughout the season, except for a little seven-match stretch at the end of February progressing through March. They play  Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal with Leicester, Southampton and Fulham between their matches against Top 6 sides.

It won’t be blow-after-blow, but it could stretch long enough to see Watford slide down the table and Gracia put on the hot seat.

Which Player Will A Bigger Club Poach?

Abdoulaye-Doucoure-Watford

Abdoulaye Doucoure is as skilled as they come in the midfield. He started in all but one of Watford’s matches last season and led the team in goals (7) and assists (3). He’s also 25 and reaching his prime.

The former France youth national team player saw his stock spike last season after his consistent involvement in build-up play. He’s also one of those valuable box-to-box guys who could be a nice addition for depth from a top side.

Unknown to Household

Twenty-three-year-old midfielder Will Hughes arrived the Premier League scene last year playing in 15 games. The former Derby man tallied two goals and three assists from his midfield position. He paired perfectly in the midfield with Doucoure, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Pereyra.

Hughes’ expected assists per 90 minutes and passes leading to shots per 90 were both above average among Premier League players last season, making him a vital player to link play to the forwards.

Relegation Odds

2/1 – Third best odds in the Premier League.

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