Premier League preview: Watford primed to build on last season's high

Watford manager Javi Gracia has chosen not to meddle much with his side, sparring a few tweaks.

Deulofue starred for Watford last season with 10 goals and five assists in the Premier League.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Watford comes into the 2019-20 Premier League season on the high of its best league finish in 24 years and a first FA Cup final appearance in 35 years. Although the Hornets finished 11th and slipped to a string of losses towards the fag end of the league, they racked up 50 points to record their most successful campaign in four seasons. And rightfully so, manager Javi Gracia has chosen not to meddle much with his side, sparring a few tweaks.

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The side bears a new promising look with the arrival of former Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck and club-record signing Ismaila Sarr, while it will have stability with the presence of last season's stars in Gerard Deulofeu and Troy Deeney. 

The last two mentioned gentlemen were pivotal in Watford's success as they netted at will and combined well with the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue. Doucoure's phenomenal work-rate and sublime ability to constantly zip up and down the wings has made him a force to reckon with and was also the subject of interest this transfer window. Along with fellow defensive mainstay Capoue, the pair scored nine and assisted just as many goals last season.

The Hornets had a fairly impressive pre-season campaign that saw the side slip to an opening loss to Champions League semifinalist Ajax but then recovered to post wins over Bayer Leverkusen, QPR, and Real Sociedad.

Player to watch out for

Sarr

All eyes will be on Sarr, who was roped in for a fee estimated to be around £30 million. The 21-year-old Senegalese, who was recently in action at the African Cup of Nations and even bagged a goal, is equally adept on both feet and is a dominating force up front. Combining with the likes of Doucoure and Capoue, one can expect Sarr to have a strong impact on the Hornets' campaign this year.

Watford will host Brighton and Hove Albion for its Premier League season opener on August 10.

Watford's transfer activity

In: Bayli Spencer-Adams (Free, Arsenal), Craig Dawson (Undisclosed, West Brom), Tom Dele-Bashiru (Free, Manchester City), Mason Barrett (Undisclosed, West Ham), Callum Whelan (Free,Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Free, Arsenal), Ismaila Sarr (Undisclosed, Rennes)
Out: Obbi Oulare (Undisclosed, Standard Liege), Miguel Britos (Released), Tommie Hoban (Released), Jerome Sinclair (Loan, Venlo), Michael Folivi (Loan, AFC Wimbledon).

 

Premier League fixtures

August

10: Watford v Brighton

17: Everton v Watford

24: Watford v West Ham United

31: Newcastle United v Watford

September

15: Watford v Arsenal

21: Manchester City v Watford

28: Wolves v Watford

October

5: Watford v Sheffield United

19: Tottenham Hotspur v Watford

26: Watford v Bournemouth

November

2: Watford v Chelsea

9: Norwich City v Watford

23: Watford v Burnley

30: Southampton v Watford

December

3: Leicester City v Watford

7: Watford v Crystal Palace

14: Liverpool v Watford

21: Watford v Manchester United

26: Sheffield United v Watford

28: Watford v Aston Villa

January

1: Watford v Wolves

11: Bournemouth v Watford

18: Watford v Tottenham

21: Aston Villa v Watford

February

1: Watford v Everton

8: Brighton v Watford

22: Manchester United v Watford

29: Watford v Liverpool

March

7: Crystal Palace v Watford

14: Watford v Leicester City

21: Burnley v Watford

April

4: Watford v Southampton

11: Chelsea v Watford

18: Watford v Norwich City

25: Watford v Newcastle United

May

2: West Ham United v Watford

9: Watford v Manchester City

17: Arsenal v Watford