Premier League Preview 2019-20: Watford
Watford Football Club
2018-19 Premier League Finish: 11th Place
2019-20 Premier League Prediction: 12th Place
Craig Dawson DF - West Bromwich Albion £5,750,000
Joao Pedro FW - Fluminese £2,350,000
Dodi Lukebakio FW - Hertha BSC £18,750,000
Obbi Oulare FW - Standard Liege £2,800,000
Miguel Britos DF - Free Agent
Tommie Hoban DF - Free Agent
Watford Football Club are entering their fifth consecutive season in the Premier League. That’s kind of a shocker to me because it doesn’t seem like Watford have been around that long but apparently they have been since the 2015-16 season. The going hasn’t been easy for Watford but they are coming off their best points total and finish in this run in the Premier League with their 50 pt, 17th place finish last season. And it could have been a lot better as Watford flirted with a Europa League spot all the way till the final few weeks of the season when they lost their final 3 games. Had it not been for that, Watford would also be participating in Europa League this season. Not only did Watford have their best Premier league finish but they also made it all the way to the FA Cup final , granted Manchester City destroyed them. And all this happened in Javi Garcia’s first season as head coach. The ending to the season may not have went the way the club wanted it to but there is a lot of positives to take away and build on in the coming year. Worst case scenario for Watford is around relegation. I don’t think they would get relegated, but I could see a 17th or 16th place finish if everything went wrong. Best case scenario for Watford is around 8th or 9th. Just like I have a hard time seeing them get relegated, I also have a hard time believing they could get top 7. They’re the definition of a mid-table team.
Watford’s biggest strength is their attack, granted I think it could be strengthened more. At the moment, Watford’s attack basically consists of Gerard Deulofeu, Troy Deeney and Andre Gray. Deulofeu is a brilliant winger and a brilliant attacker. The Spanish national is easily Watford’s best player and fans should be thankful that a bigger club hasn’t come knocking. Granted Deulofeu came from Barca so maybe he’s not interested in the big club life. But Deulofeu appeared in 30 Premier League matches last season for Watford and scored 10 goals. He was their leading scorer and played a big part in their run at Europa League. Deeney and Gray are Watford’s top 2 strikers. Deeney is the team captain and pretty much a club legend at this point as he’s been with the club coming up on 10 yrs. Deeney is a really solid striker. He’s not top 5 striker in the league but then again if he was, Watford would probably have sold him. Deeney scored 9 goals last season in 32 appearances and Andre Gray scored 7 goals in 29 appearances. Watford have a star winger and 2 good strikers, but what they are missing to take their attack to the next level is a second winger. Drop Roberto Pereya to the attacking midfield and add another star winger to this group and their attack would be deadly. Maybe spend some money Watford, since you’ve been running a surplus in the transfer window the past 2 years.
Defense, if the FA Cup showed you anything. Watford’s downfall last year was definitely their defense. Watford’s defense was responsible for 59 goals allowed in the 38 Premier League matches last season. While Watford’s attack is of Premier League caliber, the defense isn’t and it shows with how much rotating went on in the squad last season. Watford alternated with Holebas, Femenia, Janmaat and Masina as their full backs. Holebas started 27 games, Femenia 22 ,Janmaat 17 and Masina 11. At Center-back, the only mainstay in the entire defense was Craig Cathcart who started all but 3 matches. Cathcart was paired up with Kabasele who played 19 games and with Mariappa would appeared in 20 games. The only teams that should be rotating that much is clubs that are playing in Champions or Europa League. I don’t have the biggest issue with the centerback rotations as Cathcart was the stronghold throughout but they need more consistency at the fullback position. Just look at Liverpool for example who are starting their two full backs 30+ games a year, because they also have two of the best in the league. Watford spent big 2 years ago but were positive in transfers last year and so far this year. If you want to stay in the Premier League, you need to spend money each year and not get complacent. Your midfield is solid and so is your attack, granted you could add another winger if you want it to be great, but they definitely need to spend on the defense.
Top Goalscorer Predictions:
Gerard Deulofeu: 13 goals
Troy Deeney: 8 goals
Andre Gray: 8 goals
Home Kit: It’s okay. I’m usually a fan of the half and half jerseys as they are pretty rare but I’m not sure it’s the best with the black and yellow and then you also add the red stripes on the shoulder. Might could have been better had they made the opposite sleeve black, instead of having both yellow.
Away Kit: Could have been a great kit had they went with white stripes. The yellow stripes on the all green kit almost makes the yellow stripes look lime green, which green on green is an awful look. A few tweaks and the home and away kits could have been really good.