Harry Gray from the Watford Observer gives us the lowdown on Saturday’s opponents Watford ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League opener at Vicarage Road.
The side finished in 14th position last term – what are the expectations for the club ahead of the new season?
Supporters will be looking for tangible signs of improvement now the club is in its fourth season back in the top tier. Most would view that as a top-half finish. Once again though the initial aim will be to secure safety and hopefully do so with more comfort than they did so last term.
Javi Gracia was brought in during the latter half of the season and kept the side in the league – what opinions do the supporters have on him?
He is viewed as a likeable character among fans who appreciate the job he did to keep the club up after the mess made by Marco Silva.
Gracia deserves credit for the way he got Watford over the line and most fans were pleased to see him stay. Some fans, however, feel he is too inflexible and didn’t do enough to attract more signings this summer.
The side went without an away win in the league since November last season, what can they do to improve on their travels this term?
Simply put, score more goals. They have one strike on the road in 2018, ironically at champions Manchester City. They also struggled to defend at set-pieces and were regularly conceding from corners and free-kicks.
What do you make of the transfer business the club have done during the summer?
The incomings early in the window in the form of Gerard Deulofeu and Ben Foster among others answered a lot of the questions that needed addressing. However, since then the club have not got names in and the consensus is they could be short in attack and at centre-back.
Who could be the one to keep an eye on this season?
Nathaniel Chalobah started last season in flying form, getting into the England team before a fractured kneecap and missed nearly the entire campaign.
He will not be available for the start of the season, but if he can get fit he could well strike up a partnership with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the centre of midfield.
Finally – a prediction with how they’ll fare in their fourth consecutive Premier League season?
I think they will survive the drop, but could be in trouble if injuries mount up in the manner they did last season and they once again struggle for goals.