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OPPOSITION IN FOCUS: WATFORD

3 July 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross celebrates his goal against Watford in the 1-0 win at the Amex Stadium in December.

Our rundown of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League opposition for the 2018/19 campaign continues with Watford

League Position 2017/18: 14th

Top league goalscorer: Abdoulaye Doucoure (7)

How did they do last season? 

The side’s third consecutive season in the Premier League ended in a 14th placed finish, with two managers overseeing the campaign. The Hornets enjoyed a strong start to the season with just one loss in their opening eight matches under Marco Silva.

However, three wins between October and February had the side in 11th position - Silva had been replaced by Javi Gracia in January after Watford found themselves amongst a tightly congested bottom half of the table as the season entered its final months. 

Home form would prove to be vital and three victories at Vicarage Road against Everton, West Brom and Newcastle United compensated for the side’s away form as the Hornets ended a place above Albion in the Premier League.

Who’s in charge?

Javi Gracia enjoyed a 15-year professional career that saw the former midfielder make over 400 appearances in Spanish senior football.

Having represented the likes of Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Villareal, his first managerial role came in 2005 with the latter’s youth side. Spells in the Spanish second division with Pontevedra and Cadiz followed before time with Greek side Kerkyra.

Three more posts in La Liga were followed by a 9th place finish with Russian side Rubin Kazan, and Gracia arrived at Vicarage Road in January 2018.

He took charge of 15 matches last season, winning four and drawing three as the Hornets maintained their top-flight status.

Who should I keep an eye out for? 

Richarlison began life in England well and netted five times in the first half of the 2017-18 season having arrived from Brazilian side Fluminense in July. 

The midfielder was a key figure in the side’s strong start to the campaign and he opened his account against AFC Bournemouth in a 2-0 win on the south coast, before netting in back-to-back away games against Swansea City and West Brom at the end of September.

Two further strikes in November added to the tally, whilst he also notched up three assists. 

A more subdued second half of the campaign followed, but his start to life at Vicarage Road clearly demonstrated the 21-year-old’s ability and he looks likely to be key for the side again during the upcoming season.

How did we fare against them last season?

Albion took four points off Watford during the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.

The first meeting between the two sides was the Seagulls’ first away game of the season, and a trip to a sunny Vicarage Road in August saw the teams play out a competitive 0-0 draw. 

Chris Hughton’s side had chances to win the contest, and the home side were also reduced to ten men when defender Miguel Britos was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Anthony Knockaert. 

The reverse fixture at the Amex Stadium two days before Christmas ended in a victory for the Albion - a second half strike from Pascal Gross was the difference between the two teams as Hughton’s men sealed a 1-0 win.


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