Premier League 2019-20: Watford begin campaign at home against Brighton
The long-awaited return for the 2019-20 Premier League season ends here as the English top-flight league gets underway this weekend. Following a fruitful campaign last year, Watford entertain Brighton and Hove Albion at home, and we preview how the Hornets are gearing up for the curtain riser.
In the build-up to the latest campaign, Watford capped off a decent pre-season schedule as they registered wins over Queens Park Rangers, Bayer Leverkusen, and Real Sociedad while falling to a 2-1 defeat to Champions League semifinalists Ajax. While they have made only two high-profile signings in Craig Dawson and free agent Danny Welbeck, Javi Gracia’s Hornets are confident of capping a positive start to the 2019-20 season.
Brighton, on the other hand, are currently in a transitional phase since their narrow escape from relegation last season. Under new boss Graham Potter, the Seagulls have had an encouraging pre-season on the road with four wins and a loss. In terms of shaping the squad, Potter has acquired Brentford’s Neal Maupay, Bristol City’s Adam Webster and winger Leandro Trossard from Belgian side KRC Genk.
Both teams are looking to register a winning start to the latest campaign, and we preview the upcoming clash at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Both teams have faced off on 21 occasions across all competitions, since the 1982/83 season, and it is Watford who have the edge in the contest, winning eight times as compared to Brighton’s five victories. However, the record of their matchups in the Premier League has both teams evenly poised, as they have drawn two of their four clashes while winning one game apiece.
English goalkeeper Ben Foster was the saviour for Watford as he denied Jurgen Locadia and Florin Andone in a hard-fought 0-0 draw at the Amex stadium. The fixture saw Brighton register a total of 21 shots as compared to Watford’s mere five attempts but Javi Gracia needed Foster’s experience and composure to help him escape with a stalemate in his 39th game in charge of the Hornets.
The addition of Craig Dawson adds a much-needed injection to Watford’s defence and the most notable battle will be between him and veteran striker Glenn Murray. The duo have faced each other on five occasions in the Premier League, with Murray winning the contest thrice. Brighton’s number nine contributed 14 goals in the league last term and it’ll be interesting to see how Watford’s new center-back withstands the imminent threat when they renew hostilities.
Watford captain Troy Deeney will mark his ninth season with the 2018-19 FA Cup finalists this year. The all-time goalscorer for the Hornets with 123 goals in 371 appearances, Deeney has played a part in seven goals (five goals and two assists) in his meeting with Brighton across all competitions and will certainly lead the frontline at home on Saturday. With regular partner Gerard Deulofeu uncertain to start, the 31-year-old could form a new partnership with new signing Danny Welbeck in a possible 4-4-2 formation against the Seagulls.
Words: William Paul