Watford begin their latest Premier League adventure with a trip to Merseyside. Having finished 2nd in the Championship last season, the club’s fans are upbeat about their chances, unbothered about the fact that many pundits and critics have singled out the club for a tough and short stay in the English top flight. Everton on the other hand finished 11th last season and will be looking to up their game rather than affirming their position as a perennial mid-table team. While Watford might not exactly come about as a tough opening fixture at home, Roberto Martinez’s side have been inconsistent in their performance, thus granting the Watford side some confidence travelling to the daunting Merseyside.
Everton have a few injury concerns to address on the very first day of the season. The confirmed absentees for this fixture are Piennar (Hamstring), Deulofeu (Hamstring) and Besic (Hamstring again). These are not helped by the fact that the likes of Kevin Mirallas (Ankle), Stones (Ankle) and Lukaku (Hamstring) could either miss the game or be a part of it to a very limited extent. Roberto Martinez will be looking to put the lacklustre performances of the last season behind, but injuries could well put his efforts to waste.
Watford will be without the services of Almen Abdi and Steven Berghuis who haven’t trained this week. Defender Miguel Britos will also miss the game as he serves his suspension. There is some good news for the club as Attacking midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado is available for selection.
- Everton have won each of their last 9 fixtures against Watford in all competitions.
- The last time Watford beat Everton was in the 1986-87 season.
- Troy Deeney, the Watford captain, is the first player in the club’s history to score 20 plus goals in 3 consecutive seasons.
The Belgian remains a doubt coming into this game with a Hamstring injury. However, should he feature, even if for a short period, he can cause the Watford defence problems. Mobile yet brutal in his ways, Lukaku knows where the back of the net is as is evident from his 75 goals in top flight football. At just 22 years of age, Lukaku is yet to hit the peak of his career. Should he get some playing time alongside the likes of Mirallas and Barkley, who bring attacking threat to the side, Lukaku could well prove to be a handful for Watford.
While Lukaku might be everyone’s obvious choice to grab the limelight in the game, Troy Deeney has been phenomenal for his side. The former Aston Villa man has been consistent in front of the goal since the 2012-13 season, averaging more than 20 goals in each of them. While the Premier League might be a tougher proposition, expect Deeney to be the man to watch out for in a Watford shirt. The club captain will need to take his chances to ensure a fruitful stay in the top flight.
We expect Watford to give this Everton side a run for their money on their return to the Premier League. The side will be looking to carry on from where they left off last season and an Everton side that is plagued with on and off field issues. The club will be looking to avoid a repeat of the 2006-07 season, when they were promoted only to be relegated. We expect the game to end 1-1.