Watford : pre-season musings 2017/18

​Time to explore my latent split personality and interview myself about Watford’s prospects for the season ahead..

Hold on, just hold on…. You’re a Derby County supporter. What are you doing writing a slightly jovial Watford season preview, for God’s sake!?

Well.. I’m still a Derby supporter but for a number of reasons that’s taking a back seat for a while. After four seasons of travelling up to Derby and back every few weeks as a Rams season ticket holder, as well as going to 10+ games at Vicarage Road every season, I’ve bitten the bullet and got a Watford season ticket. Next to the Mrs.

Ok. You obviously experienced a fair bit of last season’s travails with Walter Mazzarri. What did you think about that?

Well, the victories against Man Utd, Everton & West Bromwich were fantastic. It was very satisfying to see Messrs Rooney, Mourinho & Pogba well beaten, in particular. However, a lot of the season was a pretty painful & the final run of six defeats was disgraceful. The last day of the season capitulation against Man City was probably one of the most frustrating football matches I’ve seen in my life (and I’ve seen a few, mostly in Derby..).

It’s fair to say, like everyone else, I never took a shine to Walter. And I’d developed an intense dislike of him by the end of the season. You can’t have a manager who is unable to communicate or connect with the supporters in any way. He’d obviously lost the players by the end of the season too. Testa di cazzo!

So what do you think of Marco Silva then?

Obviously did a great job at Hull last season when no one expected him to. I assumed he would go back to Portugal in the summer, so was ecstatic when Gino Pozzo managed to bag him. That must’ve taken a lot of dosh. I hope he takes Watford to the next level but it would just be nice to have a manager who lasts more than a season, to be brutally honest.

Happy with what’s happened over the summer?

I was a bit concerned last weekend at the Real Sociedad friendly. Sinclair & Cleverley up front, what was that all about? It was all a bit toothless up front & that obviously didn’t bode well for the season ahead.

However, this week’s signings of Richarlison & Gray assuaged any concerns I had. Obviously, I don’t know much about the Brazilian chappie but I reckon Gray is a fantastic acquisition. Brilliant for Burnley in the Championship & had a very decent goal tally in the Premier League last year.

I was really pleased by signings of Hughes & Chalobah. I saw a lot of games in that first Zola season & Chalobah was a revelation for someone so young. Obviously, I’m a big fan of Hughes, having watched him regularly since he was 16. Certainly the most skilful Rams player I’ve ever seen in 35 years of watching them. He’ll face some competition in that midfield but I expect him to be well established by May.

Before I forget, I thought Femenia did well when he came on against Real. Maybe he’ll be a surprise package. I hope so, not sure I can cope with watching Janmaat’s defending this season.

How will the team shape up for the first game against Liverpool?

I’m notoriously bad at predicting teams but here you go..

Gomes, Holebas, Prodl, Britos, Femenia, Doucoure, Chalobah, Cleverley, Richarlison, Pereyra, Gray. 4-2-3-1.

Who do you think will be player of the season?

Would love to say Hughes but I’m going to plump for Pereyra, if he can stay fit. Pure class.

Who’s going to be this season’s Nathan Ellington?

I think Janmaat will disappear without trace pretty sharpish and will be on loan somewhere else by January.

Finally, what are your predictions?

Watford to finish tenth & get to an FA Cup semi-final. Against St Albans FC.

Barcelona to put a €300 million bid in for Will Hughes in May.

Man City to buy 6 more full backs & win the League.

Arsenal to finish fourth & win the FA Cup final v St Albans FC.

Newcastle to sack Benitez by Christmas & then get relegated.

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