By Matthew Kirby
Last Updated: 22nd July 2019
It was a successful first full season in charge for Javi Gracia, who led Watford to their first FA Cup final since 1984. Could they be candidates to break into the top six?
Not only was there a showpiece final but they recorded their highest points total in the Premier League era (50) and under the steady stewardship of Gracia, further improvements are likely to be seen.
A contract renewal has been Gracia’s reward and taking him through until 2023, which gives Watford some much-needed stability – something they’ve not always had under the Pozzo’s ownership.
On the player front, Miguel Britos has left the club, while Craig Dawson has been drafted in from West Brom on a four-year deal. There has also been a new deal for Heurelho Gomes to extend his stay for a further season.
If Watford want to kick on this season then it’s important they hold on to Abdoulaye Doucouré and Étienne Capoue.
Doucouré scooped Watford’s player of the season award and has been linked with a move away from Vicarage Road. He recorded the joint-most assists (six) alongside José Holebas last season proving his contributions aren’t just about stifling their opponents.
While it was Capoue who topped Watford’s tackling charts ahead of Will Hughes and Doucouré. The balance these two provide in the middle third cannot be underestimated and it’s this blend that helped the Hornets last season.
If one of those two does leave then Huddersfield man Aaron Mooy could be a potential replacement. Mooy is 6/4 to join Watford after slipping down the pecking order following Jan Siewert’s arrival.
Success by name, but not by nature. Isaac Success’ career at Vicarage Road hasn’t really taken off with just two goals and two assists in his 49 top-flight appearances.
Gracia will be looking to add some further creative output to bring this side to life given the inconsistency of Gerard Deulofeu.
Paper talk is linking them with Ismaïla Sarr from Rennes and Nice’s Allan Saint-Maximin, but a move for Sarr is likely to break their transfer record.
The 21-year-old has bags of potential and can play anywhere across a front three. Last season was his most productive with eight goals and seven assists in 35 appearances, but Watford face stiff competition from Roma to sign the Senegalese international.
The Watford faithful should be relishing the start of the 2019/20 campaign and they could get off to a flying start with how their August fixtures pan out with Brighton and Newcastle amongst them.
You can get 5/2 on a top half finish for Watford, while the Hornets are 40/1 to win the FA Cup, if you fancy them to repeat last season’s cup run.