View on the Opposition - Watford

Watford Observer's Adam Newson lifts the lid on Saturday's opponents
Watford Observer’s Adam Newson lifts the lid on Premier League surprise package Watford FC

Ten games into the season, what have you made of the Hornet’s start to life back in the Premier League?

“They’ve done quite well so far. One of Quique’s main aims is to be strong defensively. He wants to make sure they’re in every game which they pretty much have been. Obviously the goals haven’t have come as freely as he would have liked, they look a lot more threatening than their goal tally suggests.

"They’ve certainly made a good start and the feeling around the squad is that the further the season goes on, the better they’ll get as the squad gel together. There were a lot of new signings in the summer but perhaps not as many starting in the first team as people think."
As you said, a lot of new faces came in during the summer, who has caught your eye the most?

“Probably Etienne Capoue, people had a few reservations about him after pre-season but since then he’s been excellent. He runs his heart out, covers the yards and starts the attacks. Allam Nyom also has been very good, he’s dipped in the last few games but overall has been excellent.

“When he’s played Valon Behrami has looked very good too, he breaks up the play and chases everything. Then he feeds the attacking players well.”

Odion Ighalo has been scoring the goals, but Troy Deeney has also looked good at this level?

“If you only see the highlights then yes, you’d think it’s all about Ighalo, and clearly he has done well. But Troy is just as important, he always puts in the work, that’s his minimum requirement he sets for himself and his teammates.

“Elsewhere, Craig Cathcart has been pretty much faultless in defence, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. Hurelhio Gomes has also done well.”  
Another new face, Quique Sanchez Flores, what have you made of his start to life in English football?

“He’s very impressive and a nice person. He’s very calm and level headed, he never gets too aggravated when things aren’t going his way. He’s more of a thinker rather than a shouter, and that calmness has been good, they don’t get flustered or panicked. His calm attitude does transcend to the team.

"Tactically he is very astute and loves watching videos of the opposition to work out their weaknesses. Initially he had a hard job as Slavisa Jokanovic was such a popular figure here having got them promoted. Had they started badly everyone would have said ‘We should have kept Jokanovic’, but the fact there’s been none of that shows how well Quique has done.”
At the start of the season most fans would probably have settled for seventeenth, is that still the aim or are the Hornets aiming a bit higher?

“The aim is still definitely to stay up, if you offered Quique seventeenth on goal difference I think he’d take it. But the start has given them confidence that they won’t be part of the relegation dogfight.

"Speaking to Troy the other day, he said the squad has been positive from the start of the season, not thinking ‘Where can we nick points here and there?’ but going out and thinking ‘We will try and win every game, we are a Premier League side and we are not going to be cowed by anybody. We deserve to be here’.”

What have you made of West Ham this season?

“I haven’t seen them live yet, but I’ve been very impressed with their results. I’ve been surprised actually how well they’ve done, I thought they might struggle but they’ve signed very well. Everyone is talking about Dimitri Payet and I’ve heard Bilic praise Manuel Lanzini.”

What do you think the score will be on Saturday?

“I think it’ll be a draw, 1-1. West Ham have been very good this season away from home but I think a draw would be a good result for both teams.”