Opposition View - Watford

roberto pereyra
Premier League Productions presenter Kelly Somers lifts the lid on today’s opponents Watford...
We’re only three league games into the season, how have the Hornets started life under Walter Mazzarri?

“As with every start to a new season for Watford, it's never easy to know what to expect! Again this summer there has been lots of change with a new manager and new faces. That said, keeping Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo was huge and means that the side are still spearheaded by the duo who tore apart so many defences.

“So far there have been some really encouraging signs – the first 60 minutes against Chelsea and the second half against Arsenal were really promising. However these have yet to translate into a complete 90-minute performance worthy of three points.”

How do you expect the Hornets to approach today’s game – go for the win or settle for a point?

“When you have Ighalo and Deeney up front, Watford can always be confident they can win – whoever it's against.

“Away from home, maybe a point would be considered a good result but they defied the critics last year and have aspirations to better last season. I expect them to be well organised as all Mazarri teams are, but with their attacking options, they will definitely be confident that they can return to Hertfordshire with a win.”

Watford were one of the busiest clubs in the transfer window, who are the standout signings?

“Roberto Pereyra, definitely. The Hornets fought off interest from a lot of clubs and he’s the exciting attacking midfielder they’ve been crying out for. He made his debut against Arsenal, scored and definitely showed supporters he’s worth the wait.  

“Goals from midfield were something they struggled for last year, with perhaps too much reliance on Deeney and Ighalo. I have already mentioned that keeping the two strikers was key, so I'd say their signatures were as key as any new signings, too."

Obviously Watford’s first-ever visit to London Stadium, do you think that’s a daunting task or a motivating factor?

“It's a funny one. I've been to London Stadium twice this season and it's a spectacular venue. It feels a little like Wembley, so visiting players could rise to the occasion – though Watford's two visits to the new Wembley could suggest otherwise! The West Ham fans have generated good atmospheres in the games I have been to – but away from home the Watford fans are raucous, and that will definitely spur the Hornets on.”

What would represent a good season for Watford? 

“The staff and players have come out and openly said they would like to improve on last season's 13th-placed finish, but given the strength of the league this season, I would think anything above 15th would be an incredible achievement. According to a recent interview with Ighalo, the Pozzos are targeting the Europa League in the next few years – so you never know!”

What is your prediction for today’s score?

“It will be an interesting one as West Ham will have a number of players back from injury – Dimitri Payet being one, and as we all know, he makes them an entirely different prospect. That, coupled with their new signings mean I think they will be stronger than they have been. But, if I've learned one thing – it's never to write Watford off! I’ll go for a draw!”