Hello all, welcome back to another opposition preview and one that quite frankly I’m not sure how to put together. Watford are one of those teams who whenever I watch, I truthfully do not recognise at least 2 of their players each time. They’re a strange club in the way that they are run, breeding success through unpredictability and almost reckless staff changes. However, with three wins out of three in the Premier League this year – the sporadic style of the club really appears to be bearing fruit so far this campaign. On the other hand, the mood amongst Reading supporters has increased somewhat, with two difficult away trips yielding the first two points of the season and a well-needed confidence boost for the club. Arguably, tonight’s clash could not have come at a worse time. With momentum slightly building, facing a team from the division above who’ve surprised everyone so far this season could knock us back down a few pegs. However, one could argue that Watford are unlikely to play a full strength side as they may well not be expecting the biggest of challenges tonight based on our league positioning. If we can then harness any over-confidence that may be in their squad, we could pick up a surprise result that would do wonders for our season. Only time will tell.
Rather consistent with their playing staff, Watford did appear to think outside the box when they appointed Javi Gracia. A man with no Premier League experience, he has spent his career in management mostly in Spain and the East of the continent in countries such as Greece and Russia. Having been appointed late in the January transfer window last season on the 21st of January, it isn’t really fair to judge his first season too harshly as he didn’t really have a squad of his to choose from in the second half of last season.
With the signings he has made however, Watford appear to be a lot stronger than this time last year. The loss of Richardson appears to be a big loss based on how the Brazilian has started for Everton since his £40m move from Vicarage Road in the Summer, but following his disappointing end to last season – most Hornets fans were in agreement that £40m was a great deal for the club. The return of former Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu for £11.5m appears a steal in this market, Ben Foster on a free isn’t a deal many Premier League teams would turn down and they’ve strengthened their defence and midfield through the signings of the versatile Marc Navarro and Ken Sema. Having dramatically slashed their wage bill with many departures as well, hopefully off the field for Hornets fans they’ll be seeing a more stable season than they have in recent years. With a strong core including Deeney, Doucoure, Chalobah, Pererya and Capoue amongst others and sensible additions mentioned above – I think Watford will do well this year.
As for tonight, it is a tough one to call. Reading may well have one eye on the league with the tough start but Watford may also have their priorities elsewhere for different reasons. We may well see changes in both starting XI’s, so a prediction is incredibly tough to make. I think we will give them a good game, but unlike Stoke last night for example, I think we’ll bow out to stronger opposition,. My neck is firmly on the line here, but I think we will lose on penalties.