Watford vs Brighton pre-match analysis: Five do's and dont's for the Hornets

Watford vs Brighton pre-match analysis: Five do's and dont's for the Hornets

Watford start the new 2018/19 campaign at Vicarage Road against Chris Hughton’s Brighton Hove & Albion side this Saturday. What must the Hornets do in order to win an opening Premier League fixture for the first time in the club’s history?

aramide-oladipo
Aramide Oladipo

The Golden Boys are set to embark on their fourth consecutive season in the top-flight and they face a tricky start in facing Brighton at Vicarage Road.

Watford failed to beat newcomers Brighton in the league last season with a draw at home and a defeat on the road, so how can they earn three points against them this weekend?

Do – Hold onto any potential lead

The Hornets have failed to earn a single victory on the opening day of a Premier League season, and one of their main issues has been allowing the opposition back into the match after scoring.

In the past three opening days of the campaign, Watford have scored the first goal but they have had to settle for three draws – the most recent coming courtesy of a last-minute equaliser against eventual Champions League finalists Liverpool.

Manager Javi Gracia is set to take on his first full season at Vicarage Road and he must look to make it harder for opposing sides to nick a goal, especially after Watford open the scoring.

Do – Start Andre Gray

After a difficult debut campaign at Vicarage Road, Andre Gray looks ready to lead the line this season and finally make his mark in the top-flight.

The striker has been in fine form in pre-season, notching up three goals in five matches and his partnership with skipper Troy Deeney up front could be crucial for the team.

Gray only managed to score five league goals last season and he will know better than anyone that he needs to improve, and start showing why the club decided to splash out a record transfer fee to secure his signature last summer.

Don’t – Give Pascal Gross time on the ball

Pascal Gross enjoyed a sensational debut campaign in England and quickly became a key asset in helping Chris Hughton’s side earn a second consecutive season in the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history.

The German scored seven goals and produced eight assists in the league last season, including the winner against the Hornets in the 1-0 victory at the Amex Stadium.

Gracia will need to come up with a plan to prevent the creative midfielder from getting hold of the ball and dictating play this weekend.

Don’t – Lose your heads

Watford received four red cards in the Premier League last season and they must try and maintain their discipline if they want to kick-off the new campaign with three points.

Defender Miguel Britos was dismissed in the corresponding fixture at Vicarage Road last season in the first-half, which all but ended Watford’s chances of winning the match and they were lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw.

Whoever is selected in the starting XI must stay composed and make sure they don’t make any rash decisions that will make the referee intervene and produce a red card.

Do – Turn Vicarage Road into a fortress

Watford must look to get off to winning ways in order to gain momentum at home, as they need to improve their league record at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets only managed to secure seven victories on home soil last season and the first of those wins came in October thanks to a memorable last-minute Tom Cleverley strike against Arsenal.

The home faithful certainly played their part in last season’s 3-3 opening day thriller against Liverpool, and they’ll need to recreate a stunning atmosphere to enable the players to feel comfortable performing at home.

The last time Watford secured a home victory against Brighton came way back in the 2011/12 campaign with Deeney scoring the winner. The same outcome on Saturday would be a welcome start to the new campaign.

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