Watford kicked off the domestic season in ideal fashion, as they secured a 2-0 win over a lacklustre Brighton side — the Hornets’ first ever win on the opening day of a Premier League campaign.
Here are the player ratings after a rounded team performance from Javi Gracia’s team.
Goalkeeper and defence:
Ben Foster: It wasn’t the busiest afternoon for Foster on his return to Vicarage Road. His ball-playing ability was trusted by the Watford defence all afternoon, and rightly so. The former West Brom stopper played a number of sumptuous passes during the game. (7)
Daryl Janmaat: Showed tremendous determination in the tackle and a tireless endeavour to get up and down the flank. The Dutchman kept Solly March and his replacement, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, quiet for the majority of the game. (7)
Christian Kabasele: An immense performance from the Belgian. He seemed to win every physical battle and every header. Kabasele was calmness personified with the ball at his feet, picking out Watford’s wingers with a host of accurate cross-field passes. (9)
Craig Cathcart: Cathcart was tested less than his centre-back partner, but was nevertheless reliable as ever when called upon. Defended set-pieces very well and also created the space for Roberto Pereyra’s stunning opening goal. (7)
Jose Holebas: The Greek international was an unpopular figure among Hornets fans last season, however, the early signs from this campaign are very promising. Assisted both goals and tracked back well to thwart the infrequent Brighton attacks. (8)
Will Hughes: Though he looked uncomfortable on the right hand side of midfield, Hughes was composed and picked out a number of through balls for his teammates. Will show his true colours when given a chance in centre-midfield. (6)
Etienne Capoue: Hassled his counterparts until the final whistle and looks truly revitalised under Gracia. Has regained his confidence and silky touch, to devastating effect for the opposition. (8)
Abdoulaye Doucoure: Last year’s Player of the Season was understandably rusty having failed to appear in pre-season. However, like his midfield partner, Doucoure battled relentlessly and shut down the opposition on countless occasions. (7)
Roberto Pereyra: A genuinely flawless performance from the Argentine playmaker. Took both goals impeccably well. His quick feet and vision caused a constant threat to the Brighton defence. (10)
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Andre Gray: Gray was mobile all game, making darting runs through the opposition’s back line, and was unlucky to find clear-cut chances few and far between. A solid start to the season despite failing to find the back of the net. (7)
Troy Deeney: Linked up very well with his strike partner but offered little in the final third. Looking fitter than in the last couple of seasons, and will hopefully get off the mark for this campaign in the coming games. (6)
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Isaac Success: The Hornets’ first substitute looked sharp and displayed his physical prowess as he never shied away from a 50/50 challenge. Didn’t quite have long enough to impact the game. (7)
Kiko Femenía: Barely involved in his seven minutes on the pitch. Seems to be out of favour under Gracia. (5)
Ken Sema: Like Success, the debutant wasn’t on the pitch long enough to have a significant impact. Showed glimpses of his well-broadcasted technical ability. His large frame makes him look right at home in a physical Watford side. (6)
Watford will hope to build on their positive result against Brighton as they travel to Europa League side Burnley next Sunday.