Troy Deeney and Andre Gray both keen to keep on playing together

Troy Deeney and Andre Gray both keen to keep on playing together

Both Watford strikers are desperate to prove to Javi Gracia that they must not be dropped. So far, they are managing to do so, and it must stay that way.

James Baldwin

Watford have played two matches this season and played two up top for both of them. All the fans had seen the potential that playing both Andre Gray and Troy Deeney together provided last season, and this season it is already working.

Both players have impressed Watford fans in the opening games, following a 2-0 opening day victory against Brighton followed by a 3-1 away victory at Burnley. And now, it is vital that Javi Gracia plays a two-striker system for the remainder of the season.

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A captain ready to lead

Deeney was under par for many Hornets' fans last season. There was a lot of talk about whether he would still be at the club for this season and many thought it would be nice to see him leave, as it seemed he would not improve again and was on a downward spiral. A goal and an assist against Burnley is proving that to be different.

The captain has spoken multiple times throughout the Summer regarding his fitness, and it has been noticed that he has undergone a transformation over the summer - making himself fitter once again. 

And Deeney is clearly up for playing with strike partner Gray throughout the rest of the season as well. Speaking to the Watford Observer, he said that he "hopes that we [him and Gray] can play together but ultimately it is the manager's decision".

Deeney continues by saying "If he [Gracia] decides to play us together, we have to go out there, win games and make it impossible for us to be dropped." After his Man of the Match performance against Burnley on Sunday, he is certainly making it harder for Javi Gracia to drop neither Deeney nor the pairing.

Finishing the interview with the Observer, Deeney said: "we had a lot of moments in pre-season where we nearly linked up and in a few more weeks those things will come off because everyone is on the same wavelength." 

The long-term captain certainly seems prosperous of what he and his fellow strike partner can achieve this season. And whilst we caught glimpses of that in the opening game of the season, it really came off and showed against Burnley. It seems the two have an exciting future ahead.


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Gray equipped to succeed

Gray also spoke to the official Watford site prior to the Burnley match. Another player that was under par last season, Watford fans were hoping that this may be the season where he really steps off the mark for the club and becomes a clinical forward.

It looks to be that way. Gray scored just 3 minutes into the Burnley match, against his former club, to hand the Hornets the lead. He also played great link-up play with Deeney throughout the game and looked threatening when coming forward most times. He looks like a changed player - and having a partner again is helping that. 

Speaking to the club about his partnership with Deeney and the hopes of the two playing together, he said "Hopefully. Hopefully me and Troy did enough to show that we can play together and play in the team as a two." It should be enough for at least the coming month after the win at Burnley, and many fans would be shocked if they weren't together in that timescale.

The club's record signing also said regarding the partnership; "We bounce off each other. We are not selfish and both work for each other. We aren't bothered about which one of us scores and we must work for the team. We both agree that we benefit more from playing with each other."

After Sunday's performance, it is clear that everything the Number 18 said before the game is true. Deeney and Gray were unselfish and did work for the team - running the show. That is what Watford really need this season. 

A strong strike-force?



After what was perceived to be a poor transfer window by many, most notably the failure to sign a striker, the current Watford team is proving that factor wrong. 

Gray and Deeney came out last weekend and proved to many why they can carry the team forward this season. That may explain the latter's cupped hand celebration towards the Hornets' fans after he scored. They are both showing that, perhaps, they can score at least 10 goals each this season. They are also giving Javi Gracia a tougher job in selection.

Watford's midfield line is very strong, and with players like Nathanial Chalobah, Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley set to make a return sooner or later, it could prove a selection headache for Gracia.

However, one thing is for certain. Playing two strikers up top helps both Gray and Deeney and compliments them both well. They have proved to Gracia in the 3 games that they have started together that they must be selected together.

If they can keep this form up, it is certain that Gracia will keep selecting them. And that is a very positive thing for the team to take away. It is what Watford missed last season, and this season it is proving to be quite what the club needs.

Hopefully, Deeney and Gray can keep their form up, and continue starting in the Watford line-up for weeks to come.