After this season’s unpredictable start to the campaign, Watford look promising in retaining their Premier League status on their first return to the English top-flight since 2007.
Despite being inflicted to a last-gasp 2-1 home defeat to the hands of 13-time Premier League champions Manchester United on Saturday, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have adapted well to the demands of the Promised Land, sitting seven points above the bottom three in 13th spot.
But what three things have we learnt about the Hornets after 13 games?
1) Gomes is Premier League standard
Better known for his catalogue of comedic errors in the English top-flight given his six-year spell at Tottenham; some Watford fans would have undoubtedly felt a little uneasy about Heurelho Gomes’ return to the Premier League this season.
But the Brazilian has come out top trumps to prove his own critics wrong by conceding just 14 goals in his opening 13 league appearances; including five clean sheets, a statistic only bettered by Manchester City’s Joe Hart (7), Arsenal’s Petr Cech and West Brom’s Boaz Myhill (Both 6).
Gomes has continued his impressive form from last year’s Championship promotion winning campaign; where he conceded just 45 goals in 44 league games, including 15 shutouts, to rightly establish himself as a Premier League hero rather than a villain.
2) Flores was a shrewd managerial appointment
Spaniard Flores became the FIFTH man in charge of Watford within the past 12 months after being appointed manager back in June.
Despite sealing automatic promotion to the Premier League in second spot; the Hornets erratically went through three bosses, Giuseppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia and Billy McKinlay, before the start of October, before Slavisa Jokanovic finally steadied the ship to seal the club’s return to the Promised Land for the first time since 2007.
However Jokanovic failed to keep his role heading into the 2015-16 season, prompting Watford’s board to appoint ex-Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Benfica and Getafe coach Flores as their new man.
Having already overseen 14 matches in charge; more than double what Garcia and McKinlay managed put together, Flores looks destined to reign over Vicarage Road for sometime after adapting to the English top-flight well by injecting his masterful defensive tactics into the Hornets squad and realising his side require substance rather than style to survive.
3) They have enough firepower to secure safety
Watford’s star strikers Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo terrorised defenders in the Championship last term, with the dynamic duo netting an outstanding 41 league goals between them to spearhead the Hornet’s return to the Premier League.
But the English top-flight is a completely different ball game to the second-tier; so many fans, pundits and experts were anxious to see whether both striker’s could adapt to the brutality of one of the world’s most competitive leagues in order for the club to stay afloat during their first season back.
But it is safe to say that both captain Deeney and strike partner Ighalo are well equipped and big, strong and ugly enough to compete in the Premier League, with the lethal partnership once again providing the ammunition to fire Watford to safety, bagging over 83 per cent (10) of the club’s 12 league goals so far.
Skipper Deeney has just about found his feet after netting three times in his last four appearances, meanwhile Ighalo hit the ground running with seven strikes from his opening 11 games. Watford will just be praying neither forward suffers a serious injury for the remainder of the season!