OPINION: Who will be the key players for Watford this season?
With the new football season just around the corner, which three players will be key to Watford’s chances of staying clear of the relegation zone?
Nine new additions have been added to the Watford squad this year, so will all of them be able to adapt to the Premier League and gel with the current players who are already at the club?
Find below the three players I feel will be pivotal to the Hornets’ chances this season:
This may be completely obvious but it’s true; Troy Deeney is so key to Watford. Without him leading the Hornets’ strike force, we never play as well and the Golden Boys’ do not currently have another striker like the 27-year-old in the squad. Whilst Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra are also very good players to have, they are both completely different to Troy. When he’s not in the side, we miss his presence up front, as he battles away with the oppositions defenders all game, never giving them a minutes piece. Deeney is also a fantastic captain, leading by example and his attitude should be an example to any aspiring footballers. He knows he made a mistake but he has learned from it and transformed his life. Last summer, the striker could have easily kicked up a fuss and demanded a transfer to one of the Premier League clubs who submitted a bid for him. He could have done the same this summer, when once again, clubs reportedly enquired about him, but he didn’t, signing new contract’s each time to tie him down to the club.
As well as his attitude and style of play, his work up front is also key. He scored or assisted 31 goals last season for the Hornets’ in the Championship, spearheading the clubs attack and averaging a goal every 163 minutes last year. In the process, Deeney became the first striker in the club’s history to score 20 goals in three consecutive seasons and our captain is so vital for us, with Watford winning 60% of the games that he played last term. Without him, we are not the same.
The Professor is the man that makes our midfield tick. He proved himself to be a class above everyone in the Championship, as he glided past opposition defenders and unlocked defences with his accurate passes, showcasing his excellent vision and clever brain. A set piece specialist who has an eye for goal, the Swiss midfielder really makes the Hornets’ tick and the Golden Boys’ miss his creativity and intelligent play when he is out of the side. Last season, he averaged 1.4 key passes per game and had a pass completion rate of 86.7%, indicating his eye for a pass and ability to unlock defences in a blink of an eye. Undoubtedly the Hornets’ strongest midfielder, even with the new additions in the centre of the park, Abdi will be crucial cog of Watford’s midfield this season. This can be showcased by the fact that Watford won 63.6% of the games that Abdi featured in last season. One of the best pieces of business this summer was handing Abdi a new three-year deal.
Some were fearful when it was announced that Watford had signed the former Spurs’ stopper last May. Many remember him from the high-profile mistakes that he made at Tottenham Hotspur and questioned whether he would be the right man to be the Golden Boy’s number one, as they looked to turn their promotion ambitions into reality during the 2014/15 season. In short, the Brazilian was nothing short of heroic for the Golden Boys last season. At times, he won Watford games single handily, putting in stand-out performances against Brighton, Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers to name a few. He showcased his shot-stopping ability on a number of occasions, with his triple-save against Bolton Wanderers in February living long in the memory for me. His enthusiastic goal celebrations endeared him to supporters and he was inspirational for the Hornets’ at times last season as the last line of defence. He averaged 3.3 saves per game last season and kept 15 clean sheets in the Hornets’ goal. With Watford up against higher quality teams in the Premier League, the Golden Boy’s could have their backs against the wall during some stages and will rely on Gomes to put in the same inspirational performances that he did last season.
Do you agree?
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Stats from WhoScored.com