Deeney loving Watford form: ‘Long may that continue’

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Troy Deeney is happy with undermanned Watford’s 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Watford 2-0 Brighton ]

Clearly Deeney has been feeling the worries of Watford supporters, and is proud of the Hornets’ response to the sale of Richarlison to Everton.

Watford was without him, as well as unfit Nathaniel Chalobah and Gerard Deulofeu, but that was not a problem for the Hornets in a convincing defeat of Brighton. From the BBC:

“People think we would fall apart because Richarlison left, this is a great squad,” he said. “We had a great pre-season and it showed with our fitness towards the end, so long may that continue. The gaffer has to take credit for that. We’ve been working on our intensity and it has been working and that’s why I look so skinny.”

Deeney also offered a classic quip when asked about Pereyra’s brace.

“He’s not a bad player, he played in the Champions League final,” Deeney said.

It’s a solid win for the Hornets, but also a worrying debut for the Gulls. Watford looked quite good, especially Pereyra, but Brighton offered very little. We’ll see which team’s performance was more indicative of their fate as the season continues with Watford at Burnley and Brighton hosting Manchester United.

Pereyra stars as Watford slams Brighton

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  • Pereyra scores beauty off corner
  • Then runs in a gift for brace
  • Gulls outshot 19-6

Roberto Pereyra scored twice to give Javi Gracia‘s men a controlling 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

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Mat Ryan made a fine stop on Watford captain Troy Deeney to properly open the danger. The Hornets had plenty of the ball to start the match.

As expected, Brighton grew into the game and tempted the frame through a Dale Stephens volley.

It was the Hornets who would take the lead off a corner kick, with Pereyra ripping a terrific shot off a volley that Ryan couldn’t stop.

Christian Kabasele missed a chance to make it 2-0 after the break when his header popped over the bar.

And it was Pereyra who gave Watford that score line moments later with his first Premier League brace.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

PL AT HALF: Two for Chelsea, Pereyra scores thunder bolt

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The Premier League’s first mid-morning matches of the season have produced goals in each of four 10 a.m. ET starts.

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Watford 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

The Hornets’ fourth corner of the night came off the training ground, and Roberto Pereyra got every bit of a volley from atop the box.

Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan could only get a hand on the effort, smashed with plenty of venom for the best goal of the very early season.

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Chelsea

Willian‘s cross was bounced over the line by N'Golo Kante for a first Premier League goal under Maurizio Sarri. Jorginho then converted a Marcos Alonso won penalty with a cheeky roll to double the advantage.

Bournemouth 1-0 Cardiff City

Ryan Fraser scored off a Callum Wilson cross, but the latter missed a penalty kick he won to keep this a one-goal game at the break.

Fulham 0-1 Crystal Palace

Former Leicester man Jeff Schulpp has the Eagles leading as the Premier League returns to Craven Cottage.

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Season preview: Steady Watford ready to kick on?

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Watford at a glance

Premier League titles: 0 (best finish, runners up in 1982/83)
FA Cup: Runners up (1983/84)

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

They will finish in the top 10 and go on a cup run… Because that is exactly what this squad is capable of and it would constitute a wonderful campaign. The Hornets are well run, have a slightly different approach to transfer dealings given their ownership by the Pozzo family who also have clubs in Italy and Spain. Watford have been in the PL for four seasons on the spin and their strength in depth is getting better each campaign. Going forward they are exciting and they’ve added plenty of extra cover in defense for this season, which was much needed after they conceded the second most goals in the PL in 2017/18.

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It is highly likely they’ll be sucked into a 10-team relegation scrap… Ah, yes. Despite keeping hold of Abdoulaye Doucoure this summer, selling Richarlison could see the very real proposition of a relegation battle arrive. Just like Southampton’s selling finally catching up with them last season, Watford offloading one of their top talents, albeit for a hugely inflated fee, kind of sends out the message that they will not be challenging for Europe but instead keen to remain in the PL and then a top 10 finish is a bonus. That is a slippery slope to navigate.

Transfers in: Ben Foster ($3.2 million, West Brom), Gerard Deulofeu ($14.9 million, Barcelona), Ken Sema ($1.6 million, Ostersunds), Marc Navarro ($2.3 million, Espanyol), Ben Wilmot ($1.9 million, Stevenage), Adam Masina ($5.8 million, Bologna)

Transfers out: Richarlison ($51 million, Everton), Nordin Amrabat ($5.1 million, Al-Nassr), Costel Pantillimon (Nottingham Forest), Mauro Zarate (Boca Juniors)

Best possible XI

—– Foster —–

—- Janmaat —- Kabasele —- Britos —- Holebas —-

—– Doucoure —- Capoue —- 

—- Pereyra —- Cleverley —-Deulofeu —-

—– Gray —–

Ranking their offseason: 5/10 – Steady enough but losing Richarlison relatively late on in the window means they will be hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement. In Pereyra and Deulofeu they have top wide players already and although they added a new starting goalkeeper (Foster) and several defensive additions, does it really make a leaky defense stronger? There’s no doubt that midfield is their strongest area and Doucoure signing a new long-term deal was a huge boost as some of the PL’s big boys circled.

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Star player: Abdoulaye Doucoure – The powerful French midfielder was an offensive threat last season and his all-round player make him a perfect central midfielder for the Premier League. His long drives forward from the middle of the pitch open up plenty of space for his teammates and he is getting better each season he plays in England. The big boys will come calling again, but at least Doucoure is signed down to a long deal so Watford will get that #RicharlisonMoney if they do decide to sell.

Coaches’ Corner: Javi Gracia steadied the ship successfully after arriving in January as he pulled the Hornets away from the drop zone and they secured big wins against Chelsea and Everton at home. Yet the defensive deficiencies of this team are still there and he will have to improve them drastically as a defensive unit if his time at Vicarage Road will be deemed as a success. The Spaniard is likeable enough but with Watford’s revolving door policy when it comes to managers, it would be quite a shock if he was still in charge next summer.

PST predicts: A season in the lower midtable for Watford who may be more solid but they’ll lose a little of their attacking flair. They have a solid PL squad but not much more than that.

Will increased spending by promoted clubs turn Premier League upside down?

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Fulham, Wolverhampton, and Cardiff City have spent a combined $180 million this summer.

Manchester United, Manchester City, and Tottenham have spent a combined $185 million this summer.

The gap is closing. The influx of money from top to bottom across the Premier League table is having an effect, and lower-table teams are able to join the whirlwind at an unprecedented level. The three newly promoted teams in the Premier League have spent this summer at previously unimaginable levels.

So will this have an effect on the bottom of the table? Absolutely, positively it will.

Overhauling a squad following a successful season is always a major risk, but teams are more and more willing to take on that risk when it comes to ensuring Premier League safety, and ensuring the yearly checks continue to flow. Fulham alone has spent $89.5 million this summer, and could end up changing a whopping six members of their EFL Playoff Final starting lineup.

[ PREVIEWS: Fulham | Cardiff City | Huddersfield ]

But money isn’t good money unless it’s smart money, and these teams are closing the gap there too. Fulham pulled off a coup when they nabbed passing wizard Jean-Michael Seri from OGC Nice, a player coveted by Champions League teams in England, Italy, and Germany. They paid a pretty penny too, costing them $34.7 million, a Fulham transfer record. Wolves looks to have pulled off a steal by snagging 21-year-old Diogo Jota from Atletico Madrid, with the $16 million looking well worth the damage after leading the team with 18 goals last season in the Championship. They’re set to add to that total with the impending capture of Adama Traore for a reported $23 million, breaking Wolves’ transfer record as well. Cardiff bolstered its mediocre attack by spending $26 million on a pair of English wingers in their prime.

Both Fulham and Wolves also kept their top talent, no easy feat with sharks in the waters. Ryan Sessegnon stayed on at Craven Cottage despite becoming the first lower-division player to be nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year, and 21-year-old Ruben Neves signed a new six-year contract at Wolves this summer after carving the Championship to pieces last campaign. Both players had bigger clubs circling, waiting to strike.

Even smaller clubs in the Premier League not yet considered established are ponying up the cash. Brighton has shelled out $60 million this summer, $53 million of which came on three players. Huddersfield Town, a club that had never sniffed the top division in English soccer before promotion last year, has found $53 million to spend.

[ PREVIEW: Burnley | Newcastle ]

With the new standard being wildly shifted, where does that leave clubs like Burnley, Newcastle, and Watford, who have barely spent a dime? Each of these requires a different answer at the more microscopic level, but it all boils down to one result – they will be left behind. With smaller clubs able to splash the cash, the margin for error is getting thinner by the year. It’s harder and harder to find three teams worse than [insert financially strapped club here]. Burnley, for example, has a Europa League campaign to navigate plus a follow-up to their 7th place finish last season, but they have purchased just one player this summer, with manager Sean Dyche vocally protesting increasing player prices.

What about Tottenham, an established upper-tier club that literally hasn’t spent a dime this window? Will they be punished for not improving this summer at all?

That’s more complicated of an answer. The short version is no. Spurs has such a deep team with so few true holes, they can afford to take a summer off. If it becomes a more long-term strategy? Sure, they’ll fall back. But we all know that’s not the case.

Yet for the clubs in peril every waking moment of their Premier League existence, the writing is on the wall is clear: spend or wilt. The newly promoted clubs know long-term investments require short-term movement, and the time is now to keep up with the boat, or sink into the perilous waters below.