They made several transfers this summer but lost Richarlison to Everton. Looking to improve on 14th last season.

Watford Premier League Fixtures, Squad, Guide

For the first time since they returned to the Premier League, Watford did not change managers this summer. Javi Gracia remains in charge – though he has been linked with a return to Spain. It’s been another busy pre-season for the club. As well as a permanent deal for Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona), they signed goalkeeper Ben Foster (West Brom), Swedish midfielder Ken Sema (Ostersund), Italian defender Adam Masina (Bologna), Spanish defender Marc Navarro (Espanyol) and teen defender Ben Wilmot (Stevenage).

Annual wage bill – £75m (2017)

Annual income – £124m (2017)

Stadium Vicarage Road (21,577)

Odds -1,000/1 to win Premier League

FAN’S VIEW

Mike Parkin, From the Rookery End podcast, fromtherookeryend.com

LAST SEASON WAS… 

Frustrating. Watford got off to an extraordinary start under Marco Silva, playing some brilliant football and delivering some outstanding results. The Hornets were as high as fourth in the table after beating Arsenal and that was a fair reflection of the beginning to the campaign. Then the wheels came off in spectacular fashion. Silva’s desire to leave was incredibly unsettling and form evaporated almost overnight. The issue was exacerbated by a string of long-term injuries and the season ended up mirroring those that have gone before: a good start followed by a nervous run-in.

OUR BIGGEST HERO

In an incredibly turbulent year at Vicarage Road, Adrian Mariappa was a real steadying influence, on and off the field. Injuries and suspensions meant he was called on with regularity and he never let the Hornets down.

OUR BIGGEST VILLAIN

Marco Silva. I don’t think any Watford supporter would begrudge a head coach or a player a move after a season or two of good service, but to agitate for a move after a handful of games was extremely disappointing.

YOUNGSTER TO WATCH 

The youngster that has tongues wagging at Vicarage Road is Adalberto Penaranda. The 21-year-old Venezuelan has been marooned out on loan for the past two season, with work permit issues holding up his debut. These problems now seem to have been resolved.

MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER

Kiko Femenia arrived from Alaves to little fanfare but quickly established himself as a vital cog in the Watford wheel. A solid defender, he really shows his worth when breaking forward, doing so with purpose and pace.

Kiko Femenia was a rock last season (Getty Images)

HOPES & FEARS FOR 2018-19

The big fear is a poor start to the season. Since returning to the Premier League, Watford’s strong opening has ensured safety with relative ease, but a failure to capitalise on a winnable run of games at the front end of the campaign could mean a challenging year. The hope is that with a strengthened squad and a settled head coach the Hornets can deliver a more consistent showing across the season.

Watford Premier League Squad

Name Age / d.o.b. Signed / prev club

GOALKEEPERS
Daniel Bachmann (Aut) (24) 09.07.94 2017 / Stoke City
Pontus Dahlberg (Swe) (19) 21.01.99 2018 / Gothenburg (Swe)
Ben Foster (35) 03.04.83 2018 / West Brom
Heurelho Gomes (Bra) (37) 15.02.81 2014 / Tottenham Hotspur

DEFENDERS
Miguel Britos (Uru) (33) 17.07.85 2015 / Napoli (Ita)
Craig Cathcart (NI) (29) 06.02.89 2014 / Blackpool
Kiko Femenia (Spa) (27) 02.02.91 2017 / Alaves (Spa)
Tommie Hoban (RoI) (24) 24.01.94 2009 / youth
Jose Holebas (Gre) (34) 27.06.84 2015 / Roma (Ita)
Daryl Janmaat (Hol) (29) 22.07.89 2016 / Newcastle United
Christian Kabasele (Blg) (27) 24.02.91 2016 / Genk (Blg)
Younes Kaboul (Fra) (32) 04.01.86 2016 / Sunderland
Adrian Mariappa (Jam) (31) 03.10.86 2016 / Crystal Palace
Adam Masina (Ita) (24) 02.01.94 2018 / Bologna (Ita)
Marc Navarro (Spa) (23) 02.07.95 2018 / Espanyol (Spa)
Sebastian Prodl (Aut) (31) 21.06.87 2015 / Watford
Ben Wilmot (18) 04.11.99 2018 / Stevenage
Marvin Zeegelaar (Hol) (27) 12.08.90 2017 / Sporting (Por)

MIDFIELDERS
Etienne Capoue (Fra) (30) 11.07.88 2015 / Tottenham Hotspur
Nathaniel Chalobah (23) 12.12.94 2017 / Chelsea
Tom Cleverley (28) 12.08.89 2017 / Everton
Abdoulaye Doucoure (Fra) (25) 01.01.93 2016 / Rennes (Fra)
Will Hughes (23) 17.04.95 2017 / Derby County
Dodi Lukebakio (Blg) (20) 24.09.97 2018 / Anderlecht (Blg)
Roberto Pereyra (Arg) (27) 07.01.91 2016 / Juventus (Ita)
Ken Sema (Swe) (24) 30.09.93 2018 / Ostersund (Swe)

FORWARDS
Troy Deeney (30) 29.06.88 2010 / Walsall
Gerard Deulofeu (Spa) (24) 13.03.94 2018 / Barcelona (Spa)
Andre Gray (27) 26.06.91 2017 / Burnley
Stefano Okaka (Ita) (28) 09.08.89 2016 / Anderlecht (Blg)
Adalberto Penaranda (Ven) (21) 31.05.97 2016 / Udinese (Ita)
Jerome Sinclair (21) 20.09.96 2016 / Liverpool
Isaac Success (Nga) (22) 07.01.96 2016 / Granada (Spa)

MANAGER
Javi Gracia (Spa) (48) 01.05.70 2018 / Rubin Kazan (Rus)

Javi Garcia is in control of Watford this season (Getty Images)

Watford Premier League Fixtures

Aug 11 Brighton (h) – won 2-0

Aug 18 Burnley (a)

Aug 26 Crystal Palace (h)

Sep 2 Tottenham (h)

Sep 15 Man Utd (h)

Sep 22 Fulham (a)

Sep 29 Arsenal (a)

Oct 6 Bournemouth (h)

Oct 20 Wolves (a)

Oct 27 Huddersfield (h)

Nov 3 Newcastle (a)

Nov 10 Southampton (a)

Nov 24 Liverpool (h)

Dec 1 Leicester (a)

Dec 4 Man City (h)

Dec 8 Everton (a)

Dec 15 Cardiff (h)

Dec 22 West Ham (a)

Dec 26 Chelsea (h)

Dec 29 Newcastle (h)

Jan 1 Bournemouth (a)

Jan 12 Crystal Palace (a)

Jan 29 Burnley (h)

Jan 30 Tottenham (a)

Feb 2 Brighton (a)

Feb 9 Everton (h)

Feb 23 Cardiff (a)

Feb 27 Liverpool (a)

Mar 2 Leicester (h)

Mar 9 Man City (a)

Mar 16 Southampton (h)

Mar 30 Man Utd (a)

Apr 6 Fulham (h)

Apr 13 Arsenal (h)

Apr 20 Huddersfield (a)

Apr 27 Wolves (h)

May 4 Chelsea (a)

May 12 West Ham (h)

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