Sunday, 26 July 2015

Inside the Hornets' Nest (Guest Post)

Watford won promotion to the Premier League after clinching second place in the Championship last season. If they are to have any chance of avoiding the same fate as Aidy Boothroyd's team of '06-'07, they will have to score goals and rack up a few clean sheets. This article will examine their squad highlighting their best FPL prospects as I did for Bournemouth and Norwich.

WARNING: (Do) Approach (but) with caution!

First 8 PL games:

August

Everton (A)

West Brom (H)

Southampton (H)

Man City (A)

September

Swansea (H)

Newcastle (A)

Crystal Palace (H)

October

Bournemouth (A)

After a glance over these fixtures, especially the home games, it should be blatantly obvious that Watford players are well worth considering for your Gameweek 1 squad.

Goalkeepers

Heurelho Gomes 4.5
Probably best known for his blunder filled stint as Spurs' number one. Gomes kept 15 clean sheets last season which roughly translates as one every three games. However he still conceded 50 goals! Nailed on starter but I think there are better options in the league.


Giedrius Arlauskis 4.5
If you were playing "Premier League Player Name Scrabble", I would I highly recommend him, but we're not. In FPL terms, he is not worth selection. He has one competitive appearance for Watford (ever!) and the Lithuanian's price is 0.5 higher than many other sub keepers so he isn't even a viable placeholder.


Verdict:
Give them both a skip.


Defenders

Gabriele Angella 4.5
The Italian centre back has a fantastic attacking record for the Hornets, netting 11 and assisting a further 7 in 81 appearances. That works out as a goal or assist every 4.5 games. If he could maintain these returns in the Premier League he would be value for money.


José Holebas 4.5
This guy is one of the main reasons I wanted to write this article. Every time I see him mentioned in FPL circles, it's because someone has been overly simplistic and believes he is an out and out attacker that will get a steady stream of goals and assists. I'm here to burst this bubble. Most of the career goals and assists the left back got came in his stints in the Greek Premier League and the South Region German League. His time in Europe's marquee leagues have been far less fruitful. Don't be gullible and fall for skewed stats!


Miguel Britos 4.5
New 6ft 2' signing in from Napoli. He is unlikely to score much, as demonstrated by his meagre 3 goals in 99 games in Naples.


Sebastian Prödl 4.5
Another of Watford's 9(!) summer signings. The Austrian appeared 22 times for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga last season. Doesn't come with much attacking potential so not the best option in this line up.


Craig Cathcart 4.5
The former Man Utd defender comes with little enticement. New signings mean he is expected to lose his spot in the first XI.


Miguel Layún 4.5
Media and fan reports alike say that the Mexican was poor last season in the Championship. His position in defence may well be at risk because of this. He can play OOP (out of position) in midfield so he could be deployed here. His attacking potential is questionable wherever he plays anyhow.


Juan Carlos Paredes 4.5
Capped 52 times for Ecuador and Watford's main right back last season where he managed no goals and 4 assists in 39 games. New signing of Nyom may hamper his chances of starting.


Allan Nyom 4.5
New signing from Spanish club Granada. He wasn't lethal in attack getting only 1 goal and 1 assist in 34 matches. I can't be certain if he will get the nod ahead of Paredes and frankly, he isn't worth choosing even if he does.


Ekstrand/Pudil/Hoban/Doyley
New signings and limited ability mean these lads won't feature much this season.


Verdict
Rumours are circulating about Quique Flores' plan for Watford's defence. These are mostly centred on whether 2 or 3 Centre backs will be deployed. Angella sticks out as by far and away the most attractive option of all. He has legitimate attacking potential to build on any defensive returns the Hornets manage to get.


Midfielders

Almen Abdi 5.0
If you visit a Watford fan website, you'll leave with the impression that Abdi is the best thing since slice bread! All jokes aside, Abdi is the creative mastermind who makes Watford tick. In 93 games, he has got 23 goals and 14 assists. He is made even more viable by the fact that he is on free kick and corner duty. Fear not, he won't be leaving Vicarage Road any time soon. He just signed a new 3 year contract.


José Manuel Jurado 5.5
The joint most expensive Watford player in this year's FPL. To say his career path is extraordinary would be an understatement. A product of Real Madrid, he transferred and was a success with arch rivals Atlético. Eventually he was snapped up by Schalke before moving further east to Spartak Moscow. After all that extravagance, he has just arrived at Vicarage Road to be the subject of my writing! The Spaniard certainly has the potential to be an FPL gem if he adapts to the style of English football. To illustrate his attacking ability, I'll show you his career stats: Played 321 Goals 45 assists 43. Jurado will play on the wing or as an attacking midfielder and could be this year's Michu. The only issue is the word "could". Nobody can be sure if he will succeed so I'm going to hold off for a while before bringing him in.


Étienne Capoue 5.0
Defensively minded signing from Spurs. He will be a great signing for Watford to solidify the centre of the park but won't be a good FPL points magnet.


Ben Watson 4.5
No goals all last season. Seems to be in line to be dropped to the bench to make way for new arrivals. Avoid.


Ikechi Anya 4.5
A lot of people are looking at the cheap and pacey Scotsman as a viable option to fill their 5th midfield spot. I must warn you, he has no final ball and will be an impact sub at best. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).


Valon Behrami 4.5
Like Capoue, a defensive midfielder who will rarely provide assists or threaten an opponents goal. His attacking record for his last two clubs, Napoli and Hamburg, is testament to this. 0 goals and 0 assists in 93 games!!!


Tözsér/Fabbrini/Dyer/McGugan/Murray
None of these will figure much this season unless an injury crisis or major change occurs. Maybe they would get a chance if results went south. Nevertheless, don't pick them. Tözsér is in this list because he has announced he is leaving the club. He would have been a good choice and may well be for a different team.


Verdict
Abdi and Jurado look like exciting differentials. Both have proven themselves as able attackers in different leagues, especially Jurado whose record in La Liga was very impressive (P126 G19 A17), granted that was years ago. There are risks attached to both, but isn't there always?


Forwards

Troy Deeney 5.5
The striker's scoring record has been well advertised online recently. If you somehow didn't hear it, he got at least 20 goals every season for the past 3 seasons. The captain is 100% guaranteed to start if he is fit. To add more reasons to get him, Deeney also takes penalties and got 10 assists on top of his 21 goals in 42 games last season. If Watford are to survive in the Premier League, they will certainly need Troy Deeney firing on all cylinders.


Odion Ighalo 5.0
He has done so well in pre-season games against lesser opposition that he has crept onto the FPL radars of many managers. Certainly worth considering him if you only have 5.0 to spend on a bargain basement 3rd striker. I'll stick a warning tag on him though. He didn't always start for the Hornets last season. He often acted as an effective impact sub. Watford will need to play defensively to  get through the majority of their matches next year so I wouldn't be surprised if Ighalo was sacrificed for a fifth defender or midfielder.


Matej Vydra 5.0
If Vydra lived up to the record of his virtual double on my football manager save, I would be shouting from the rooftops promoting him. However he hasn't reached those lofty heights in his career yet and will be no better than a rotation option when the curtain is raised on Gameweek 1.


Fernando Forestieri 4.5
4th choice striker who won't get game time unless Watford's strikers have an injury crisis. Not a good option.


Verdict
Deeney has an uncanny resemblance to Charlie Austin before last season began. He could very well make it to those heady heights, it's impossible to tell. When you're dealing with his price range, Wilson of Bournemouth is the comparable choice. Choosing the correct one could make or break your early season points haul! Ighalo looks like a great option if you only have 5.0, but I can't comprehend people wasting a precious striker spot on someone you can't be sure will play.


Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to contact me, you'll find me on Twitter: @FPLStag