Talking Point: Lineup Against Everton
Barring any radical tactical changes from the Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores, it seems the Hornets will be playing a 4-2-3-1 formation this coming season.
The new, likeable and unassuming boss has persisted with this shape and style which he has tried to tinker with at the Watford FC London Colney training ground.
There should be no real surprise that the former Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Valencia boss has decided to persevere with this formation, one that he used frequently at the aforementioned clubs.
However, the question that still lingers is what players will be deployed in this setup come August 8th at Goodison Park?
There are, in my eyes, only a few guaranteed starters (providing no injury concerns).
The heroic target man up top, Troy Deeney, is sure to start against Everton. As captain of the side he is a crucial leader in the team and has the ability to score a goal from nothing.
It is difficult to see Ben Watson challenging new signings Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami for a starting birth in the centre of midfield. He will be a useful backup but does not possess the experience, quality or presence of the French and Swiss pairing.
For Flores to come out and say "he (Jose Jurado) will be a very important player for us,' in an interview with the impressive WD Sport, indicates that the head coach will build the team around the new signing from Spartak Moscow.
Therefore, it is difficult to see the technically gifted left-sided attacking midfielder being ousted from the starting eleven.
Exciting new signing Steven Berghuis is also sure to start on the right hand side of midfield. The Dutchman will not have signed to sit on the bench and for the reported fee the Hornets cannot afford a player of his talent to play second fiddle.
I for one am looking forward to seeing him progress and express his potential on the big stage.
Finally, one of the few Championship survivors to retain his place in the side is Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. Undoubtedly he will be hard pushed to keep his side in the team by the Lithuanian Giedrius Arlauskis but there are few better shot-stoppers in the world than Gomes.
One concern from last season is Gomes` ability to gather a high ball. He`s a bit of a flapper in between the sticks which he got away with on occasion in the championship.
The ruthless Premier League will not allow for these mistakes. He`ll have to perform consistently to stay in the side.
That is it for definite starters come the opening weekend of the season. The whole of the back four, in my opinion, is up for grabs.
For all the hype surrounding the signings of Sebastian Prodl and Allan Nyom, the duo struggled against better preseason opposition in Cardiff City. Allan Nyom looked better on the ball than Paredes ever has, managing to whip in some decent crosses in the second half against the Welsh outfit.
However, the Cameroonian is a bit of a carthorse. He is very slow to turn and get off the mark and struggled to compete with the powerful presence of Cardiff City`s Sammy Ameobi.
I am frightened to find out how either Nyom or Paredes will get on against Nathan Redmond let alone Eden Hazard. Sebastian Prodl is your old fashioned centre back.
No class on the ball or technical ability is a worry, but he is good in the air and probably does the job. Saying that, the fan of technical ability that Quique Sanchez Flores is, may sway in Angella`s favour.
The Italian is radically better on the ball than the big Austrian, but may not be able to cope with some of the attacking quality of the better teams.
Any of Britos (suspended for the first two games), Prodl, Angella or Cathcart could be mainstays in the side. Out of these four, Cathcart may be the first choice. He has fantastic passing ability for a centre back and top notch defensive quality in equal measure.
Something that is absolutely vital is to keep as much of the side from last season`s promotion winning campaign in the team this season without hindering the potential quality of play at the same time.
For this reason it would be nice to see at least one of Angella or Cathcart get plenty of games in this coming campaign.
Jose Holebas is also likely to get the nod ahead of anyone else at left back, thanks to his pedigree and ability to score goals as a defender. In spite of this, it would be nice to see Miguel Layun or Daniel Pudil get a deserved run in the side.
Finally, as one of his biggest fans, it would seem incomprehensible to me to say that Almen Abdi`s place in the side is hotly contested.
Nevertheless, the central attacking midfield role in the side is arguably up for grabs. It`s such an important position in a 4-2-3-1 formation, pivotal in linking midfield and attack.
The form or just permanent class of Odion Ighalo throughout preseason has led to some thinking that the popular Nigerian could play in the role behind Deeney.
Flores is sure to be impressed by the performances of Ighalo and the fact he has done this in one of the attacking midfield three positions has definitely thrown the cat amongst the pigeons.
I can`t be the only one who thought Ighalo would not be able to recreate the form of last season in any other position other than striker (its only preseason I know). It would be a huge shame to see Ighalo sit on the bench alongside Vydra, but then Watford improve tenfold and always play better as a team when the midfield maestro 'the professor` Almen Abdi is in the side.
Rest assured there are still some very big decisions to be made for Flores and his coaching staff. They may have decided what formation Watford will play, but choosing the eleven players to deploy in the setup come August 8th is a whole new ball game.
One thing we do know is that it will be a rollercoaster ride! Why should we be surprised?, we`re Watford Football Club after all!