For the second summer in succession, Watford were a club in upheaval this off-season.
A new manager had been installed in the dugout just one season after Quique Sanchez Flores had taken charge of his first, and a team’s worth of new signings followed the 16 recruits acquired at the same point last term.
If all that commotion had Hornets fans worried about another slow start (the club won just two of their first nine league games under Flores), then the ceremonial release of the coming campaign’s fixtures would have been cause for sleepless nights.
Watford were due to face four of the previous season’s top seven in their first five games, plus Chelsea, who had responded to finishing 10th by installing a multi Serie A-winning manager and the key-cog of the defending champions’ midfield.
To make matters worse, the Hertfordshire club’s results in corresponding outings against Arsenal, Southampton, West Ham, Manchester United and the Blues was wince inducing.
Flores’ men took just one point from those matches and only scored two goals. However, under new man Walter Mazzarri they’ve netted in each and claimed a draw and two wins.
Those victories, coming in consecutive assignments against the Hammers and Red Devils, have seen Watford hit the back of the net on seven occasions, propelling one half of the Pozzo duopoly into ninth place in the Premier League table.
Understandably, club captain Troy Deeney was delighted with the start:
Troy Deeney: “We’ve had the toughest start of any club this season. To come out of that with 7 points is massive.” pic.twitter.com/5dbQ179NBe
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 19, 2016
As a result, a club that were amongst those favoured for relegation look like a real value play to retain their current spot among the top 10.
We go 12/5 that Mazzarri’s men finish in the top half this term and with their next five matches coming against all three promoted teams, Bournemouth and Swansea that price could crash in the near future.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.