While the top three in the Premier League has a familiar feel about it, Watford fans will be bouncing to see their side holding fourth place.
The Hornets are one of four sides to have won their opening three games (the others being Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.)
It’s a fine start by Javi Gracia’s men, who are 7/4 to a top-half finish this season. And there are a number of reasons why the Hornets can enjoy the good times for a while yet…
Squad remains largely unchanged
Despite all the coming and goings in the Premier League across the summer, Watford enjoyed relative stability.
Richarlison was the only player to leave who was a regular last season. The Hertfordshire outfit have brought in Ken Sema and Gerard Deulofeu as replacements.
It means Gracia doesn’t have to tinker much with the squad. The Spaniard joined in January and now has a solid grasp on his strongest XI.
And right through the spine the Watford boss can call upon quality and experience. Ben Foster and Heurelho Gomes offer an excellent pair of options between the sticks.
Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure are forming an excellent midfield bond, while Andre Gray and Troy Deeney offer defenders no respite in attack. Roberto Pereyra and Will Hughes bring quality on the flanks.
Gracia has a number of players to come back from injury too, including Deulofeu, Tom Cleverley, Stefano Okaka and the impressive Nathaniel Chalobah.
Learn from last season
This isn’t the first time Watford have started a campaign brightly. They did so last season under Marco Silva.
Watford sat fourth after eight games, before the Portuguese boss was courted by Everton. Knowing the manager was looking elsewhere, the Hornets completely lost their way.
They hinted at their potential last season and are doing so again this term. But the difference is that Gracia seems settled and ready to stick around. He and Watford can build on last season’s lessons – and their talent.
No fear versus the top six
After maximising a generous set of fixtures to start the campaign against Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley and Crystal Palace, Watford host Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in their next two games.
On paper those fixtures could threaten to derail the club’s bright start. But the Hornets have shown a real knack for stinging the top six at Vicarage Road.
In the last two seasons they have beaten Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea at home, while collecting draws versus Liverpool and Spurs.
Watford have already shown a cutting edge versus the sides around them this season. If they can continue a trend for taking points off the top six too, then Gracia’s men could be in business.
There’s 9/1 about Watford finishing best of the rest in the Betting W/O the Big 6 market. The early signs suggest the Hornets could come good on that price.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication