Watford fought hard to retain their Premier League status for a third season in 2016-17 but their campaign ultimately had a disappointing conclusion. With another new manager at the helm, what does the 2017-1 season hold for this ambitious club?
The 2016-17 season saw Watford spend most of their time in mid-table though they were never able to put together any consistent form. Victories over Manchester United and Arsenal were highlights but they also endured a spell of seven game without a win in December and finished the season with six consecutive defeats, which dropped them from tenth to seventeenth in the table, though they were never in serious relegation danger.
Although Watford spent most of the last season in the mid-table region, bookmakers appear to have drawn their conclusions from the way that the Hornets finished the campaign and are pricing them up among the relegation candidates. They are best-priced at 1500/1 with BetFred to win the Premier League, and are generally the fourth favourites in the relegation market, for which BetVictor make them a 2/1 chance.
If you think they will survive in the Premier League, you can back them at 8/15 to stay up with Ladbrokes and the more optimistic Watford fans can back them at 8/1 to finish in the top half with Paddy Power and 90/1 with the same company to break into the top six. On the other hand, if you think it might all go wrong for new manager Marco Silva, you can back him at 10/1 with SkyBet in the First Manager to Leave their Post market.
What do punters think?
The influx of players at Vicarage Road during the summer appears to have given punters confidence that the Hornets will be able to stave off relegation this season. According to a well-known odds comparison site, just four percent of the bets in the relegation market this summer have been on Watford.
Although punters are slightly sceptical of Marco Silva’s abilities, with sixteen percent of the bets in the First Manager to Leave their Post market having been placed on the Portuguese coach, they are taking an optimistic view of the team’s chances, with Watford accounting for fourteen percent of bets in the Top Half Finish market.
Although there have been a number of new arrivals at the club, it is likely that Watford will once again depend heavily on stalwart Troy Deeney to lead the line. The former Walsall player is the club’s best hope in the Premier League Top Goalscorer market, where he can be backed at 150/1 with SkyBet.
Among the new faces, the Chelsea and England Under-21 star Nathaniel Chalobah is a particularly interesting signing. Regarded as one of English football’s best young prospects, he is a 66/1 chance with Bet Victor to be named as Premier League Young Player of the Year.
Watford have already been busy in the transfer market this summer. Eight players have left the club and seven have arrived, including Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea, Tom Cleverley from Everton and Derby County’s Will Hughes.
They were also in the running for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Helda Costa, but he is now no more than a 14/1 shot with Bet Victor to move to Vicarage Road, and while one or two more players may be added before the transfer window closes, it seems the bulk of their transfer business is done.