The Premier League begins on Friday 9th August but the bulk of the games are taking place on Saturday 10th August. One of which is being played at Vicarage Road as Watford host Brighton and Hove Albion.
Both teams will see this match as an opportunity to make a strong start to the new season but Watford will know this is a game they must be winning if they want to finish inside the top ten this season.
The Hornets have enjoyed an encouraging preseason which has seen them win each of their last three matches. They have defeated Bayer Leverkusen, Queens Park Rangers and Real Sociedad in friendly games, all by a single goal. So, while Watford have not been convincing, they have got the job done.
However, trends show Watford did not end last season well and they lost each of their final three Premier League games. Two of the defeats were at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United plus away to Chelsea. In fact, Watford won just one of their last six Premier League matches and will want to put that run behind them quickly.
Watford have failed to win their last four home Premier League games, losing three and drawing one. Both teams have scored in five of their last six at Vicarage Road and Watford won this fixture 2-0 last season, which coincidentally was also on the first weekend of the campaign.
Brighton have played five matches in preseason, winning four and losing one. They have defeated Liefering, Crawley Town, Birmingham City and Valencia, the latter of which was a 2-1 home win. However, whatever Brighton have done in preseason, they need to return to winning ways in the Premier League following a disastrous end to last season.
Trends show Brighton have won just three of their last twenty-three Premier League games. They have failed to win any of their last nine, losing six of them. Away from home, Brighton have won only one of their last eleven league matches and have failed to score a goal in three of the last four.
Defensively they have struggled for clean sheets away from home in the Premier League and Brighton have kept just one in their last fourteen matches.
Looking ahead to the team news and this game may have come too early for new signing Danny Welbeck to be involved for Watford. However, with doubts over the fitness of Gerard Deulofeu, he could be called into action immediately.
Brighton have concerns over the fitness of three players and Ezequiel Schelotto, Yves Bissouma and Jose Izquierdo are rated as doubtful. Leandro Trossard, Neal Maupay and Adam Webster could all make their Premier League debut for Brighton.
Watford will see this as the perfect opportunity to begin the new season with a win. They are facing a team who struggled last season and the Hornets could come out on top and keep a clean sheet.