IN FOCUS: Watford FC

By SFC Media time Mon 29 Jun Club

We continue our look at the three new teams Ronald Koeman’s side will face next season with the lowdown on Watford.

Despite four different head coaches during the 2014/15 campaign, the Hornets sealed their return to the Premier League after an eight-year absence.

Watford were relegated from the top flight in 2007, but after going close two seasons ago when they lost in the Championship Play-off final, the club earned their place back in the Premier League thanks to a second-placed finish last season.

Slaviša Jokanović was the man to guide the club to promotion, with Beppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia and Billy McKinlay also playing their part in the Hornets’ successful campaign.

But Jokanović won’t be leading the club in the Premier League next season having left at the end of the campaign to be replaced by Spaniard Quique Sanchez Flores.

The former Valencia and Real Madrid defender, who had a spell as manager of Getafe last season, was the man Saints boss Ronald Koeman replaced when he joined Valencia in November 2007.

Flores has seen two new arrivals since signing for the club with Lithuanian goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis and Austrian defender Sebastian Prodl making the move to Vicarage Road.

Spanish defender Juanfran will also join the club in July having agreed a deal with the Hornets last summer before spending a season on loan at Deportivo La Coruna.

Saints will take on the Hornets on Saturday 22nd August at Vicarage Road before the reverse fixture takes place on Wednesday 13th January at St Mary’s.

The two clubs have spent just one season together in the Premier League. The 1999/00 campaign saw Watford win 3-2 at Vicarage Road before Saints won 2-0 at The Dell thanks to goals from Kevin Davies and Marian Pahars.

The last time the two sides met was in February 2012, with Saints producing an excellent performance on the road to seal a 3-0 win with a hat-trick from Rickie Lambert.

Lambert also scored two in the last meeting at St Mary’s, with Guly do Prado and Lee Holmes also scoring in a comfortable 4-0 Championship win.

Overall, Saints have won 32 of the previous meetings between the two, with Watford winning 25 and the two clubs playing out 17 draws.

Watford captain Troy Deeney will be the man they hope can fire them to safety this season. The 27 year-old has been with the club since 2010 and scored 21 goals in 43 appearances last season.

Their campaign begins with a trip to Everton on the opening day and ends with a home game against Sunderland next May.

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