View from the Other Side: Watford looking for progression in 17/18

To get an insight into Liverpool’s first game of the 2017/18 Premier League season, Michael Mongie spoke to Watford fan Andy Lewers.

Yesterday, Philippe Coutinho submitted a formal transfer request to Liverpool via email, rocking the club to the very core.

While many supporters will go into this game with the fear of losing Coutinho on their minds, the fact of the matter is that 2017/18 Premier League season is upon us. Whether or not the Brazilian will rejoin the squad in the next three weeks remains to be seen but for now, getting results on the football pitch is more important.

I, for one, am very excited about the side that Jürgen Klopp has available to him despite Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne being absent.

A front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané is not something to be disappointed about.

To get the Watford point of view on today’s clash, I contacted Watford supporter Andy Lewers and posed several questions to him.

Do you think Marco Silva will help Watford avoid relegation this season?

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In a word: yes. A lot of opposition fans and pundits are naturally tipping Watford for the drop which we’re more than used to now and it’s fair enough given our woeful end to the last campaign.

Last season, however, we were hampered by injuries and the players stopped playing for Mazzarri, who’s disconnection with the supporters became more evident as the weeks went by. This year with a new manager and some excellent new additions to the squad, I’m confident of not just staying up, but for challenging for a top 10 finish.

Lazar Markovic is currently linked with a move to Watford, would you like to see this go through?

I wouldn’t say no as he adds a bit more experience to the squad, but I believe we have to prioritise buying another centre back and left back before we can focus on any other position. He was with Silva at Hull last season and so I trust Marco’s faith in him if he does come.

Each team has an unsung hero that other club’s fans don’t appreciate. Most would look to Troy Deeney as your talisman but which other Hornets player would be considered?

Central defender Sebastian Prödl was our Player of the Season last year. A gentle Austrian giant with one of the best man-buns in the league.

He kept Ronaldo at bay during the Euros and had Ibrahimovic in his pocket during our home fixture against United last season.

He’s one of the most reliable players on the pitch and one of the first names on the team sheet along with Deeney and Gomes.

Will Hughes has been linked with a Liverpool move repeatedly in the past, what have you made of him in pre-season?

He’s been excellent thus far. We played Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago in a rather dull affair until he came on.

He seems to always be thinking about his next move and is aware of his surroundings. There’s no doubt he’ll need time to bed himself into the Premier League, but once he does, I’d recommend keeping an eye on him. He and Chalobah in the middle could work well.

We have been blessed with a pair of fantastic Brazilian forwards in the past two years, now you have one of your own, what are fans expecting to see from Richarlison?

The Pozzos have a knack for finding obscure talent from all over the world and Richarlison is no different. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of him before he arrived at Vicarage Road but if the comments from Fluminense fans on Twitter are to be believed, then we can expect a pacey winger who knows where the goal is. Exciting!

Do you think Watford will be prioritising the cup competitions this season?

If we start the season well then I think we’ll give the FA Cup a really good go. If we’re struggling by Christmas I can’t imagine it will be high up on the priorities list. In terms of the Carabao Cup, Watford have a habit of losing the first game to lower league opposition, so stick a few quid on Bristol City to cause an upset.

All matches are worth 3 points, but some feel bigger than others. Which Premier League team do Watford fans want to beat more than any other?

Perhaps it’s my own personal vendetta but I’d have to say Crystal Palace. We’re two very evenly matched sides who have a history of some pretty feisty matches (sadly it’s the South Londoners who have the better record!). There’s always a good atmosphere at our games so it’s always a good feeling to come out on top against them.

What are your predictions for Saturday, and what do you hope to get out of the opening 3 games of the season (after playing Liverpool, Bournemouth and Brighton)?

As the week has gone on, I’ve felt myself become more and more optimistic. No Sturridge, Lallana or Coutinho and Watford addressing their need for some firepower with Richarlison and Andre Gray coming in means I think we could just about snatch a win.

I’m going for a nerve-wracking 2-1 to the ‘Orns! From the first three games, I’d be ecstatic with 6 points but happy with 4. I think that’s realistic.

12 months down the line, what would you constitute as a successful season?

A top half finish would be excellent and I think that should be the aim for us this season, but 12th or above with a cup run and I’d be more than happy with that. After last season’s dismal collapse I just want to enjoy watching Watford play football again.

Thanks Andy for your input on this article! Give him a follow on Twitter by following @hornetsnestwfc or his personal account @AndyLewers.

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