Newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion will be looking to earn their first ever Premier League points when they take the trip to Vicarage Road to face a spirited Watford on Saturday afternoon.
It’s certainly been a shock to the system for the Seagulls since their promotion from the Championship last season, losing both of their opening two matches and failing to score on each occasion.
And up against a rejuvenated Watford side under Marco Silva they face another stern examination of their top-flight credentials, with the Hornets looking to continue their unbeaten start to the year.
Watford have started the campaign in fine form after a disappointing season last time out, impressing in their draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend before beating Bournemouth.
Their momentum stalled slightly in midweek though following a 3-2 Carabao Cup defeat to Championship side Bristol City – despite a weakened team – and they will look to get three points.
On the other side, it’s been a huge baptism of fire in the Premier League for Brighton in their opening two matches, failing to find the net – and only creating four chances – in 180 minutes.
Nobody expected them to defeat a strong Manchester City side but the tepid manner of their Leicester City loss will worry Chris Hughton ahead of a long battle for survival come the end of May.
Yet a much-needed victory over League Two’s Barnet in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening will raise spirits around the Amex, and Brighton will be confident of getting a result from Vicarage Road.
With Jose Holebas and Daryl Janmaat still ruled out Marco Silva’s side are in the midst of a small defensive crisis, with squad player Christian Kabasele likely to be given the make-shift left-back role.
Nathaniel Chalobah will continue his driving midfield role following his first call-up to the international senior side on Thursday, whilst Andre Gray and Richarlison are expected to start after stand-out displays.
For the visitors, new club record signing Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge could be in line for a starting berth at Vicarage Road, slotting in to his favoured left-wing spot to support Glen Murray.
Izzy Brown is unlikely to be ready until the West Brom game whilst Anthony Knockaert is moving ever closer to full match fitness and is likely to feature from the substitute bench during the second-half.
Match Prediction: Watford 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton will no doubt want to get rid of any early season jitters and nerves and register their first points on the board as early as possible, and against an inconsistent Watford they could do just that.
The arrival of Izquierdo will no doubt provide a big boost and provide some much needed attacking impetus, but it’s whether the team as whole can rise to the challenge and cause the hosts problems.
But Marco Silva has already done some stellar work with his side in the short time that he’s been manager and, despite his defensive crisis, Watford’s attackers should have too much for Brighton.