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Watford

How far can Marco Silva’s Watford side go in the Premier League?

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Watford

When the 2016-17 Premier League season began last month, there wouldn’t have been many people that would have been considering Watford’s prospects and aims for the next nine months.

All of the pre-season talk was about potential title winners, and how top-flight debutants Brighton and Huddersfield would get on, but three weeks in and talk is beginning to grow about the Hornets.

Marco Silva’s side are one of seven sides to remain unbeaten heading into the international break, holding Liverpool to a dramatic draw at Vicarage Road on the opening day before convincingly beating Bournemouth and securing a point against newly-promoted Brighton in their last time out.

It is a far cry from their woes of last season under Walter Mazzarri, where they managed just a solitary point from the opening three games which set the tone for a disappointing 17th place finish.

Silva was the man who took Hull City to the brink of survival last season, establishing an incredible run of results at the KCOM Stadium that saw them lose just two of their nine home matches during his reign, and he’s seemingly brought the same managerial nous and expansive flair to the Hornets.

However, the main work has been done in the transfer market, with the Portuguese boss putting his own stamp on a relatively poor and jumbled Watford side to ensure each position has strength in depth.

The marquee signing of Andre Gray – for a club record £18.5 million – will be the one that hits the headlines, with the 26-year-old scoring nine times and getting three assists for Burnley last season, and Gray will provide some much-needed pace and guile acting as a spear-head for Watford’s attack.

His link-up play with young Brazilian prospect Richarlison, another summer arrival in an £11 million switch, has been encouraging so far and Silva may have uncovered an excellent budding partnership.

Further back on the pitch the strong business has continued, with young England duo Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah coming in to add some midfield steel, whilst exciting and attack-minded full-backs Marvin Zeegelaar and Kiko Femenia will provide further options to their defence.

Add winger Andre Carrillo from Benfica, Tom Cleverley from Everton, and the Udinese duo of central defender Molla Wague and goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis and it was certainly a busy summer window.

However, out of all of these it’s the addition of Chalobah that was the most impressive, luring Chelsea’s extremely talented youngster and managing to snap him up for the next-to-nothing fee of £5 million.

The 22-year-old has arrived and immediately started playing with an aura of confidence about his play, roaming the midfield and breaking forward with raw pace and intent into the opposition third.

For a side that nobody really spares a thought about, Silva has his side playing a fast-paced and exciting style of football previously unseen at Vicarage Road, and it’s an intriguing time at Watford.

Their season has started in impressive fashion and with fixtures against Southampton, West Brom and Swansea to come in the next month there’s a real chance they could carry on their momentum.

As for the question of where Watford could finish?

The top half of the table will no doubt be the unequivocal aim for Silva as the season goes on, showing a vast improvement on last year, and if they carry on this vein of form it’s very do-able.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Everton

‘Judas’ – Sceptics react to Marco Silva’s appointment at Everton

Josh Kerr

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Marco Silva
Photo: Getty Images

Marco Silva has finally been announced as Everton manager.

The Portuguese boss, who became a hugely unpopular figure amongst Watford fans following his sacking from Vicarage Road last season, signed for the Toffees on a three-year contract.

The former Hornets boss spent just eight months in charge at the Hertfordshire club before his public flirtation with the Everton managerial job back in the autumn inevitably cost him his job.

Silva lost his job after a disastrous run of form which culminated in the 2-0 defeat away to Leicester City.

The former Hull manager started off as a messiah figure for Hornet’s supporters as the side sat in 5th place when Ronald Koeman was sacked by Everton.

Understandably, Silva was an attractive target for the Toffees. However, the distraction of the vacant Goodison role saw him win just one in 11 games and drastic action had to be taken.

The approach from Merseyside was quickly blamed for the breakdown of the relationship between Silva and the club’s hierarchy as well as certain players in the dressing room.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

The 40-year manager joined Watford this time last year and only managed to see out eight months of his initial two-year contract.

His debut summer window saw the Hornets as the sixth highest spenders in the league, highlighting the club’s faith in Silva as they rewarded him with the appropriate transfer funds.

However, despite being given the money and the means to do well in Hertfordshire, Silva’s hunger and drive quickly turned to distraction and eventually chaos.

Watford fans understandably will not forgive Silva for his underwhelming spell as the promising manager undergoes arguably his biggest managerial challenge to date.

Here are just some of the responses to news of the Portuguese’s Everton appointment:

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Everton

A Marco Silva reunion at Everton is exactly what goal-shy Richarlison needs

The Brazilian has struggled for form since Everton-linked Marco Silva left the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

Marco Silva has been heavily linked with the vacant Everton managerial job this week and, according to reports in the Daily Mail, the ex-Watford boss is set to hold further talks with the club in the coming days.

As a result of the Silva connections, Paddy Power’s odds suggest Everton are now the front runners to sign Watford winger Richarlison this summer.

The move could prove to be an ingenious way to revive Richarlison’s early-season brilliance under the manager who coaxed the best out of the mercurial Brazilian.

Both Richarlison and Silva enjoyed superb form when the two were together in the opening months of the 2017/18 campaign, and a reunion at Goodison Park would result in success.

The Portuguese manager steered the Hornets to an impressive start to the season that saw the club suffer just one defeat in their first eight league matches.

The Brazilian winger also hit the ground running at Vicarage Road, notching five goals and contributing three assists in his opening 12 Premier League matches.

However, the tide turned in the final months of 2017, as Richarlison scored his last league goal in November, and Silva won just one of his last 11 league matches before being sacked in January.

Richarlison clearly thrived under the management of Silva, and after the Portuguese departed the club, the winger scored and assisted a grand total of zero goals. But at only 21 years of age, the youngster has time on his side and is still adapting to English football.

Everton would do well to reconnect Marco Silva with Richarlison, and if the manager can get the best out of the Brazilian, the Toffees would attain the services of a top-class attacking talent who has many productive years in front of him.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Abdoulaye Doucoure could be the ideal successor for Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele

The France Under-21 international has enjoyed a fine season.

Josh Kerr

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Abdoulaye Doucoure
Photo: Getty Images

Watford‘s Abdoulaye Doucoure has enjoyed an impressive season at Vicarage Road and the versatile midfielder could prove to be an ideal signing for Tottenham Hotspur this summer.

According to the Mirror, Mauricio Pochettino is ready to listen to offers for the likes of Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko.

Dembele was one of the names shortlisted and has been a revelation in his six years at the club.

Many Spurs players, including Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Eric Dier stated in Soccer AM interviews that they believe the 30-year-old midfielder to be the best player at the club.

However, Dembele is one of the stars linked with a departure from the Lilywhites so a replacement for the Belgian will be a vital priority for Pochettino this summer. Doucoure could be the perfect man for the job.

The 25-year-old has been the Hornets’ stand-out player this season and has consistently demonstrated that he is capable of playing at the highest level.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Usually a holding midfielder, he is best known for his intricate array of passing in the middle of the park and his ability to break up play.

These traits match the qualities Dembele possesses and, therefore, he would prove a smart signing for Spurs.

The Frenchman also boasts an impressive tally in front of goal with seven goals and four assists in the league this season.

According to The Sun, Doucoure has been a previous target for Spurs, and the potential departure of Dembele gives Pochettino a greater incentive to find a replacement for the Belgium midfielder.

The France Under-21 international has two years remaining on his contract at Vicarage Road and is valued at £40 million.

The midfielder has been a goalscoring threat in a Watford side that has struggled to find consistency all season.

A move to one of the top-six would allow Doucoure to take his qualities to the next level and should definitely be a name the Lilywhites are monitoring over the summer period.

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