Watford FC start their first match of the Premier League since 2007 on Saturday against Everton. The last time they met was August of 2006 also at Goodison Park, and Everton prevailed 2-1.
For Everton, Gerard Deulofeu, Steven Pienaar, and Aiden McGeady will be out for this match all with hamstring injuries. John Stones and Kevin Mirallas picked up foot/ankle knocks recently but should be fine to return for the premiere of the Premier League.
Almen Abdi still has a knee knock but may able to play for the Hornets with strict monitoring. Flores has an arsenal of new players and could field many new ones, so injuries will not deter him from wanting a win.
Everton’s pre-season featured 3 wins, a draw against Stoke City, and 3 losses, 2 of which came most recently against Leeds United (0-2) and Villarreal (1-2). Roberto Martinez will look to reverse that trend and start the season off with a win. The Toffees have conceded a whopping 35 goals on opening weekend, which is more than any other team so this first match is important to slow the trend.
Everton will face the previous season’s top 7 in their first 10 matches which is obviously a huge challenge. Martinez said of it, “The fixture list hasn’t been too kind to us but we are ready to face a strong challenge. Last season we wanted to win games early on but we never got that momentum. The experiences of last season will help us immensely”. As long as their momentum picks up, starting with what should be an easier match against Watford, they should be alright.
Watford’s pre-season included 4 wins, a draw, and similar to Everton, 2 losses that came recently against Cardiff City (1-2) and Sevilla (0-1). Brand-new coach Quique Sanchez Flores who arrived in June has confidence that his players can turn it around.
Flores is adamant about his players responding, saying, “It is important they try and give their best for the first match on Saturday. I am very happy to lead these players into the Premier League and it will be interesting to see what the response of the team is”. He cannot do it all for the team, of course, so he really hopes they can put in the effort.
This match features 2 Spanish coaches. One, Martinez, has done quite well coaching in England since 2007 in stints with Swansea City and Wigan, and now with Everton. The other, Flores, has never coached in England before and has very few English players on his team. It will be hard to adjust, but in this league, no one knows what may happen as long as each team gives maximum effort.
Date: Saturday 8th August 2015
Venue: Goodison Park
Referee: Mike Jones
Everton: Howard; Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas, Osman, Barkley; Lukaku
Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Cathcard, Prodl, Pudil; Capoue, Behrami; Igahalo, Jurado, Vydra; Deeney
Author Prediction: Everton 2-1 Watford