Simon Mail previews the Premier League opener at Vicarage Road and thinks Watford and Brighton could cancel each other out...
"Watford were held at home to Brighton last season and a repeat looks likely. The Hornets drew six games at Vicarage Road in the last campaign while their opponents were held in 13 games."
Watford v Brighton
Hornets look short of firepower
Every season Watford are tipped for relegation and each year the club prove the doubters wrong by staying up. But will that still be the case this time? Sooner or later the Hornets are going to get it wrong and if the club fail to make a promising start to the season you fear for them with their history of falling away after Christmas.
Javi Gracia has kept his job as head coach after guiding the club to safety last season and the Spaniard will be delighted to have held on to Abdoulaye Doucoure after the powerful French midfielder agreed a new contract at Vicarage Road. The sale of Richarlison to Everton, for a potential figure rising to £50m, looks outstanding business by Watford.
On the other hand, the club look short in attacking areas despite the permanent signing of Gerard Deulofeu with the form of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray bound to be a concern.
Busy summer of transfer activity for Brighton
Chris Hughton did an excellent job last season as he kept Brighton in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship. The club's home form was the key to their survival with Brighton winning seven matches and only losing four games. Finishing 15th was a strong result although the Seagulls are taking nothing for granted heading into the new campaign.
Brighton have strengthened their squad with the club record signing of highly-rated Iran forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh. The Seagulls have also signed midfielder Yves Bissouma, striker Florin Andone and defenders Bernardo and Leon Balogun as they add more depth to their group.
Watford are [2.44] favourites for this weekend's opener but that looks short enough and an easy one to swerve. The Hornets failed to beat Brighton last season in their two meetings and Watford simply do not look in a stronger position than last year. Gracia's side won one of their last nine matches in the league and certainly do not bring much momentum into this season.
Brighton are [3.45] outsiders for this match but their poor away record is enough to avoid backing them. Hughton's side only won two games on the road last season so this needs to be improved. Their new players may also need time to settle into English football so an away win doesn't appeal.
The draw is on offer at [3.25] and this looks the best bet in the market. Watford were held at home to Brighton last season and a repeat looks likely. The Hornets drew six games at Vicarage Road in the last campaign while their opponents were held in 13 games. This could be a cagey opener and it would be no surprise if the teams cancelled each other out.
Only one goal was scored in the two games between the sides last season with Brighton edging to a 1-0 home victory in December. Watford look short of goals in attack while their opponents only managed 34 goals in 38 matches.
Using Betfair's new Same Game Multi option, it could be worth doubling up the draw and under 2.5 goals which inflates the odds to 3.55.
Brighton kept a clean sheet in both of their meetings with Watford last season. The only side they've kept three consecutive shutouts against in the top-flight are Wolves.
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