Following an 11th placed finish in the Premier League last season, few would have predicted that Watford would be rooted to the foot of the table after eight games of the new season.

Having picked up a measly three points so far, they are four points behind Southampton, who currently sit in 17th place. As a result of the club’s poor start to the season, Javi Gracia lost his job and was replaced with Quique Sanchez Flores, arriving for his second stint at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets brought in a number of new faces to bolster the squad over the summer, but…well, look at the league table. Here’s the early impressions they’ve left. 


Craig Dawson

Lys Mousset,Craig Dawson

​Watford brought in the experienced Craig Dawson in the summer in the hope that he could guide the team to a greater number of clean sheets. The 29-year-old has featured in all eight matches for the Hornets this season, but he has been unable to shore up the defence. 

Flores’ men have the second worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 20 goals already this term. Dawson was part of the team that was humiliated 8-0 by Manchester City, and as a result, the manager has felt the need to experiment with his backline. This saw the new recruit dropped to the substitutes bench for the recent game against Sheffield United, although he did eventually come on.

It’s fair to say that it hasn’t been the kind of start Dawson would have been hoping for at his new home. 

Grade: D


Tom Dele-Bashiru

Dele-Bashiru joined from champions ​Manchester City in the summer, having made just the solitary appearance for the Sky Blues in the Carabao Cup. 

Since his move, he has appeared once for the Hornets, in a Carabao Cup win over Coventry City. The 19-year-old came on to play just under 20 minutes and was composed in his work, looking to play forward at any opportunity.

City fans were sad to see him leave, but many alluded to the fact that Watford would be a good place for him as he will get game-time. He is a player with plenty of promise, and he should get plenty more minutes this season, especially with the current crop failing to make many positive contributions.

Grade: C+


Ismaila Sarr

Ismaila Sarr,Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Some pundits claimed that Sarr was one of the signings of the summer back when he put pen to paper at Vicarage Road, with plenty of excitement over what he could bring to the team, and how he could link up with the likes of Gerard Deulofeu. 

However, the 21-year-old has failed to score or assist in any of the five league matches he has featured in. Sarr has opened his account in the Carabao Cup, scoring in the win over Coventry, but that is as good as it’s got for the Senegalese.

His international teammate Sadio Mane has been quick to defend him though, and ​has claimed that defences should be scared of him. However with the Hornets at risk of being cut adrift at the bottom of the league, Sarr needs to find the form that earned him a move to the Premier League in order to help his side climb out of the bottom three.

Grade: C-


Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck

When ​Arsenal decided not to renew Welbeck’s contract, many wondered where he would end up. Watford were the team to secure his services, but his early time at the club was once again interrupted by injuries.

The club knew they were taking a risk on the Englishman, but the hope was that he would be able to stay fit for long enough that he would be able to make a positive contribution to the team.

As it has panned out thus far, Welbeck has yet to score in the league in the four matches he has played. Nonetheless, he did score in the Carabao Cup win over Swansea City and fans will be hoping this will have a positive impact on him moving forward.

Grade: D



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