Meet the opposition | Watford

1st January 2021
First team
Ismaila Sarr

As Swansea City prepare to kick-off 2021 with a home fixture against Watford, we take a closer look at the Hornets.

What's their story?

Watford fell back down to the second tier of football after five Premier League seasons as a result of their 19th placed finish last term, missing out on survival by a point.

Their best season in the top-flight was under Javi Gracia in 2018-19 where the Hornets finished 11th and reached the FA Cup Final, ultimately losing heavily to Manchester City.

They enjoyed their finest period under Graham Taylor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, climbing from the bottom tier to the top and reaching the 1984 FA Cup final.

How's their form?

Ben Wilmot

The Hornets have been among the Championship pacesetters from the very off, as predicted by many having retained a strong, experienced squad following relegation.

At the time of writing they have lost just two of their last 10 league games, with those defeats coming against Cardiff and Huddersfield.

They also beat leaders Norwich in Xisco Munoz’s first game at the helm.

Who's the boss?

Xisco Munoz

Xisco Munoz. Spaniard Munoz was appointed Watford boss earlier this month as Vladimir Ivic’s brief five-month spell in charge was brought to an end by the Vicarage Road hierarchy.

The 40-year-old former Valencia, Real Betis, Levante and Dinamo Tbilisi winger retired from playing in 2016 and held a number of assistant manager roles before taking charge of Tbilisi earlier this year, and now finds himself trying to return the Hornets to the Premier League.

Who's the captain?

Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney. Striker Deeney is the man with the armband, and has been skipper since the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign where his 21 goals helped guide the Hornets to Championship promotion.

Deeney has donned the Watford jersey 395 times in league action, in turn netting 129 goals, the most famous of which was the injury-time winner against Leicester City in the Championship play-off semi-final in 2015. He has previously played for Walsall and Halesowen Town in his senior career.

Who are the key men?

Ben Foster

Ex-Manchester United and England goalkeeper Ben Foster returned to the club in 2018 and has been an ever-present between the sticks since.

Young forward João Pedro has hit the ground running whilst Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr has underlined the threat he poses with the sort of form that saw him torment Liverpool’s defence in a 3-0 win last season.

Defender Ben Wilmot returns to the Liberty after his season long loan with the Swans, during which he wrote his name into club folklore with his winner in the South Wales Derby.