The 2019/20 Premier League season begins on Friday, when European champions Liverpool host Norwich at Anfield. As part of our season preview, The Coaches’ Voice experts have predicted who can expect to finish where and the key tactical questions facing each team. Here, we cover those clubs we believe will finish between 12th and ninth, starting with one of last season’s most impressive teams.
Regardless of Watford again strengthening their squad and their fine record in the transfer market, it is the retention of key players that will prove crucial in their push to finish in the top 10. Abdoulaye Doucouré is often among their most influential players; his athleticism, plus his ability to support attacking moves from deep positions and cover defensive transitions with ambitious recovery runs, gives his attacking teammates greater freedom.
Should they then lose possession, he quickly detects and covers the spaces left to prevent counter-attacks. He is also aggressive when battling for possession and in the tackle, and once in possession he recognises the need to release the ball quickly to encourage attacks. Doucouré looks to play off of his first touch and, most commonly, to quickly feed the likes of Will Hughes, Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Gerard Deulofeu (above) – the latter is another key player Watford have managed to retain.
The Spaniard’s new central attacking role off Deeney added goals when Watford were confronted with a congested defensive block. His control, guile in tight spaces and shooting ability provided the penetration his team required, in contrast to the returns of Gray, Deeney and Isaac Success – all of which dropped against compact defences and in overcrowded penalty areas.
The late-window signings of free agent Danny Welbeck and Ismaila Sarr add even more attacking depth to a squad that looks ready to progress under astute head coach Javi Gracia.
Last season: 11th