Watford 0-3 Brighton
Goals: Florin Andone (£5.0m), Neal Maupay (£6.0m)
Own Goals: Abdoulaye Doucouré (£6.0m)
Assists: Pascal Groß (£6.5m), Davy Pröpper (£5.0m), Lewis Dunk (£4.5m)
Bonus Points: Dunk, Mat Ryan x2 (£4.5m), Andone x1, Maupay x1
Brighton made the perfect start to life under Graham Potter as they humbled Watford 3-0 on their own patch.
The Seagulls had been something of an unknown quantity coming into the 2019/20 season but were comfortable winners at Vicarage Road.
The nature of the result has triggered interest in Brighton assets for Gameweek 2 as West Ham come to the Amex Stadium, but it might be sensible to watch them one more week before deeming Potter’s arrival in Sussex a complete success.
As much his new-look side was in good shape, they faced a Watford outfit that did not look ready for the new season at all. We were aided in our assessment of Javi Gracia’s side by Watford fan and FFScout user James Moseley this weekend.
The Hornets did not offer much going forward and displayed little to no intensity for much of the game.
Troy Deeney (£6.5m), deployed as the target man to Andre Gray (£6.0m) running behind in a front two, did not do a particularly good job of holding the ball up, and much of Watford’s approach play was nothing more than sideways passes.
For some reason, Gerard Deulofeu (£6.5m), reclassified as a forward in FPL for 2019/20 was stationed on the left-wing of midfield in the 4-2-2 formation, which caused no end of problems for Watford.
The Spaniard refused to track back and left Jose Holebas (£5.0m) exposed to a Brighton double-up on more than one occasion.
As expected, Potter had gone with the wing-back system for Brighton, so both Pascal Groß (£6.5m) and Martín Montoya (£4.5m) found it too easy to get the better of the Greek.
It was from this side of the pitch that the opening goal originated. Groß was unmarked on the right, allowing him the space to play a ball across the penalty box forcing the own goal off an unfortunate Abdoulaye Doucouré (£6.0m).
The move itself had started as Craig Dawson (£5.0m), making his Premier League debut for Watford, had given the ball away cheaply.
Eventually, Deulofeu’s inability to fulfil his role, either offensively or defensively led to Javi Gracia replacing him for tactical reasons, Roberto Pereyra (£6.0m) coming on at
Watford still had issues down their left though, as Pereyra offered little support to Holebas. Groß and Montoya combined well again freeing Davy Pröpper (£5.0m) to cross for Florin Andone (£5.0m) to score at the near post.
The third goal was also far too easy for Brighton to score. Substitute Neal Maupay (£6.0m) beat the offside trap as Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) was able to slide a ball through all the way from his centre-back position.
The former Brentford forward only had to round Ben Foster (£5.0m) to slot home his first-ever Premier League goal.
While the focus may well be on Brighton’s players after this match, the most concrete Fantasy takeaway for Gameweek 2 will be in connection with Everton.
Watford’s poor performance bodes very well for anyone in possession of Toffees assets ahead of Watford’s trip to Goodison Park in Gameweek 2.
“Many things [went wrong], not only one. We need to improve and maybe this is a good wake-up call for the rest of the season. The best news is that it’s the first game and we have a lot of time to improve. Today there were no excuses. They played better than us, they deserve the three points and they got the result they deserved.” – Javi Gracia
While Brighton’s win was as much about how poor Watford
Firstly, Fantasy managers were given an earlier than was expected taste of ‘Potter Roulette’ when the team news filtered through.
Despite playing in both of the last two matches of pre-season in an unchanged line-up, new signing Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) was left on the Brighton bench.
He was replaced in the starting line-up by Groß, disappointing those who had opted for the midfielder for Gameweek 1.
Potter admitted after the match that Trossard had been unlucky not to start the match, the manager revealing he had opted to include more Premier League experience in his starting line-up given opening weekend took them on their travels.
“Leo was unlucky not to start. We went for Pascal’s experience on the opening day and an away fixture in the Premier League.” – Graham Potter
For this reason, those in possession of Trossard are probably best advised to hold on to him for the Gameweek 2 visit of West Ham. Potter clearly wants to use him this season given how extensively he was involved in pre-season and a home match against the Hammers is probably an easier environment for him to make his Premier League debut in.
It was this thinking that explained why fellow recruits, Aaron Mooy (£5.0m), Adam Webster (£4.5m) and Maupay were also on the bench, although, of course, the latter came on to get a top-flight goal on his debut.
“The other three only just arrived this week. I don’t think it would have been fair for them or the group to throw them into this testing environment. They are here for the long term, all of those guys. The key is to use them at the right time and not just throw them in.” – Graham Potter
Outside of that, Brighton were lined up much as we expected, Groß the only change from the last friendly of the summer.
Glenn Murray (£6.0m) was played through the middle and found himself caught in a battle with the centre-backs most of the afternoon. According to our man in the stands, he largely got the better of Craig Cathcart (£4.5m), although it must be said that the seasoned veteran now faces stiff competition for his place in Maupay and Andone.
The latter came on for Jurgen Locadia (£5.5m) who looked bright in the early stages but faded in the second half, before coming off in the 64th minute.
In defence, Shane Duffy (£5.0m) and Dunk were joined by Dan Burn (£4.5m), who impressed during pre-season.
These three assets were backed up by Mat Ryan (£4.5m) in goal who made three saves and took two bonus points on the afternoon.
However, our man in the stands did reveal that Ryan was not especially troubled by Watford. Much of their attacking play suited the strengths of the Seagulls centre-backs, with long balls over the top very easy for Dunk, Duffy and Burn to head away.
As already mentioned, while it is a good start for Brighton’s assets, the visit of West Ham next week might present more of a test for them.
For that reason, jumping in on one of the Seagulls’ options might be a bit too soon considering that even their manager thinks there was room for improvement in the trip to Watford.
“Of course we are very happy with the result and the performance. I thought all the players were fantastic. They tried their best to do what we asked them to do. We weren’t perfect, of course. I would not expect that. But it probably rewarded what we have done as a collective unit for the last few weeks.” – Graham Potter
Watford XI (4-2-2-2): Foster; Holebas, Cathcart, Dawson, Femenía; Capoue, Doucouré; Deulofeu (Pereyra 46′), Hughes; Deeney, A Gray (Success 75′).
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-3): Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Duffy; March (Bernardo 90+2′), D Stephens, Pröpper, Montoya; Locadia (Andone 64′), Murray (Maupay 64′), Groß.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea