Watford make Premier League return against Everton at Goodison Park
Watford will make their awaited return to Premier League action, as they travel to Goodison Park for a tough opening encounter against Roberto Martinez’s Everton, who are aiming for to bounce back from a poor last term.
Having become the darling of the blue half of Merseyside in his first season in charge, leading the Toffees to a fifth-place finish, Martinez saw his side almost dragged into a relegation scrap, but managed to secure 11th position.
The travelling Hornets are 9/2 with Coral to stun the hosts on their return to the top tier, while Martinez’s men are the odds-on 8/13 favourites to make a successful start to a hopeful campaign on Merseyside.
Having finished 11th last season and lacked any urgency in the transfer market this summer, the Toffees now face a tough task of pushing back towards the European places, after their rivals Liverpool and Spurs strengthened heavily.
Although, the return of Gerard Deulofeu has boosted the attacking ranks at Goodison Park, but Martinez has confirmed the Spaniard will struggle to be fit for their opener after picking up a hamstring injury.
Despite heated speculation surrounding his future, John Stones is set to feature in the Toffees rearguard, while Tom Cleverley is in line for his debut, but Muhamed Besic is also out injured.
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores could hand debuts to as many as five new arrivals this summer, but is likely to stick to the familiarly formidable strike partnership of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra.
Deeney struck 21 Championship goals as the Hornets gained automatic promotion last term, and he is 7/1 to open proceedings at Goodison, while Vydra is 10/3 to strike anytime.
Romelu Lukaku will want a resurgent campaign after stuttering domestically since his permanent signing on Merseyside, and the Belgium international frontman is 4/1 to bag the game’s last goal.
The last time these two sides met came in 2007, when the Toffees secured a 3-0 victory on the road, and Leon Osman wrapped up the result with a 90th minute strike. Everton’s veteran midfielder is 10/3 to net anytime again eight years after his effort at Vicarage Road.
Martinez’s hosts head into the clash as huge favourites to spoil Watford’s return party, and are unbeaten in the previous nine meetings with the Hornets, meaning the visitors have an uphill battle in their comeback clash.
Betting tip: Deeney to score first @ 7/1