Watford announced their return to the Premier League in the loudest fashion against last season’s high-flying Aston Villa team. They raced three goals ahead of their stunned visitors who looked short of ideas without the talismanic Jack Grealish who sealed a record transfer to last seasons’ champions Manchester City.
Watford's Nigerian contingent looking to compound Wolverhampton Wanderers' woes
Emmanuel Dennis, Oghenekaro Etebo & William Troost-Ekong are helping Xisco Munoz re-ignite the Hornets’ spark.
The high octane football witnessed by Premier League faithful was a far cry from the Watford teams of the past that were not so adventurous with their football.
Even though the deficit was reduced through a spirited performance by the Villans in the second half, the deed was already done. The Hornets secured the three points on the day, they also managed to impress on the neutrals that they were finally shedding the label of the dreary football Watford has been known for in the top flight.
With free-flowing, attacking football that freed flamboyant performers like the electric Ismaila Sarr, the Hornets have been reborn in Xisco Munoz's image.
Consequent consecutive losses against Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur have helped to temper expectations a bit.
However, the Vicarage Road entourage is only just starting out and already looking to achieve so much more with the aid of these Nigerian internationals who are helping Watford’s new lease of life without the influential Troy Deeney.
The Spanish manager is taking the club in a new direction with a new core, easing it off the habits of old that meant the club was overreliant on the burly Deeney’s exploits up front by himself while most of his teammates were behind the ball, trying mostly to obstruct the opposition’s path to their goal.
Xisco, speaking about the former captain's departure, said: "It is normal when you are 11 years in one club, you have many situations and everyone wants to know about you. I tell you I have big respect for Troy, it is a new era and he is a very good person.
"This is normal in football, we have to understand it can happen with anyone. Sometimes it was Zinedine Zidane, after David Beckham and now Troy.”
With new boy Emmanuel Dennis already forming a budding partnership with Sarr on the opening day, Deeney will not be missed for too long it seems.
The fixture against Wolves is going to be the perfect test for these budding partnerships.
With no point on the log yet and a managerial change that hasn’t quite borne fruit yet, Bruno Lage's team will provide a stern test for Watford when they visit and Xisco expects nothing less.
“I don’t want the people to maybe think about that they have no points; no, no, no,” the Watford head coach insisted.
“Yes, it is true they don’t have points but they have very good players, a good style and a good manager.
“They are very good in transition and we need to give 100 per cent to take the points because it is important for us to continue with the same attitude as the last games, but also important we have a little more ambition to take points.
We know we have in front a strong team and for sure it will be a good game. I think we need our fans even more for this important game. It is our second (league) game at home and we need everyone to live with passion and power from the first minute.”
With Dennis looking to be back among the goals, Peter Etebo expected to continue at the base of the midfield and William Troost-Ekong likely to continue at the heart of the defence, the Hertfordshire outfit will hope to lean on their West African spine against Lage's troops.
Xisco's team had the best home record across England's divisions last season and the Hornets will back themselves against a winless Wolves this weekend.
Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.
Follow him on Twitter @theReal_SeyE
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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