By 90Min
August 11, 2018

Watford kicked off their Premier League campaign in perfect style with a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets were knocking at the door throughout the first half but they had to wait until Roberto Pereyra popped up with a moment of magic just 10 minutes before half time, with the Argentine volleying the ball into the top corner after a clever set piece routine.

Alex Morton/GettyImages

Pereyra then found the back of the net shortly after the break with a clever solo goal, capitalising once again on the lack of pressure that the Brighton defence put him under and firing the ball into the far corner.


The travelling Seagulls were unable to create any real opportunities in the final stages of the game despite some positive substitutions and Watford ended up cruising to all three points.


Watford

Key Talking Point

For all the flair that is on show in Javi Gracia's squad, the 48-year-old decided to set up in an old-fashioned 4-4-2 formation without any natural wingers.

That bold decision proved to be worth its weight in gold, with both Roberto Pereyra and Will Hughes impressing for the Hornets. 
Michael Regan/GettyImages

Both players, who naturally play through the middle, were happy to drift inside and drag Brighton's full backs across the pitch, something which would free up space down the flanks for either Daryl Janmaat or José Holebas to capitalise on.


Player Ratings

Foster (7) Janmaat (8) Cathcart (7) Kabasele (7) Holebas (7) Hughes (7) Doucoure (6) Capoue (6) Pereyra (9*) Gray (7) Deeney (7).

Substitutes: Success (6) Sema (N/A) Femenia (N/A)


Star Man

Few players ooze class quite like former Juventus star Roberto Pereyra. And despite often having hot and cold spells at Vicarage Road, the Argentine midfielder proved to be the difference between both sides on Saturday.

Naturally an attacking midfielder, Pereyra was forced to play on the left hand side of Javi Gracia's 4-4-2 formation.

Despite playing somewhat out of position, the 27-year-old caused Brighton's full backs all sorts of problems and was often left unmarked when drifting inside - something which was on display with both of his goals.



Worst Player


Watford didn't have any standout disappointments on Saturday, but given his outstanding form last season, it's difficult to look past Abdoulaye Doucouré.

The versatile midfielder is coming back from a battle with appendicitis, and the Frenchman looked well off the pace, comically tripping over his own feet during a counter attack in the first half.

Midfield partner Étienne Capoue also struggled to stamp his authority on the game, but it was clear for all to see that Doucouré still isn't at full fitness, and questions should be asked about why he started in the first place.


Brighton & Hove Albion


Key Talking Point


Nothing stood out for Brighton quite as much as their naivety - and quite frankly laziness - at marking throughout the match.

Watford players were all too often left in acres of space. Even when defenders were staying with their man, the Hornets easily created pockets of space and that made things all too easy for players on the overlap.

Michael Regan/GettyImages

On top of that, given their performances off the bench, why on earth did Yves Bissouma and Alireza Jahanbakhsh not start the match?


Player Ratings


Ryan (7) Bruno (6) Dunk (6) Duffy (7) Bernardo (7) Knockeart (6) Stephens (6) Propper (7) March (6) Gross (5) Murray (6).

Substitutes: Bong (6) Bissouma (7) Jahanbakhsh (7)


Star Man


Left back Bernardo may have only joined the club during the summer, but the former RB Leipzig defender looked right at home in Chris Hughton's defence, except for when coming up against Watford hardman Isaac Success.

What's more, the 23-year-old was forced to fill in at right back when Bruno hobbled off early on through injury and looked equally impressive for the Seagulls.

A special mention for substitute Bissouma too.


Worst Player


Almost the entire Brighton squad were queuing up to be included in this section, but arguably their most disappointing performance came from last year's Player of the Season, Pascal Groß.

Alex Morton/GettyImages

The German was nowhere to be seen throughout the first half, offering very little both in attack and defence, and he was quickly hooked after the restart.


Looking Ahead


Watford will be confident of making it two wins on the bounce when they travel to take on Burnley at Turf Moor, with the Clarets expected to have one eye on their Europa League tie against Istanbul Başakşehir.

Brighton meanwhile will have to wait until next month before getting their first realistic chance at claiming any points, with matches against Manchester United and Liverpool still to come in August.

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