After going through five managers in under three years, Watford look to be hitting their stride in the Premier League. The club are not considered relegation candidates any more after romping into the top half this time around, with the Hornets lying in eighth place in the top flight.
The question is now, can Watford go any further? European football may seem a stretch, but with the top six all jostling for positions, cup success is a realistic possibility. The club did reach the FA Cup semi-finals in 2016, and now with their most talented Premier League squad it is time to take that step.
That’s your task on FIFA 19’s Career Mode, as RealSport gives you all you need to know as you step into the Watford dugout.
It’s a four star rating for Watford on FIFA 19, which is made up by a 77 attack, 78 midfield and 77 defence.
Watford have used a range of systems this season, with both five at the back and a narrow 4-4-2 used at Vicarage Road under Javi Gracia. Try going for a 4-2-3-1 wide to give you a balance between numbers in midfield as well as hurting teams on the flanks.
Ben Foster (81 GK reflexes) has had a fantastic season in the Watford goal, with the back four made up by Daryl Janmaat, Craig Cathcart, Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas.
PSG target Abdoulaye Doucoure (93 stamina) partners the destructive Etienne Capoue (81 interceptions) in defensive midfield, with Will Hughes operating as the number 10.
Speedster Gerard Deulofeu (94 agility) moves out to the right flank, with the creative Roberto Pereyra (84 ball control) out on the left. Troy Deeney has the task of leading the attack on his own.
Heurelho Gomes, Adrian Mariappa, Kiko Femenia, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Isaac Success and Andre Gray.
Tactics and instructions
Watford do have some useful technicians in their side, making it tricky to know how to play on FIFA 19. Your only pace outlet in the starting lineup is Gerard Deulofeu (89 acceleration), so you may have to be patient and build slowly before waiting for that time to strike.
You have that powerful midfield pairing of Abdoulaye Doucoure (83 standing tackle) and Etienne Capoue (80 reactions), and they can enable you to win the ball back in the middle of the park and play the ball into the attacking players.
On the flanks you have the contrasting Roberto Pereyra (84 dribbling) and Deulofeu (88 sprint speed), but they will be the two most influential players going forward. You should drive at players with Pereyra, freeing up space for your teammate, whilst Deulofeu can stretch the opposition even further with his movement.
As for Troy Deeney (91 strength), he may lack consistency, but his hold up play will be a massive asset to bring teammates into play.
Your instructions can help you balance out your side and implement your tactics more effectively. Against the bigger teams at least, it may be worth having one of your defensive midfielders sit deeper, so on Abdoulaye Doucoure's attacking support, change it to ‘stay back while attacking’.
Gerard Deulofeu is so key to this side with his movement, and you should have his chance creation altered to ‘stay wide’ to stretch the play, and flip his support runs to ‘get in behind’ so he run through on goal.
Roberto Pereyra is essentially an attacking midfielder, so have him ‘cut inside’ on chance creation and ‘come short’ on his support runs so he can see more of the ball.
That frees up space on the left-hand side, so left back Jose Holebas should ‘overlap’ on his run type.
To make the most of your training sessions you should use high development players. At Watford these are Isaac Success, Adalberto Penaranda, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah, Marc Navarro and Adam Masina.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £42 million
Starting wage budget: £115,000 a week
Who should go
Now a club that is well clear of relegation, Watford can now sell off the players who don’t have the quality to push for a top half finish. With three first team right backs on your books, Kiko Femenia can be shown the door, with the Spaniard collecting you around £5 million and freeing up £29,000 a week in your wage budget.
With a new centre back likely to be on your shopping list, you can sell both Sebastian Prodl and Miguel Britos with the pair collecting you a combined £4.9 million and saving £68,000 a week in wages.
Heurelho Gomes may be your backup goalkeeper, but aged 37, he is in the twilight of his career, if he isn’t retiring try to sell him for £350,000 and free up £20,000 a week in your wage budget.
Youngsters Joy Muken and Andrew Eleftheriou can also be sold, with the pair fetching you £230,000 and saving £6,000 a week in wages.
There are three contenders to send out on loan from Vicarage Road this season, with Adalberto Penaranda likely to struggle for first team minutes at the start of the campaign. Perhaps just a short loan for the forward, who will certainly be in your plans come next season.
Lewis Gordon and Ryan Cassidy are still someway off first team action so they can be loaned out for this season and possibly next.
Who to sign
New transfer budget: £53 million
New wage budget: £238,000 a week
Quality centre half
Centre back is the weakest point of the starting lineup, and you need to bring in some real quality to galvanise the back four.
Not a man you may know, but it composed at the back is Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi. The 26-year-old has an 80 overall on FIFA 19 which can rise to a potential of 83 with his best stats being his 84 interceptions, 84 sliding tackle and 83 heading accuracy. The Algerian will set you back around £24 million and wages starting at £24,000 a week.
|Inigo Martinez||27||Athletic Bilbao||Spain||80||81||£18m||£24k|
Classy left midfielder
Roberto Pereyra is the silkiest man on your team, so you should move him into the number 10 role. The team will become a lot more balanced if you bring in a conventional winger on the left-hand side.
Benfica’s Rafa fits the bill, with the 25-year-old able to play on either flank. The Portuguese international starts with an 80 overall which can rise to a potential of 83, with his best stats a 93 sprint speed, 91 acceleration and 89 balance.
|Cristian Tello||26||Real Betis||Spain||80||80||£22m||£26k|
Six players have contracts expiring at the end of the season, and it looks like you won’t be renewing any of them. Heurelho Gomes is likely to be sold at the start of the campaign along with Miguel Britos, so if you fail to ship them they can be released. The same can be said for youngsters Harry Forster, Joy Mukena, Andrew Eleftheriou and Adam Parkes.
With Watford not knowing where they sit in terms of Premier League status, the board objectives do not focus in on any particular area. No tasks have a high importance, with financial marked as medium, for which you will need to increase club worth by 20% over two seasons. Maintain a profit each year, fighting for silverware and bring in big name players to achieve this.
For brand exposure you must sign a crucial forward and gain £26 million from shirt sales this year, and bringing Benfica’s Rafa should help you achieve both of these. Domestic success has a low importance, and here you will need to finish mid table and reach the FA Cup round of 16.
Lastly, for youth development you must sign a player younger than 20 with a high potential. This must be higher than the current average overall of players in the same position at the club.
Upsetting the apple cart
Watford may feel closer to being relegation threatened than pushing for European football, but if you feel like Premier League safety will be easily secured, then you may be in a fantastic position to target the cup competitions. There is enough depth there to fight on fronts, and given the strength of the top six, as well as how strong Everton and West Ham are, gunning for a cup may be your best way into Europe.
If you can get fortunate ties in the early rounds, you can then afford to rest players to keep them fresh for the heavyweight cup clashes, with perhaps one or two upsets seeing you reach the EFL or FA Cup final. Watford reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 2016, and with a stronger squad these days, you can aim to go even further on FIFA 19 Career Mode.
Full Watford Player Ratings
|Jose Holebas||34||LB LWB||Greece||78||78||£3m||£44k|
|Daryl Janmaat||28||RB RWB||Holland||77||77||£6m||£44k|
|Kiko Femenia||27||RB RWB RM||Spain||76||76||£5m||£39k|
|Craig Cathcart||29||CB RB||Northern Ireland||76||76||£5m||£41k|
|Adrian Mariappa||31||CB RB||Jamaica||74||74||£3m||£34k|
|Abdoulaye Doucoure||25||CDM CM||France||81||85||£17m||£53k|
|Roberto Pereyra||27||LM CAM CM||Argentina||80||80||£14m||£57k|
|Etienne Capoue||29||CDM CM||France||79||79||£9m||£51k|
|Will Hughes||23||CAM RM CM||England||77||83||£11m||£40k|
|Nathaniel Chalobah||23||CDM CM||England||76||81||£8m||£33k|
|Tom Cleverley||28||CM CAM||England||76||76||£7m||£44k|
|Ken Sema||24||LM RM||Sweden||71||73||£3m||£23k|
|Domingos Quina||18||CAM CM CDM||Portugal||65||82||£1m||£5k|
|Harry Forster||18||RM RB||England||59||72||£200k||£3k|
|Andrew Eleftheriou||20||RM RB||England||51||62||£50k||£4k|
|Gerard Deulofeu||24||CF RW RM LW||Spain||79||82||£14m||£51k|
|Isaac Success||22||ST RM LM||Nigeria||73||80||£5m||£33k|
|Adalberto Penaranda||21||ST CF||Venezuela||73||81||£5m||£28k|
|Ryan Cassidy||17||ST||Rep. Ireland||56||76||£200k||£3k|