Watford have had a very good summer. Marco Silva is an excellent appointment as manager and will hopefully bring some much needed stability to the Hornets.
He has also acquired young English talent in Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah, as well as Brazilian wonderkid Richarlison.
Adding Andre Gray to the ranks, an £18m acquisition from Burnley, also improves a strike force in need of freshening up and depth. Gray is a direct, rapid forward who has a good finish. He is constantly looking to make runs in behind the defence and should prove to be a good foil for club captain Troy Deeney.
Here are three ways the former non-league striker can be deployed in Marco Silva’s set up.
Watford are experienced playing the 3-5-2 from their time under Walter Mazzarri and this system would suit their current personal perfectly.
Deeney has always preferred a strike partner to work with, enjoying his best season upon promotion in a tandem with Odion Ighalo, and Gray’s pace and agility in behind are a perfect mix with Deeney’s all-round presence and hold up play.
With an extremely creative midfield three behind the strikers, expect lots of goals and chance for Gray and Deeney for that matter.
This would be a pretty frightening attack. It allows a space for exciting new signing Richarlison, whilst also being able to get both Deeney and Gray into the side. It might not be Gray’s favoured position, but he certainly has the characteristics to make a very useful right forward.
He’s direct and quick, a frightening prospect on the counter-attack, the style Silva likes to deploy, as was the case with Hull City last season. Instead of sticking wide and running to the byline, however, Gray will be more prone to cutting inside and trying to get into the box.
Watford will be forced to go into a compact low block system against some of the bigger teams in the Premier League who will dominate the ball, hence a 4-4-2. It offers two banks of four and, thus, two lines of defence in a narrow shape that restricts space and makes it harder for sides to break them down.
A strike partnership of Gray and Deeney provides the side with a perfect outlet when they need to go direct and hit teams on the counter, though. Deeney with the hold up play with his strength and power and provide Gray with knockdowns to run onto using his pace in behind. It might be old fashioned, but Leicester City have shown how successful that approach can be.
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