Watford has officially gained promotion to the Premier League after securing a second-place season in the English Championship. They pushed Norwich for the title but eventually finished eight points adrift.
However, they have had a strong season after being relegated last season, returning to the Premier League after only a season away. Of course, last season was a heartbreaking one as they finished only one point behind Aston Villa. Manager Xisco Munoz only took over last December but ultimately turned the season around.
He relied on a sturdy defense anchored by William Troost-Ekong, but how will they adapt to the Premier League next season?
Building on Success
Before Watford got relegated last season, they spent five years in the Premier League. In 2019, they finished 11th and were hoping to build on that solid season but were shocked by their capitulation. To not become a one-season stay, they need to build on the success that Xisco Munoz has brought to the club.
This season was William Troost-Ekong’s first at the club, and he completely solidified the backline. They went from conceding the fourth-most goals in the Premier League in 2020 to the least this season. Staying up will hinge on the team relying on these strengths and remaining challenging to break down at the back. With a sturdy defense, it will free up players like Ismaila Sarr to play without pressure upfront.
They could also use a center midfielder to break up play and be a metronome in the middle. Troy Deeney is getting older, and they can’t rely entirely on Ismaila Sarr or João Pedro, so more firepower upfront could bolster the squad and help make sure they stay up next season.
Avoid Repeat of 2020
Xisco Munoz has changed the culture at Watford and made them a formidable force in the Championship. However, he needs to rely on William Troost-Ekong and his backline even more in the Premier League to remain in the league for more than just next season.