Hangover? What hangover. Watford’s start to the new Championship season has dampened any fears that May’s playoff defeat to Crystal Palace may have triggered a negative knock-on effect.
Following their opening day workmanlike 1-0 triumph at Birmingham City, Ginfranco Zola’s men turned on the style as they thumped Bournemouth 5-1 at Vicarage Road. On this showing they can still claim to be the best footballing side in the Championship, a style of football that saw them score a league-high 85 goals last term.
The Londoners are now the clear 5.5 favourites for the Championship title after a wave of money overnight pushed their price in from 8.5.
Troy Deeney did his claims for Championship top-scorer honours no harm either with a destructive hat-trick – the first of his career.
However, Zola will be well aware that Deeney’s spectacular start to the new campaign may have attracted the attention from Premier League suitors, with Stoke City and Hull City reported to be monitoring the situation.
For the recently promoted Cherries, this was a cruel eye-opener to the harsh reality of the Championship. If Eddie Howe didn’t realise the tough task ahead, he does now. Despite the thumping, they still can be backed at 11.0 for relegation.
The form of Lewis Grabban though, who scored their solitary goal, is promising. He now has three for the season already after bagging both goals in the 2-1 opening day win against Charlton.
Although it’s very early to start predicting promotion challengers, Watford’s main rivals, according to the markets, are QPR, who eased out to 6.00 following their 1-1 draw at Huddersfield.
James Vaughan’s strike was cancelled out by the impressive Junior Hoilett just two minutes later.
Fellow promotion hopefuls Bolton and Reading couldn’t be separated at the Reebok Stadium while a late Darius Henderson winner kept up Nottingham Forest’s 100% start to the campaign. Billy Davies’ side are into 11.0 for outright Championship success.