After two pleasing points in their opening pair of fixtures, Watford’s season is about to get even better with Southampton in town.
The fresh and rested Hornets tackle a weary Saints outfit who laboured to a 1-1 draw with Midtjylland in their midweek Europa League play-off.
Plenty has been said regarding the travails of those to feature in the continent’s consolation competition and the negative impact it can, and often does, have on the campaigns of those involved.
Ronald Koeman will be lamenting those very same afflictions come full-time at Vicarage Road, as they tend to take hold early on.
With this in mind Watford, available to back at 9/5 (what a way to make a living) must worthy of a wager.
On just two occasions since the 2011/12 season has a team returned to Premier League action following the first leg of their Europa League play-off and won.
The most recent instance saw Tottenham thrash hapless QPR 4-0 last season, a result that was the first of 12 straight away-day defeats for the R’s, who went on to finish stone last in the table.
Spurs proved themselves capable of bucking the trend the first time in 2013/14, seeing off Swansea 1-0, though the south Wales side themselves had also been in Europa League play-off action just three days earlier.
The Swans’ misfortune is not uncommon amongst those to partake in the competition’s final preliminary round.
Hull drew 1-1 with Stoke last season after going doing 1-0 in Lokeren the Thursday prior, while 2012/13 saw Newcastle go under at Chelsea the Sunday after their opening encounter with Atromitos.
Liverpool also featured in the same round as the Magpies and they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Manchester City in their following fixture.
This, however, is nothing compared to the havoc wreaked in 2011/12, when no fewer than four English outfits were in Europa League play-off action.
Stoke were the only team not to endure defeat, though they could only muster a 1-1 draw with Norwich upon returning to the domestic fray.
Spurs were routed 3-0 at Manchester United, Fulham were felled 2-0 at Wolves and Birmingham, who had been relegated to the Championship the year prior, were beaten 3-1 at Middlesbrough.