First Team 13/06/2019

Gracia On Fixtures: “Starting At Home Is The Best News”

Within an hour or two of their release, Javi Gracia walked through the club’s London Colney training base carrying a freshly-printed list of Watford’s 2019/20 fixtures, already colour coded and annotated with his own handwritten notes.

Such is the Head Coach’s attention to detail that Gracia is wasting no time in ensuring appropriate plans are put in place now the Hornets know where the Premier League schedule will take them and when.

Once again, Brighton are to be the first challengers, visiting Vicarage Road on the opening day for the second season running, having fallen foul of two Roberto Pereyra goals last time around.

That win set Watford on course for a formidable 100 per cent start after the first four fixtures had been played in 2018/19 – Burnley, Crystal Palace and Tottenham also defeated – and Gracia is setting his sights on another strong start when August comes around.

Last season Javi Gracia shared the touchline with Chris Hughton, but this time he'll be facing new Brighton boss Graham Potter

“We are excited,” he said, speaking to watfordfc.com shortly after today’s 9am announcement.

“I’m looking forward to the first game. It will be the same as last season against Brighton and we will try to prepare for that game during the whole of pre-season, trying to start the same way we did last season.

“We knew already we would have to play against all the teams but now when I see the schedule my first impression is good. I’m happy and I’m looking forward to the games.”

Never shy in citing the advantage he believes his players gain from playing in front of Watford’s home crowd, Gracia is particularly pleased the Hornets’ campaign will – for the third year running – commence on familiar ground.

“I think it’s the best news for me – to start by playing at home. Playing at Vicarage Road with our supporters is the best news for us,” he said.

Javi Gracia will oversee his second pre-season at Watford having arrived in January 2018

Not even four weeks have passed since the final whistle sounded on Watford’s 2018/19 season, but Gracia admits his mind turned immediately to the next campaign as soon as last month’s FA Cup final was over.

And preparations will gather pace over the coming weeks as the Spaniard and his staff ensure they’re ready for what will be an important pre-season period in July.

“We still have time to rest a little bit and to prepare more things but when you finish one season, from the next day you start to think about the next season,” he said.

“It’s our lives, our passion. You are already speaking about players, taking an interest in other competitions and thinking about the international players you have playing in different games.

“This morning I was waiting for the moment when we could see all the fixtures and you are always thinking about the games, about your rivals, about the team, and trying to find a way to prepare as well as possible during pre-season for all the games we are going to play.”

Javi Gracia in conversation with Technical Director Filippo Giraldi

Fresh from a break in his native Spain, Gracia’s return to Hertfordshire has coincided with the onset of some typically British weather, not that he’ll allow a bit of wind and rain to hamper pre-season plans.

“I’ve been in Spain with the sun so now I’m not so worried about the weather,” he smiled.

“There will be good days and not so good days – just like in other countries, even Spain – but when we start to work, in that moment we only are focused on our job.”

First Team 13/06/2019

Fixtures 2019/20: Brighton Up First Again!

DOWNLOADS

Provisional 2019/20 fixture list PDF

Sync your online calendar with all the club’s 2019/20 fixtures. Dates and times will be automatically updated whenever matches are moved, and you can also add home and away ticket on-sale dates as well as Watford FC Ladies fixtures. 

PROVISIONAL FIXTURES

Please note: fixture dates & midweek kick-off times are subject to change.

OVERVIEW

For the second year running, Watford will commence their Premier League campaign with a home match against Brighton.

The Seagulls - who were defeated 2-0 at Vicarage Road on the opening day of 2018/19 - will be the first visitors as 2019/20 gets underway on Saturday August 10.

The Hornets' opening away-day will take them to Everton a week later (Saturday August 17), with home games against West Ham (Saturday August 24) and Arsenal (Saturday September 14) - sandwiched by a trip to Newcastle (Saturday August 31) - completing the campaign's first five games.

Watford's maiden visit to Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium will take place on Saturday October 19.

A typically busy Christmas schedule will begin with Manchester United's visit to The Vic (Saturday December 21), followed by a trip to newly-promoted Sheffield United on Boxing Day (Thursday December 26). Aston Villa (Saturday December 28) and Wolves (Wednesday January 1) will then both head to Hertfordshire.

With a first ever mid-season player break scheduled for February, Watford will have to wait until mid-December - when UK broadcast picks are made for that month - to learn whether the Brighton away fixture will be played over the weekend of Saturday February 8 or Saturday February 15, with the 10 Premier League matches split 50-50 and all set to be broadcast live in the UK.

The Hornets' final home game will be against current champions Manchester City (Saturday May 9), before 2019/20 concludes at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium (Sunday May 17).

BROADCAST DATES

Broadcasters will make their selections for live TV fixtures on the following approximate dates:

*August to September: July 5
October: August 6 
November: September 16 
December to January: October 11
February: December 14 
March: January 24 
April: February 21 
May: April 3 
(Round 38 matches selected after all clubs have played 37 matches)

*TV selections for Matchweek 1 have already been confirmed, meaning the Brighton home game will definitely be played on Saturday August 10 at 3pm.