Watford, under the dire management of Walter Mazzari, gave us a dreary, on occasions seemingly aimless and seldom fully motivated sequence of performances, which saw the Hornets struggle to record the third worst goal-difference in the Premier League.

Only four teams scored fewer goals last season and only three conceded more, leaving us to draw the inevitable and long overdue conclusion that Mazzari should be axed and a new man strengthen both defence and attack.

Happily the Pozzos have backed a recruitment programme that sees an increase in the number of British-born players instead of their usual policy of moving the pieces round from their own clubs and bringing in foreign players, some of whom have seen their motivation and commitment a little behind the rest.

Watford have strengthened in midfield during the summer and more recently the attack, spending some serious money in the process.

It would be unfair to judge the progress on the basis of one game but under Marco Silva on Saturday, they appeared to know what they were doing and what they were attempting to do, which is a refreshing change from last season.

Back then, the manager was criticised for not having a Plan B, while I along with many others were lost to understand his Plan A.

It is also something of a problem attempting to glean from sundry newspapers as to how the Hornets are regarded.

It would seem the Watford project is not a popular one in some areas, mainly because of the ridiculously rapid turnover in managers, and what many saw as the abuse of the loan system in the early days.

They played classy football under Zola but it only takes a season of Mazzari-inspired, turgid drudgery to lose any lingering reputation for quality.

Two ex-players have predicted relegation whereas in the papers, only a couple of scribes have dismissed the Hornets’ chances of sustaining Premier League status. On an overall poll of critics, Watford are not among the favourites for the drop.

I was encouraged by what I saw against Liverpool and was very impressed with Abdoulaye Doucoure although clearly the old defensive problems remain. The second-half concession of two goals involved some poor defending.

However, having seen much of the Premier League action over the weekend, it would appear that Watford are not alone when it comes to defensive frailties. Indeed Liverpool were just as bad, if not worse.

Last season I had the sobering experience of being in the WML Prediction League relegation zone, where one attempts to forecast the final league table.

I was well out, not reckoning much to Chelsea’s chances and over-rating the potential of Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham.

Undaunted, I looked at the Premier League’s runners and riders a week or so ago and questioned why the pundits seemed to be saying the title is to be contested between the Manchester clubs. I believed and still believe City will win the title, but then I thought that last term.

United, who did not score enough and drew too many matches, have swapped Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Romelu Lukaku. I did not see the logic of deciding this made them stronger.

They need goals from other sources but then, watching them on Sunday, they did look a far stronger, resolute and goal-hungry team.

They scored the most goals in a match for two or three seasons, so perhaps they have greater potential.

Yet they still look to me short of that magic quality that the likes of Alexis Sanchez provides at Arsenal or Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool (if he is still there this Friday morning).

City, however, have an array of attacking talent and much depends if they have strengthened their defence sufficiently.

Some have tipped Spurs as being lucky third time around, but with the weight of European commitments and the handicap of playing at Wembley, their squad looks particularly lean – perhaps too lean to succeed.

They, as with Chelsea, need to buy and if they buy well, the horizons can change. Look at Manchester United’s increased potential with Nemanja Matic on board.

As for Arsenal, I fear they still lack leaders and that problem has not been addressed in the transfer market. So I think the pundits who tip City for the title may well be right.

They have done their transfer work, whereas United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs are still short to differing degrees.

If the opening weekend of the campaign is anything to go by, there is the possibility of more excitement and more unexpected results, which if the portents are true, should be welcomed. But I am not alone in thinking the transfer deadline should be closed before the season starts. I think people will eventually regard the current deadline three weeks into the season as being totally inappropriate.

Watford? Well I do not think they will be relegated with the recruitment they have engaged in this summer but I would be more confident if they gained a commanding defensive figure.

In addition to Saturday, they have Troy Deeney to return from injury, even if there is some debate as to where he will fit in.

Deeney will undoubtedly profit from a more offensive playing policy instead of being the lone wolf and receiving little service, as was the case last season.