Just how do you top the season which saw us set our record Premier League points total and reach only our second ever FA Cup Final?

Well, winning the league or a trophy of any sort would be a good start (if Man City are going to count the Charity Shield, we can count the Graham Taylor trophy, right?), but if we’re being truly honest it’s going to be incredibly hard to beat, so it’s probably important to keep our expectations realistic ahead of the new season.

Fans should be forgiven for dreaming of Europe ahead of the new campaign. If it wasn’t for a dip in form before the FA Cup Final at the end of last season, there was every chance we’d have already started our Europa League journey this year, with the first qualifying round having taken place in late July.

This season though is a little different, as the clubs in and around that ‘best of the rest’ spot have kept their managers and added to their squads.

Wolves finished seventh last season and have added the likes of Cutrone, Jordao, Neto and Dadashov and despite having the distraction of the Europa League, it would be sensible to assume they will be there or thereabouts again.

Leicester are arguably the strongest side outside the big six coming into the new season, even without Maguire. A strong end to the season under Rodgers has given them a platform to build upon and they’re my tip for breaking into the top six this season after a full pre-season with the former Watford boss.

Despite all that’s gone on between Watford and Marco Silva in the past year it would be silly to ignore Everton as strong candidates for a Europa League spot at the end of the season. They have cash to burn and boy, are they burning it, having brought in Delph, Gbamin and Kean whilst still weighing up a potential £100million bid for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and bidding up to £40m for Abdoulaye Doucoure.

West Ham have strengthened but are, in my eyes, less of a threat to the European spots available.

Watford don’t have the big bucks to chuck at anyone they want. Shrewd recruitment has always been a trademark of the Pozzo ownership and this transfer window is no different.

We were crying out for a centre back last season and we’ve brought one in, in the shape of Craig Dawson. The former West Brom defender comes with plenty of Premier League experience, some much-needed height and physicality and also a relationship with Ben Foster which can only benefit us, all for a reported £5.5m.

I’ll admit I still have my reservations about our backline, but we’re getting there. Weigh this deal up with Brighton’s club record signing of Adam Webster from Bristol City, for an eyewatering £20m for an unproven player from the Championship and you can see why it makes sense.

For the first time in a number of seasons though, I’m excited to see the youth players that are breaking into the first team.

Domingos Quina looks like he’s able to weave his way through any midfield put in front of him, Adalberto Penaranda should be allowed more game time to show what he’s capable of, new signing Tom Dele-Bashiru whilst most likely being a back-up has come to Watford with the intention of getting game time; a clear indication the Hornets now an attractive prospect to younger players and let’s not forget about Brazilian wonderkid Joao Pedro who will be arriving at the club in January. If his form for his current club Fluminense is anything to go by, he’ll be taking the Premier League by storm in the second half of the season.

The stability and continuity we find ourselves in going into this new season should benefit us too. A head coach who is loved by fans and respected by the players and a way of playing that the squad will be more than used to by now, can only be a recipe for success.

One thing I do want to see this season however is improved results against the so called ‘big six’. We showed during the last campaign that we were now at a stage where we could be confident of beating the clubs further down the league. We were never going into games against the likes of Fulham and Huddersfield towards the end of the season worrying about whether we’d win or not; we were confident we would and that was illustrated in the fact we had the best head-to-head record against all the clubs outside the ‘big six’.

We still though seem incapable of taking our chances against the bigger sides. Victory against Spurs was the only time we took points off the big clubs last season and we should have taken points away from at least a few of our other fixtures against them.

If we can maintain that ruthlessness against the lower clubs and be more resilient against the teams at the top of the league, then we should have a good chance of setting a new Premier League points record for the club.

All in all, last season gave us an excellent foundation on which to build on and I’d be more than happy with a top half finish and a points total better than last to reflect the progress we’re making as a club.

We’re still punching above our weight, but it’s only a matter of time before we become a mainstay in the top half of the Premier League and get that little bit closer to Europe, and who knows? Perhaps this season could be the one. In Javi we trust.

You ‘Orns.