Watford have only lost once on the opening day of the season in the last 10 campaigns.

It remains to be seen if they can extend that sequence when they face Millwall at The Den on August 10, but the Hornets have won six and drawn three of their first-day fixtures in the last decade.

That may have been helped by the fact that they have played their opening game at Vicarage Road in each of the last seven seasons.

They should have started last season on the road, but QPR asked to switch to Vicarage Road because of work being done to their pitch at Loftus Road.

The last time Watford began with an away trip was way back in August 2016, when they visited Southampton on the opening day of the Premier League season.

The Hornets have scored 20 goals on the last 10 opening days, and conceded only 11.

Here’s a quick look back at Watford’s opening games of the last decade…


Beat QPR 4-0 at home

Quite some start for new head coach Valerien Ismael as Tom Dele-Bashiru scored the first goal of the Championship season after just 32 seconds.

The Hornets were 4-0 up by half-time against a woeful Rangers side – but the West London club ended the season level on points with Watford.


Beat Sheffield United 1-0 at home

Due to selection for live broadcast by Sky Sports, Watford fans had to wait until Monday to get the season started but it was worth it as Joao Pedro scored the only goal of the game after 56 minutes.

Joao Pedro has just scored the winner against Sheffield United in August 2022, and Tom Cleverley is racing to join the celebrations.Joao Pedro has just scored the winner against Sheffield United in August 2022, and Tom Cleverley is racing to join the celebrations. (Image: Action Images)

It was a great start for new head coach Rob Edwards, but just 57 days later he was sacked. The head coach he beat that night, Chris Wilder, would take charge of Watford later in the season, with Slaven Bilic in charge in between.


Beat Aston Villa 3-2 at home

When Watford hit the ground running to beat Villa on a sun-kissed afternoon at Vicarage Road, few would have predicted they would win just one more Premier League home game all season and be relegated at the end of a miserable campaign which saw three different head coaches try, and fail, to arrest the slide.

Emmanuel Dennis scored the opener, Cucho Hernandez curled a memorable third after 67 minutes but Villa made it a nervous ending as they pulled two back.


Beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at home

The start of the season was delayed until September as the after-effects of the pandemic were still being felt by football.

Craig Cathcart scored the only goal of the game after 11 minutes to beat a Boro side which fielded Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga as their forward pairing at Vicarage Road.

Craig Cathcart celebrates his winner against Middlesbrough on the opening day of the 2020/21 season with Tom Cleverley.Craig Cathcart celebrates his winner against Middlesbrough on the opening day of the 2020/21 season with Tom Cleverley. (Image: Action Images)

Less than eight months later, promotion back to the Premier League was being celebrated at an empty Vicarage Road.


Lost 3-0 to Brighton at home

Only three months after the FA Cup Final, the new Premier League season started pretty much how that day at Wembley had ended as Watford were shocking and soundly beaten by the Seagulls.

They didn’t win any of their first 11 league games as Javi Gracia lost his job and then the return of Quique Sanchez Flores turned out to be disastrous.

Nigel Pearson’s arrival during the Covid-hit season appeared to give Watford a chance of staying up but he was sacked before the campaign ended and caretaker Hayden Mullins oversaw the final two games as relegation was confirmed.


Won 2-0 against Brighton at home.

Roberto Pereyra scored either side of half-time as the season started with an impressive home win over Brighton, as Watford took maximum points from their opening four Premier League games.

Javi Gracia was to steer the Hornets to only their second FA Cup Final ever, though by the time they suffered a 6-0 humbling at Wembley in May their league form had tailed off as they lost four of their last six and, having had outside hopes of European football, they finished 11th in the table.

Roberto Pereyra makes it 2-0 against Brighton in August 2018.Roberto Pereyra makes it 2-0 against Brighton in August 2018. (Image: Action Images)

That was the club’s highest league placing since Graham Taylor steered Watford to ninth in 1987, at the end of his last season in his first stint at the club.


Drew 3-3 with Liverpool at home

A cracking game to start the season as Watford led the Reds 1-0 and 2-1 before they came back to take a 3-2 advantage - then Miguel Britos bundled home a stoppage-time leveller.

Liverpool’s goals that day were scored by each of their fearsome front line at the time, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.

It was a decent start for new head coach Marco Silva, though not long after he was fluttering his eyelids at the blue half of Merseyside.

Following that draw, the Hornets lost six of their next seven games against Liverpool by a combined margin of 22-0 – although the one win they did achieve (3-0 at Vicarage Road in February 2020) was pretty memorable…


Drew 1-1 away to Southampton

Etienne Capoue gave Watford the lead after nine minutes, Nathan Redmond equalised early in the second half as the Hornets took a point in Walter Mazzarri’s first game in charge.

Ben Watson came off the bench after 64 minutes and was sent off in the 90th minute.


Drew 2-2 away to Everton

The Hornets announced their return to the Premier League after eight years away when Miguel Layun scored after 13 minutes.

Miguel Layun puts Watford in front at Goodison Park in August 2015.Miguel Layun puts Watford in front at Goodison Park in August 2015. (Image: Action Images)

Ross Barkley equalised with 15 minutes to go, but Odion Ighalo made it 2-1 in the 83rd minute. Arouna Kone equalised for an Everton side which included Tom Cleverley.


Beat Bolton 3-0 at home

The three goalscorers at Vicarage Road that afternoon will evoke great memories: Troy Deeney, Matej Vydra and Fernando Forestieri.

It was a campaign that ended with promotion to the Premier League with Slavisa Jokanovic at the helm.

Deeney ended up with  21 league goals, Vydra with 16 – and Odion Ighalo, who made his Hornets debut at Stevenage in the Carabao Cup three days after the win over Bolton, netted 20.