Blades to cut through Hornets in opener
Relegated Watford will regroup under a new direction and new head coach for the 2022/2023 EFL Championship season, having poached highly rated manager Rob Edwards from third tier outfit Forest Green Rovers at the start of the summer. They begin their campaign to bounce back to the Premier League on Monday night at Vicarage Road against Sheffield United, who have strengthened their squad significantly and will pose a major threat in the opener and over the course of the year to the top spots. Read our preview here:
Vote for Pedro
Edwards has usually deployed a back three during his time in the dugout, although whether that preference also transfers from Gloucestershire to Hertfordshire remains unknown. What is more likely is that the frontline will be led by 20 year old João Pedro. The Brazilian forward is not a new name, but could become more of the focus in his third term at the club, especially if the likes of Ismaïla Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis depart (though both are expected to feature tonight).
Paul Heckingbottom's charges were edged out in the play-off semis by Nottingham Forest in May by the slimmest of margins in a penalty shootout, and the recruitment team have worked diligently and intelligently to try to ensure a repeat of that lottery won't be necessary this time around. Ciaran Clark has signed from Newcastle United to further bolster the defensive unit, and will be joined in the trio protecting Wes Foderingham by Bosnian international Anel Ahmedhodžić, who left troubled French side Bordeaux to return to England. Rhian Brewster is expected to be the sole striker in the absence of Oli McBurnie, who misses out through injury.
With more uncertainty and a door that won't stop revolving at Watford until the transfer window closes, this could be an ideal opportunity for Sheffield United to get their season going in style, fully aware that the Hornets won't be slumbering for long. The Blades can be backed at 2.90 with Casumo to grab the win.