Roberto Pereyra finally fulfilling endless potential as Watford are loving life
Premier League football is notorious for throwing up surprises. Four games in, Watford Football Club are sitting joint-top in the Premier League. They've amassed a mightily impressive four wins from four; looking like an excellent, tight-knit outfit in the process.
I guess beating Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace always looked like it could happen. It was their last victory which made us football fans take notice. Beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, coming from a goal down no-less, deserves endless credit. Their fans must be in dreamland, just a few weeks into the season, too...
The Hornets squad is built upon work ethic and veteran presence. Jose Holebas has started the season wonderfully well, while Troy Deeney continues to lead the line in convincing manner. Perhaps Watford's crowning jewel, though, is Roberto Pereyra. Now 27, the man from Argentina is blossoming nicely. Some may say his development should have happened far sooner. For Javi Gracia, it couldn't have been more timely.
During the summer, I wrote about Watford and why they were destined for failure under Gracia. Oh, how wrong I was. Let's be honest, though, I think at that time most people would have agreed with me. Gracia deserves huge praise for the work he has done with Pereyra. Now, he looks like a huge threat whenever he's got the ball at his feet.
What I always find most important is confidence. These top-level professionals are all similarly talented when it comes down to skill level. Football is so often won and lost in the mind. Under Gracia, Pereyra's morale is high. That clear, calm head is the base to any success. He, his club and his boss are reaping the rewards right now.
That hasn't always been the case. When Juventus made the permanent move to sign the attacking midfielder, the pressure was on. Pereyra failed to deliver. During the loan spell with the Old Lady, the Argentine played relatively stress-free, donning out 52 times for the Turin-based outfit. However, in 2015, following the big-money switch for good, he played just sixteen times across all competitions. The 27-year-old didn't score once. He never got another opportunity.
Watford took a gamble. The first two season's he was distinctly average at best. Times have changed under new leadership. Pereyra's individual brilliance is being highlighted by The Hornets as a whole. They're on top of the earth right now.
Three goals in four games, while looking a real menace from that #10 role is a nice little return. There is more to it than just finding the back of the net, though. It's the creation, the leadership, the overall talent. He's the heartbeat of a team that's on the up. Next time out, they host a Jose Mourinho-led Manchester United. Who knows what Red Devils are going to turn up? If the visitors aren't at their best, don't bet against Watford maintaining that unbeaten record, with Pererya continuing to be at the heart of everything good at this point in time.
I wonder, is it too late for an international call-up? Heck, Argentina can't do any worse despite the vast array of talent they have at their disposal. If it were me, I'd definitely take a punt on Pereyra.