Odion Ighalo remains a hero at the Vicarage Road, but the Hornets may be witnessing the opening chapter of another love story with another Nigerian star
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis opened his goal account in the English Premier League for Watford and grabbed another assist as Xisco’s men claimed a 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Three Super Eagles stars made the starting lineup for the home side, with centre-back William Troost-Ekong and midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo also making their EPL bow.
Much of the pre-game worries were centred around Watford’s deficiencies in attack, with four sides scoring more than the Hornets in the Championship last season.
But Dennis, who failed to make an impression in the Bundesliga with Cologne last term, put a lot of those concerns to bed after just ten minutes, firing past goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez after his initial shot was blocked.
The former Club Brugge man then turned provider three minutes before the interval as Ismaila Sarr doubled the Hornets’ advantage.
Dennis was replaced in the 66th minute, moments before Juan Hernandez made it three-nil to Xisco’s men in a dream return to the English top-flight.
John McGinn later reduced the deficit, and Danny Ings netted a penalty. Still, it was ultimately not enough for an Aston Villa side who missed their talisman Jack Grealish, who is now a Manchester City star.
But Watford would care little about the cheap late goals conceded and be pleased with an opening day victory, crafted in no small way by Dennis.
Odion Ighalo amassed 40 goals and 11 assists in 100 appearances in a storied three-year spell at Watford to create a lasting bond with the club’s passionate supporters.
But on the back of his incredible Premier League debut, Dennis would have warmed himself into the heart of the Hornets’ fans, and this could be the start of another heroic story for another Nigerian striker on Vicarage Road.