Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has overcome appendicitis but Nathaniel Chalobah, Stefano Okaka, Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu aren’t fit to play.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster could start for the Hornets, having re-signed for the club over the summer from West Brom.
Brighton will be without Florin Andone because of a groin injury and Colombian Jose Izquierdo is not ready to return after his World Cup involvement.
Club record signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh could play, while Glenn Murray is fit.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@johnrodercomm: Watford finished one place and one point above Brighton at the end of last season, with both clubs having breathing space between themselves and the bottom three.
And yet the results in the final quarter of last season give cause for concern, as Watford start a fourth successive Premier League campaign and Brighton their second.
Watford have never won their opening fixture in the Premier League, and this is certainly a tough one to predict with any degree of conviction.
A repeat of last year’s goalless draw will probably end up last in the running order on Match of Day, so let’s hope for a thriller instead!
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton: “Would I take 17th? Probably the bigger part of me says yes because my responsibility is to make sure this club is in the Premier League the following season.
“But we have to think about Watford on Saturday and trying to get a result there. We will go into every game looking to get something.”
It’s important, we know more than most what a bad start can bring. We all want a good start. If we get off to a good start, there will be teams getting off to a bad start. We just need to make sure we are fully prepared for the first game and make a good game of it. We feel we’re ready.
I am going with a Watford win here, but I don’t see Brighton going down this season.
- This will be just the fifth top-flight meeting between Watford and Brighton, who have recorded one win apiece.
- Watford’s only defeat in the past seven matches against Brighton came away last December.
- The three most recent meetings have produced just three goals.
- Watford have won only one of their last nine Premier League matches, losing five.
- The Hornets failed to score in four of their final five games last season.
- No club conceded more home goals than the 31 let in by Watford in 2017-18.
- They are unbeaten in 11 season-opening league games since losing against Everton in August 2006.
Brighton & Hove Albion
- The Seagulls recorded just one victory in their final nine league fixtures last season, 1-0 at home to Manchester United in May.
- Chris Hughton’s side had the worst away record in the Premier League last season, with just 11 points accrued.
- Their most recent away win was by 1-0 at Swansea last November.
- Brighton scored 10 away goals in 2017-18, an equal-league low alongside relegated West Brom.
- They have won just one of their last six opening league games and have failed to score in four of those matches.