Watford eased to a dominant win over sorry Queens Park Rangers in Valerien Ismael’s first Championship game in charge of the Hornets.
Tom Dele-Bashiru slotted in to put the hosts ahead after just 33 seconds and QPR were unable to contain their rampant opponents, who established a 4-0 half-time lead at Vicarage Road.
Imran Louza was given space 25 yards out to curl in a low shot and double the lead in the 20th minute, with Matheus Martins guiding in a looping header and Vakoun Bayo sliding home for the fourth two minutes before the break.
It could have been worse for the visitors, as Bayo almost made it 5-0 with a lob in first-half stoppage time and Louza rattled the crossbar with a dipping effort on the hour mark.
The second half was a much quieter affair with the outcome beyond doubt, although Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes both went close to pulling a goal back.
QPR conceded 71 goals last season – the second most in the second tier – and boss Gareth Ainsworth saw his defence continually carved apart on the opening day of the campaign.
The west London club finished six points above the relegation zone in 20th place in May and, with just two clean sheets in 14 matches since Ainsworth took charge in February, will need a vast improvement to avoid another struggle against the drop.
Hornets blow Rangers away
Watford ended last season in mid-table following relegation from the Premier League and, after selling top scorer Joao Pedro to Brighton, appointed Ismael as head coach in May.
Their first-half performance would surely have exceeded the expectations of the former Barnsley and West Brom boss, with the first two goals going in following slick passing moves.
After QPR keeper Asmir Begovic made good saves to deny Jeremy Ngakia and Wesley Hoedt, a short corner routine allowed Ken Sema to cross for Martins to make it 3-0 in the 38th minute.
Bayo then converted Francisco Sierralta’s ball across the box to give Watford complete control at the break.
Georgian midfielder Giorgi Chakvetadze almost netted a debut goal for the Hornets after coming off the bench, while fellow substitute Ryan Andrews fired into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Watford have only lost once on the opening day of the season over the past 17 campaigns, with that defeat a 3-0 home reverse against Brighton in 2019.
- 42MorrisBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAndrewsat 45′minutes
- 24Dele-BashiruSubstituted forChakvetadzeat 66′minutes
- 3SierraltaSubstituted forLivermoreat 66′minutes
- 10LouzaSubstituted forKonéat 66′minutes
- 37MartinsSubstituted forKayembeat 82′minutes
- 17DozzellSubstituted forDixon-Bonnerat 90+7′minutes
- 8FieldBooked at 76mins
- 11SmythSubstituted forDuke-McKennaat 45′minutes
- 23KelmanSubstituted forArmstrongat 45′minutesBooked at 67mins
- 10ChairSubstituted forWillockat 90+7′minutes
- Thomas Bramall
Match ends, Watford 4, Queens Park Rangers 0.
Second Half ends, Watford 4, Queens Park Rangers 0.
Foul by Edo Kayembe (Watford).
Sam Field (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Edo Kayembe (Watford).
Chris Willock (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ryan Andrews (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Elijah Dixon-Bonner (Queens Park Rangers).
Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Elijah Dixon-Bonner replaces Andre Dozzell.
Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Chris Willock replaces Ilias Chair.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.
Attempt saved. Kenneth Sema (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Ismaël Koné.
Ismaël Koné (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andre Dozzell (Queens Park Rangers).
Wesley Hoedt (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stephen Duke-McKenna (Queens Park Rangers).
Attempt saved. Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ilias Chair.
Attempt saved. Ismaël Koné (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Edo Kayembe.
Foul by Giorgi Chakvetadze (Watford).
Stephen Duke-McKenna (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.