Watford have been busy this transfer window as they stock up in preparation for their survival mission.
A trio of new faces made their debuts in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle, giving Hornets fans renewed optimism that their side can avoid the drop.
Ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with fellow strugglers Norwich at Vicarage Road, we take a look at how recent recruits Samir, Hassane Kamara and Edo Kayembe can help Claudio Ranieri’s outfit retain their Premier League status.
As it stands
Postponements have meant that Watford are only just at the halfway point of their campaign.
The Hertfordshire side sit one point and one place above Norwich in 17th after 19 matches — but they do have two games in hand on the Canaries.
Watford’s plight can largely be pinned on their leakiness at the back.
They are the only team in the Premier League without a clean sheet this term, while only Norwich, Newcastle and Leeds — all of whom have played more games — have conceded more goals than their 37.
So, it is probably just as well that those three new signings comprise two defenders and a defensive midfielder.
Brazilian centre-half Samir has joined from Udinese — a club with strong ties to Watford as they are owned by Hornets’ managing director Gino Pozzo’s father Giampaolo.
And the 27-year-old looked right at home in his first game for his new team, dominating the aerial battle and adapting well to his role in Ranieri’s back four having played on the left of a three in Italy.
Such versatility could prove invaluable further down the line should the Italian tactician opt to switch to a three-at-the-back set-up himself.
Speed merchant Kamara
Joining from Nice, Kamara is Watford’s second left-back acquisition in as many transfer windows.
Danny Rose arrived in the summer but the former England international has disappointed to such an extent that the Hornets are reportedly looking to offload him this month.
Like Samir, Kamara impressed on debut — both defensively and in terms of his attacking qualities, using his pace to keep Newcastle on their toes.
The 27-year-old posted some impressive numbers against the Magpies, regaining possession more times than any other player in the defensive third (seven) and making the joint-most interceptions (five) among his team-mates.
He also completed both of his attempted take-ons and had the joint-most touches (75) of any Watford player.
While he operated as a No6 in the draw at St James’ Park, Kayembe sees himself as more of an all-rounder in the engine room.
The DR Congo international moved from Belgian outfit Eupen and instantly showed his new boss what he is all about, shielding the back four and spraying passes from both deeper and more advanced positions.
Kayembe’s standout moment came as he threaded an excellent through ball to Josh King from just inside the Newcastle half.
That was one of two chances the 23-year-old created in an assured first outing for the Hornets.
No Watford player completed more passes (46) or recovered the ball more times (11).
Ranieri liked what he saw on Saturday and raved about his debutants.
Speaking after the match, he said: "They were fantastic, all three fantastic.
"They give us more personality, more quality and for their debuts it was fantastic.
"I want to say thanks to the club [for signing] these players early in the transfer window."
The jury is still out on whether the trio can transform Watford's survival hopes but on first impressions, the Hornets have made some astute additions this January.