Premier League newcomers Watford head north to the Britannia on Saturday afternoon to face an in-form Stoke City side. Mark Hughes’ side head into the weekend on the back of three consecutive victories and they will feel confident about continuing to climb the table when they face the London side. While Stoke head into the game in their best form of the season, Watford will be looking for their first win since the 19th of September. The Hornets haven’t managed to collect three points since their 2-1 away win at Newcastle last month. A win on Saturday could move the Potters into the top half of the table for the first time this season and it would be a welcome sight for the supporters after what looked to be a poor start to the new season. Watford, while looking solid against most opposition, are yet to really start picking up big wins that will aide their survival chances. Is a visit to Stoke where Watford really get the three points and belief they need to reaffirm that they can survive this league? Will Mark Hughes’ side continue to climb the table? It should make for an interesting game to say the least.
Stoke City will be hoping that their star striker sticks to his return timetable and is fit again before the Watford match. Diouf is down as two days way from a return and as the sides main attacking threat he would be sorely missed if not available. Walters is also two days away from a return as well. Mark Hughes will continue to be without centre-back and captain Ryan Shawcross since he is still a week away from a return. Shay Given is also out for another week.
Watford’s injuries continues as is from there last fixture. Summer signing Jurado is still a week away from getting into the sides midfield. Defender Joel Ekstrand is their long term absentee with the centr- back set to miss another three months of action. It would wise to assume there will be little changes to the Watford squad that has played most of the season so far.
- This will be the sides first ever Premier League meeting.
- The two sides have faced each other 26 times in their history.
- The last time the two met was in March 2008. It was a 0-0 at Vicarage Road.
- Last time the two sides played at the Britannia it was also 0-0 draw in December 2007.
- Neither sides have had a clear advantage over the other in past fixtures. In their 26 meetings Watford have 11 wins, Stoke have 10 while they have drawn the other 5.
- The first meeting between the two was back in November 1982. Watford managed a 1-0 win at home that day.
- The last time Stoke beat Watford at the Britannia was back in 2004 in a League Division 1 clash.
- Stoke haven’t beaten Watford in their last 5 attempts.
Top Scorer 2014/15
Stoke City: Mame Biram Diouf (11), Jon Walters (8), Peter Crouch (8)
Watford: Troy Deeney(21), Odion Ighalo (20), Matej Vydra (16)
Chances Created 2014/15
Stoke City: Marko Arnautovic (42), Steven N’Zonzi (34), Charlie Adam (33)
Watford: Tozer (72), Matej Vydra (68), Troy Deeney (63)
Avg. Defensive Actions 2014/15
Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross (11), Marc Wilson(8), Erik Pieters (7)
Watford: Angelia (9), Ekstrand (8), Craig Cathcart (8)
Stoke City: Bojan Krkic
Before his season derailing injury last season, Bojan was well on his way to being Stoke’s key player and one of the Premier League’s top talents. Now after recovering and starting the new season a few weeks later than the rest he is picking up steam and starting to show that influence again. He won and dispatched the penalty that earned them a big three points away at Swansea. A result that not many below the top teams may replicate this season. His attacking ability and top class pedigree will begin to come to the fore for Stoke once he has a good run of matches under his belt. A home game against a newly promoted Watford should be an occasion that Bojan looks to stamp his authority not only on the game, but the Stoke side he plays for.
Watford: Odion Ighalo
Only scoring six goals so far this season will be worrying Watford supporters. What will worry them more, is that five of those goals have been scored by Odion Ighalo. His impressive goal scoring stats are a good thing but the fact he is the only one contributing will be the worry. With last season’s top scorer and club captain Troy Deeney not shouldering any of the goal scoring load, Ighalo has taken the onus upon himself. If they are to gain anything from a tough away day at the Britannia they will need the striker who can find the net and Ighalo has been just about the only player in their squad capable of scoring this season.
Given their respective forms heading into the fixture it is hard to see past a Stoke City victory at home. Not that it will be an easy victory Watford have proven to be a stern test for most opposition to break down.
1-0 Stoke win.