EPL – Stoke City vs Watford – Match Preview

EPL – Stoke City vs Watford – Match Preview


A resurgent Stoke City will face the stoic Watford at the Britannia Stadium this weekend in what is set to be a close Premier League affair.

Watford has been struggling as of late with their last win coming four matches ago, however, 15th place for a newly promoted team is a pretty good effort. Some of the games they have drawn could arguably have been wins, which could be a deciding factor at the end of the season. The Hornets’ most recent outing was against Arsenal at home, suffering a 3-0 loss where the Gunners scored three goals in 12 minutes.

On the other hand, Stoke City have redeemed themselves after a string of wins recently. The victories against Swansea City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth were only by one goal, so it does seem that they may not be in the best of form. However, the Potters have played well against better opposition and have not come away with the result.

The pressure is heavily on Stoke City to win as their fans will want an improved table position from last year and after all the money spent on new players that is entirely fair. Even though Watford are in 15th place, they could slip nearer to the relegation zone with a loss. A win for the Hornets could bring them into mid table and stop Stoke City’s recent momentum.

Key Battle – The midfield tussle

Playing at home will provide a great opportunity to play possession football for Stoke City. Stand-in captain Glenn Whelan will have to lead the squad as he has in recent games and dictate who holds the ball. Though Watford also have midfield options capable of controlling the movement of the ball, generally their strength is in counter-attacking football. If they are to compete in this match they will not need to necessarily dominate the match, but they will have to be able to control the play throughout the midfield. Mark Hughes’ men will also be required to stick to their new tactics and forget the temptation of the long ball.

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Team News

Striker Mame Diouf may be the only casualty for Stoke City, apart from Ryan Shawcross who has been on the sidelines since the beginning of the season. While Diouf does have an injury, he is still recovering emotionally from the passing of his mother. Jonathan Walters may also struggle for fitness.

On the other hand, Watford’s Jurado will be out for at least a couple of weeks and will not play against Stoke. Centre-backs Joel Ekstrand and Lloyd Doyley are the only long term injuries but with the team’s lacklustre showing against Arsenal, one would think Quique Flores will change the lineup.

The Stoke City XI will, for the most part, remain the same.



Watford has actually won more games against Stoke City over the history of the fixture, taking maximum rewards on 13 occasions while the Potters claim 11 wins. Six outings have ended in a tie.

Previous meeting

The last time they played was in the Championship during the 2008-2009 season. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, with a Stoke lineup still featuring Glenn Whelan and Ryan Shawcross. Most games between the two teams have been close and this match looks no different.


As Stoke City appear to ramp-up their campaign with key players beginning to hit their stride, they will have to be sharp and creative to breakdown Quique Flores’ defence. While it is sure to be a tightly-contested match where neither side can give up ground, expect the hosts to come out on top by the final whistle.

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