Watford will be hurting after a drubbing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur got their year off to a morose start. The Hornets had been impressive in 2016 and would have been gutted to end it in that manner. They brought in Walter Mazzarri and the Italian has not disappointed. Credit is due to the players who have implemented their manager’s vision on the pitch and they have looked a tough side to beat while retaining their attacking edge considerably.
But the display against the Lilywhites was bereft of any desire or will and it was extremely uncharacteristic of them to fail to turn up for the game.
Against Stoke City, the task is likely to be slightly easier in comparison but on its own, the game will be another test for them at the daunting Bet 365 Stadium.
Watford have had to deal with their fair share of injuries and suspensions and will be ruing the absence of a number of potential first team stars. Ahead of Stoke by only a point, a loss will see their opponents leapfrog them in the table. And the close proximity of all the teams in the bottom half ensures a dynamic change in equations after every result.
It will be a tight contest but Stoke should be looking to win at home.
Predicted 3-4-2-1 Watford Lineup Vs Stoke City
Heurelho Gomes hasn’t yet reached the peak he achieved last season and hasn’t been the most influential from the position between the sticks. He will look to have a bigger say in the scheme of things with his saves and defensive contribution.
They are likely to go with a back three and the backline has to keep out the likes of Arnautovic and Shaqiri.
Kaboul will be the right-sided centre-back with Prodl and Britos forming the rest of the backline.