Stoke City v Watford: How could the Potters line-up against the Hornets?

Stoke City v Watford: How could the Potters line-up against the Hornets?

A look at the likely Potters line-up as they prepare to host the Hornets.

Tom Thrower

Stoke City face Watford on Saturday hoping to continue their good form. 

The Potters have earned twelve points from their last seven games, although last weekend's defeat to Bournemouth ended a six-game unbeaten run. 

With a few injuries and loss of form, Mark Hughes has a selection headache. Here's how he could set his side up to face Walter Mazzarri's side. 

The Defence

The back four and goalkeeper is a relatively simple area of the side as injuries and form mean the defence picks itself. In goal will be Lee Grant, the loanee has cemented his place as Stoke’s new number two, and with Jack Butland to return next month it remains to be seen if Mark Hughes will drop the former Derby shot-stopper.

Right-back Glen Johnson’s return will be the only change, as Phil Bardsley is out injured and the former England International will return just in time to cover the Scot’s loss. Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi and Erik Pieters will keep their places as Hughes will not drop them dur to their current form.

Defensive Midfield

There is guaranteed change in this area as Joe Allen, who started here against Bournemouth, is suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card of the campaign. Due to a poor performance from Charlie Adam last weekend, the door may be open for the return of club record signing Giannelli Imbula. Mark Hughes has suggested just as much in his press conference on Friday morning.

Paired with Imbula will most likely be Glenn Whelan who there is hope that an unrelated injury to his hamstring strain, which kept him out last weekend, will not prevent his return to action.

Imbula could feature for Stoke | Photo: Getty images / Lynne Cameron

The Attack

On the wings will be Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, the two are essential to Hughes’ Stoke plans. With Watford relying on wing backs, the two skilful players will be hoping to overload the back three and Shaqiri’s free kick ability will worry the indisciplined Watford side.

The centre forward and ‘number 10’ pairing of Wilfried Bony and Bojan Krkic is likely to remain intact. With Allen banned, Ibrahim Afellay not fit, and Stephen Ireland still injured Bojan is Stoke’s only player available in the ‘number 10’ role.  Whilst there has been no indication the Hughes will drop Bony as he has attempted to play down rumours of a move to China in January cutting the Ivorian’s loan deal short.