Stoke City v Watford Preview: Hornets look to bounce back after Spurs drubbing
Watford look to get their form back on track. Photo: Craig Mercer/ Camera Sport

Stoke City v Watford Preview: Hornets look to bounce back after Spurs drubbing

Walter Mazzarri takes his injury stricken Watford side to Stoke on Tuesday, looking to end their poor run of four consecutive defeats on the road

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Nick Allen

Watford were comprehensively beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day, whilst their hosts went down valiantly at table toppers Chelsea.

The previous meeting between the sides was at Vicarage Road in November, when a Heurelho Gomes own goal was enough to see Stoke City take all three points.

Watford's injury meltdown

Walter Mazzarri has an ever-increasing injury crisis on his hands, with every game seeming to bring a fresh injury for his squad. The latest names on that list are Juan Camilo Zuniga and Nordin Amrabat. The later will be a huge miss for Watford, picking up a knock against Spurs means he now heads to the AFCON with Morocco and wont feature at Stoke.

Amrabat and Zuniga join Isaac Success, Stefano Okaka, Daryl Janmaat, Valon Behrami, Roberto Pereyra and Brice Dja-Djedje in the treatment room.

Positives?

The one positive for the under-pressure Italian is he can bring back Miguel Britos, who returns from a one game ban. Fellow centre half Craig Cathcart made his return against Spurs and got through unscathed, which will please his manager.

Mazzari has hinted that he will take a gamble against Stoke and it is understood that he will take a huge risk by starting an un-named first team player, despite having not trained for well over a week. This move shows Mazzari is feeling the pressure and is well aware he is operating under one of the most ruthless owners in English football.

Previous meetings and form

Watford will take confidence from their recent record away at Stoke, as they are unbeaten in their last four league visits, with three wins and one draw. Performances have been lacking from Watford lately but a win at the Bet365 Stadium would send them back into the top half and ease the burden on Mazzarri.

However, the sides met twice in 2016, with Stoke winning both games. Although, before those clashes, Watford were unbeaten in six against the Potters

Stoke's home form last month will give them confidence going into tonight's clash, as they picked up seven points from a possible nine, while losing each of their away clashes. 

Watford, however, are looking for their first win in five games. 

Predicted line-ups

As mentioned, Britos may be in line for a return, while Etienne Capoue and Adlene Guediuora are likely to play in the holding midfield role. Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney are likely to lead the line again, despite not being as clinical in front of goal in recent weeks. 

Stoke will be hoping Jonathan Walters and Marc Muniesa are fit enough to play, while it would be a huge shock if Peter Crouch wasn't included after his fantastic performance against Chelsea. Marco Arnautovic returns from suspension.

Watford predicted XI: Gomes, Holebas, Britos, Prodl, Cathcart, Guediuora, Capoue, Doucoure, Sinclair, Deeney, Ighalo. 

Stoke predicted XI: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Imbula, Whelan, Shaqiri, Allen, Arnautovic, Crouch.

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