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    Stoke City vs Watford Match Preview

    The last time Stoke City played in front of their own crowd they went into the fixture seeking their first win of the Premier League. It was a win that they subsequently got & going into tomorrows home game against Watford on the back of two consecutive away wins against Aston Villa & Swansea City respectively. Club captain Ryan Shawcross is fit again after his long spell out with a back problem, Jonathan Walters is also fit again after his absence in the win on Monday & the clubs leading scorer Mame Biram Diouf returns after being granted compassionate leave.

    Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has vivid memories of pitting his wits against Mark Hughes, who spent a year at Barcelona sandwiched between two stints at Manchester United. His Watford side are the lowest scorers in the league with six in nine games. The side who found goals in the Championship with regularity have not made a seamless transition in the Premier League which is most epitomised by captain Troy Deeney who is still to get off the mark & with 23 attempted shots is the highest tally of any player in the league yet to score a goal. Fortunately his strike partner Odion Ighalo has not been going through such a barren period with fives goals currently to his name.

    A win against Watford would represent Stoke's best form in four years & after seeing the Watford managers pre-match comments this was Mark Hughes's thoughts. "I read what [Flores] said and had a little smile to myself.

    "We probably won't be able to impact the game on the day as much as we did back then, but hopefully the work we have put in this week will enable us to make it another difficult afternoon for him and his team on Saturday.

    "Back-to-back wins at this level is huge, and we have seen how different the outlook of our season is now compared to what it was just three or four weeks ago."

    Tomorrows match marks the 100th time that Hughes has led Stoke out in all competitions & the first time against Watford in the league during that period. Both clubs prior to tomorrow have only met six times in the top division & Watford have prevailed on five of those occasions. The oddity in those six encounters was a Stoke win which came in March 1983. Watford have found scoring away easier than at home & with the home side only keeping one clean sheet in the last nine at the Britannia they will be hopeful that Ighalo can add to his tally & more importantly Deeney can get the elusive first Premier League goal.

    Despite Stoke's most staggered start to a season culminating in no wins after six, a win against Watford would result in Mark Hughes's best total of points accumulated from the first ten games. During his 99-match reign at Stoke he has won 39, drawn 25 & lost 35 with a 50% win ratio in his 42 matches in the league at the Britannia. With a healthy home record like that the Welshman will be hoping that a week before Halloween he won't be in for any frights for his centenary.

    Prediction: Stoke City 2 - Watford 1
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    Item Reviewed: Stoke City vs Watford Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Bola Williams
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