Watford missed out on the opportunity to solidify a top four spot last weekend after pushing Chelsea close at Stamford Bridge but unfortunately for them coming away empty handed, this afternoon they will look to bounce back from that defeat as they play host to Stoke.
Marco Silva’s side certainly gave the defending champions a fright and the 4-2 scoreline does not tell the full story of what was a very entertaining encounter. With Watford 2-1 up soon after the restart they had Chelsea on the ropes but failed to land the knockout blow which would have come in the shape of a third goal.
What will make matters more frustrating is that they had chances in which to do so and kill the game off, spurned opportunities that came back to haunt them as the introduction of Michy Batshuyai turned the game on it’s head as he first leveled proceedings and then wrapped up the win for Antonio Conte’s men with a late goal.
It is the mark of where Watford have got to in such a short space of time that they are fully testing Chelsea on their own patch and considering themselves unfortunate to have come away from that particular encounter with nothing to show for it.
The signings of Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucore have been nothing short of a revelation in this first quarter of the season, the former has had a hand in more goals than any other Watford player in the Premier League this season (five – three goals, two assists).
Today they go up against a Stoke side which has conceded the most Premier League goals at present, they have shipped 20 in their first nine matches. They may be bottom of that chart but they are conversely top of the disciplinary charts with only eight yellow cards being awarded to them.
Maybe it is the fact that they have lost that rough and ready edge that is causing them problems as they hover precariously near the relegation zone. It’s only because of Everton having a worse goal difference that they are in the bottom three themselves.
This is a situation that undoubtedly has Mark Hughes in a state of concern and with now three managers losing their jobs in the first nine matches of the season, the former Wales boss knows that he can ill afford to not got any points on the board in the near future.
He would have identified the fixture against struggling Bournemouth last weekend as one that would be winnable and allow themselves some breathing space between them and the drop zone. Unfortunately Eddie Howe had other things in mind as his side picked up a much needed victory and close the gap on the teams above.
Stoke have lost four out of their last five matches with their only win in this run of games coming against Southampton at the end of last month, that was just their second victory of the season after getting the better of Arsenal back in August.
The Stoke owner Peter Coates is not a person who is trigger happy when it comes to getting rid of managers but he must be eyeing up the current situation with keen interest, it does beg the question just how much time does Mark Hughes have left.
A win today would undoubtedly alleviate the situation at least for a week or so but Stoke need to start putting together a run of results and get in the safe confines of mid table, allowing themselves to look up the table than opposed to over their shoulder.
But unfortunately for them I don’t think that run starts today as Watford are looking a class outfit as of late with their only defeats coming at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea, I fancy them to bounce back from last weekend and earn all three points. Home win.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) October 27, 2017