Sunday, 25 February, 2018


Stoke City, Watford play out stalemate

Watford skipper Troy Deeney has attracted interest from West Brom this transfer window Watford skipper Troy Deeney has attracted interest from West Brom this transfer window
Bennie Garza | 02 February, 2018, 00:44

Of all the midweek Premier League fixtures to have taken place over the last couple of days, Stoke's visit of Watford was definitely the least exciting.

The 27-year-old Senegal worldwide midfielder has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal.

Whilst Stoke did look risky themselves at times, Watford's apparent dominance of the game was only due to the home side's wastefulness in possession.

Crouch was very much the focal point of Stoke's attack after his introduction as they hoped to nick a goal at the death to gain a much needed three points. Christian Kabasele fired up the hosts when he collapsed to ground clutching his face after being shoved in the chest by Mame Biram Diouf, who was shown the yellow card his adversary perhaps deserved. Adrian Mariappa did well to block Charlie Adam's shot.

Stoke came close to breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark when Orestis Karnezis blocked Xherdan Shaqiri's effort and substitute Peter Crouch headed the rebound straight at the goalkeeper. Sebastian Prödl had a shot saved inside the opening 60 seconds, Abdoulaye Doucouré's header drifted wide and Richarlison, darting across the near post, lifted the ball over from six yards out after Gerard Deulofeu, making his Watford debut following his loan move from Barcelona, crossed from the right.

Jack Butland made his first meaningful save to scramble Roberto Pereyra's shot away, but there was no saving a wretched occasion - with the drought-embattled Saido Berahino's late introduction as fitting as it was ineffective. The Hornets had conceded 44 goals going into the game - along with Huddersfield - and Stoke a league-worst 50.

- Watford have failed to win any of their first four league games in a calendar year for the second consecutive year having also done so in 2017.

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