Stoke v Watford

Football - Premier League - 31 Jan 20:00

There's a bit of 13/10 still going about Stoke. It's probably my strongest fancy of the midweek fixtures.

Paul Lambert had the desired impact in his first game in charge, as the Potters beat Huddersfield 2-0. They looked decent on that occasion, playing to the strengths of key-men Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Chuopo-Moting. He also used Diouf as an out-and-out striker which added a focal point in attack, something that was lacking under Mark Hughes. With Stoke already out the FA Cup, Lambert has had time to work on things and get his ideas across.

Watford appointed Javi Gracia last week to replace Marcos Silva. But I'm unconvinced the Hornets run of one win in 11 league games was down to their former manager, and he's flirtation with Everton. Silva worked hard in the summer to build a British core to the side when he added Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes and sought to get the best out of experienced PL players Heurelho Gomes, Younes Kaboul and Tom Cleverley. It's not coincidence that a downturn in-form coincided with horror injuries to their key players.

Over the last few seasons, Watford have been very inconsistent, in their recent performances are alarmingly reminiscent of that.

Stoke will be confident after picking up their first win of 2018, and will be hungry to pick up another 3 points as they attempt to move away from the drop-zone.
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