A few seasons back, it would have been difficult for any Stoke City fan to see the potential for any Watford player to be in their starting XI. How times change…
Watford are now comfortably inside the top half of the table. Five places and five points ahead of Stoke City. What might the strongest combination of the two teams?
1. Hereulho Gomes
Watford have been in relatively good form of late, losing only one in their last six – a 6-1 hammering at Anfield. Had Jack Butland been fit, the decision may have been tighter. Gomes gets the nod over Lee Grant. A good season so far from the Brazilian.
2. Glen Johnson
Neither side has had a regular right-back so far this campaign. Injuries have been the reason for much rotation. Johnson has recovered from a recent injury himself. While Daryl Janmaat has been in good form for Watford, the experience and consistency from Johnson gets him in the XI.
5. Ryan Shawcross (C)
A solid option in many central defensive partnerships. Shawcross’ growing confidence in his defensive command has helped the Stoke City back four gain some belief. Shawcross could captain this side.
6. Miguel Britos
Britos has been slightly more influential for Watford than Bruno Martins Indi has for Stoke City. The Uruguayan played a big part in a run of three clean sheets for the Hornets in October. A solid partner for Shawcross.
3. Erik Pieters
In a very tight decision – the consistency of Pieters gets the verdict over Jose Holebas. Holebas has at times been fantastic for Watford, but can easily revert to being the grey man. Slow and steady wins this race.
4. Charlie Adam
The veteran Scotsman takes up a spot in the holding role. Always capable of doing a quiet, reliable job, Adam can always help provide solidarity and physicality to any midfield.
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8. Valon Behrami
The Swiss, similar to the aforementioned Adam, goes about his business quietly. Behrami has played a part in every game for Watford this season. Capable of turning defence into attack, Behrami complements Adam in the middle nicely.
7. Roberto Pereyra
The Argentinian is usually in and around the goals for the Hornets. Scoring two and setting up three so far this campaign, Pereyra is always a threat out wide. A consistent performer.
11. Marko Arnautovic
Fighting off competition from Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Watford’s Nordin Amrabat. Slightly more dependable than his Swiss teammate, Arnautovic still hasn’t found his top gear so far this campaign. Just edges the decision.
10. Etienne Capoue
With Joe Allen absent through suspension, Capoue is an instant replacement. Both players have arguably been the top performers for their respective sides this season. Capoue leads Watford’s scoring charts with five. A must-have.
9. Troy Deeney
Spearheading the combined XI is Troy Deeney. Much more reliable and consistent than opposite number Wilfried Bony, Deeney is a headache for most defences. Despite only scoring three goals this season, Deeney has chipped in with two assists.
12. Lee Grant
13. Bruno Martins Indi
14. Younes Kaboul
15. Xherdan Shaqiri
16. Nordin Amrabat
17. Glenn Whelan
18. Wilfried Bony
So there you have it…Watford just take the majority of the representation. A fairly balanced side all over though, to be honest.
Does this one have a draw written all over it?