Thursday 14 December 2017

Stoke v Watford - Story of the match

Peter Crouch made it 2-0 just after the break
Peter Crouch made it 2-0 just after the break

Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch scored either side of the interval to earn Stoke a first win in six and pile more misery on Walter Mazzarri's Watford.

Potters skipper Shawcross, whose last goal came exactly two years and two days earlier, fired past an unconvincing Heurelho Gomes in first-half stoppage time before Crouch benefited from some abject defending from Sebastian Prodl for his 98th Premier League shortly after the resumption.

The 2-0 success lifted Mark Hughes' men up to 11th in the table, above the injury-ravaged Hornets, whose head coach Mazzarri looks under increasing pressure amid fears they could be in the midst of a similar collapse to the one they suffered in the second half of last season.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Two goals away from a Peter Crouch episode of "PL 100 Club" on Sky Sports 3 every Tuesday lunchtime." - Freelance football writer Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches)

STAR MAN

Ryan Shawcross. Hasn't always looked comfortable in the three-man defence his manager has persisted with but he led a solid showing here and ended his long wait for a goal to put Stoke ahead at a key time.

DATA POINT

Having gone 19 months without scoring in the Premier League, Crouch netted for the second time in four days. It was the first time he had scored in back-to-back top flight games since February 2015.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

That Hughes felt he had to sacrifice Giannelli Imbula, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic to restore some stability. Stoke have been a joy to watch when their flair players have found form and they need to rediscover the balance between pragmatic and pretty.

RATINGS

Stoke

Lee Grant 7

Glen Johnson 7

Ryan Shawcross 8

Bruno Martins Indi 7

Mame Diouf 6

Joe Allen 7

Charlie Adam 7

Erik Pieters 6

Marko Arnautovic 6

Peter Crouch 7

Jonathan Walters 6

Substitutes

Ibrahim Afellay (on for Diouf) 6

Glenn Whelan (on for Adam) 6

Watford

Heurelho Gomes 6

Younes Kaboul 6

Sebastian Prodl 5

Christian Kabasele 6

Miguel Britos 6

Abdoulaye Doucoure 7

Adlene Guedioura 5

Valon Behrami 6

Etienne Capoue 6

Jose Holebas 6

Troy Deeney 6

Substitutes

Odion Ighalo (on for Behrami) 6

Jerome Sinclair (on for Guedioura) 6

Michael Folivi (on for Prodl) 6

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Stoke v Wolves (FA Cup, January 7)

Watford v Burton (FA Cup, January 7)

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