Premier League
Watford0Stoke1

Watford 0-1 Stoke City

Darren Fletcher celebrates
Darren Fletcher scored in the Premier League for the first time since leaving West Brom for Stoke

Darren Fletcher said victory at Watford was "what was needed" as Stoke City held on to win away from home for the first time this season.

Fletcher scored a sweet volley from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner to ease the pressure on boss Mark Hughes.

"We had to dig in and be really solid," said the Scot. "We've been hurt by the way we've been performing.

"We needed to put in a performance for the manager and for the fans and we stepped up to the plate."

Marco Silva's Watford side, who began the day in a lofty sixth position, enjoyed long periods of possession throughout but did not have a shot until just before the hour.

Brazilian Richarlison was unable to place the ball into an open goal after good work from Andre Carrillo had stretched the Potters' defence.

Substitute Andre Gray skewed a shot wide as the home side became increasingly more hurried and frustrated.

Watford's desperation to find an equaliser almost cost them a second goal in added time as goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes came forward for a corner, but although Charlie Adam's shot towards an open goal hit the post, Stoke had done enough to claim a vital win.

Silva later described the goal his side gave up as "a gift", while a delighted Hughes said: "We aren't doing as badly as people make out and we'll be fine."

Stoke shore up suspect defence

After their 7-2 destruction by Manchester City and last weekend's 2-1 humbling at home to Bournemouth, the trip to Vicarage Road brought a much-needed reaction from Stoke.

The Potters had been at risk of making their worst start to a Premier League season, and the loss of Geoff Cameron (concussion) and Glen Johnson (illness) was far from ideal preparation for a visit to high-flying Watford.

But if Mark Hughes' side felt the pressure, they certainly did not show it.

A defensive threesome of Kurt Zouma, Ryan Shawcross and Kevin Wimmer cleared everything that was thrown at them, while Jack Butland did not face a single shot on his goal.

And this from a side who began the weekend with the Premier League's leakiest defence, with 20 goals conceded in their previous nine games.

Hughes challenged his side to "show their mettle" after the loss to Bournemouth and, while the course of their season is not fully altered by this result, the pressure on the management team has lifted slightly with favourable fixtures to come.

Watford frustrated

Opta stats
Watford dominated possession, but had nothing to show for it

Watford started with the sort of confidence you might expect from a team who began the day sixth in the Premier League, and with a chance to move into the top four.

Playmaker Roberto Pereyra missed the game through injury, but in his place Andre Carrillo seemed to compliment the in-form Richarlison.

But for all their swagger and pressure in the early stages, the home side could not find a telling response after Fletcher's opener.

Coupled with the 4-2 defeat at Chelsea, this result means Marco Silva's side have endured back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

But of greater concern was their lack of cutting edge in front of home support once more.

The late win against Arsenal a fortnight ago notwithstanding, the Hornets have taken just two further points from games at Vicarage Road this season.

'Deeney, the captain of the club, should know better'

Deeney; Allen
Joe Allen and Troy Deeney were booked for the incident in added time

And their frustration was underlined late on as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Mame Biram Diouf were cautioned for a scuffle on the touchline, before Troy Deeney and Joe Allen squared up in injury time.

Prior to the latter incident, Stoke had put the ball out of play following an injury, but rather than pass the ball back, Deeney appeared to attempt a cross into the visitors' penalty area.

Allen reacted angrily and seemed to have his face grabbed by the home striker.

Both players were booked, but Stoke boss Hughes was far from impressed with Deeney's conduct and suggested he should face further action.

"Clearly we kicked the ball out and the right thing to do in the spirit of the game is throw it back." he said,

"Deeney, the captain of the club, should know better but he shaped to play it into our box and that's why Joe reacted.

"More often than not those situations get revisited by people in authority and decisions are made as a consequence."

'Not in our image' - what they said

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "For whatever reason, people talk about pressure; in hindsight the Man City result took a bit longer to get out our system, but we've done that this week and I'm pleased as punch.

"We understood what they would try and do and it was food and drink for our centre-halves. We had the better chances, with Saido [Berahino] and Charlie [Adam] at the end - he told me he lost his bearing.

"But overall it's a good performance, we've had a tough set of fixtures."

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Fletcher winner straight off the training ground - Hughes

Watford manager Marco Silva: "In the first half we gave 45 minutes to our opponents. We were too slow and not in our normal image.

"We gave one gift, the goal. In that moment we lost our focus and they scored a good goal. The second half was mostly our team, they played with 10 men behind the ball. It is normal when a team is in that position in the table.

"We created some chances to change the score, but didn't. We tried until the end.

"We needed to do something different and in the first-half we didn't do that."

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Watford played too slow - Silva

Why Stoke love playing Watford - the stats

  • Watford have lost their last four games against Stoke, after winning four of the previous six (D2) and keeping a clean sheet in each match in that run.
  • Stoke have now won four consecutive matches against Watford for the first time since December 2004 under Tony Pulis.
  • The Hornets mustered 14 shots in the game without directing any on target; only Burnley managed more shots in a Premier League game this season without directing one on target (20 v West Brom in August).
  • Watford have suffered consecutive league defeats for the first time this season, and since losing their last six league games of 2016-17.
  • Darren Fletcher netted his first Premier League goal in his last 26 appearances in the competition, since scoring for West Brom v Sunderland on 21 January 2017.
  • Xherdan Shaqiri has been involved in four goals in his last six top-flight games (one goal, three assists), after just three goal involvements in the 19 games before that.

Man of the match - Kurt Zouma (Stoke City)

Kurt Zouma; Richarlison
In an astute defensive performance for Stoke, Kurt Zouma (left) marked Richarlison out of the game and made more clearances (12) than any other player.

What's next?

Stoke return to action with a home match against Leicester City on Saturday, 4 November (12:30 GMT); for Watford it is a trip to Merseyside to face Everton on Sunday, 5 November (16:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 21FemeníaBooked at 57mins
  • 27Kabasele
  • 3Britos
  • 25Holebas
  • 16DoucouréBooked at 87mins
  • 8Cleverley
  • 28CarrilloSubstituted forHughesat 80'minutes
  • 29CapoueSubstituted forGrayat 58'minutes
  • 11RicharlisonBooked at 76mins
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 2Janmaat
  • 6Mariappa
  • 18Gray
  • 19Hughes
  • 22Zeegelaar
  • 23Watson
  • 30Karnezis

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 6Zouma
  • 17Shawcross
  • 5Wimmer
  • 18DioufBooked at 87mins
  • 24Fletcher
  • 4AllenBooked at 90mins
  • 3Pieters
  • 22ShaqiriBooked at 85minsSubstituted forAdamat 88'minutes
  • 32SobhiSubstituted forBerahinoat 78'minutes
  • 10Choupo-MotingBooked at 62mins

Substitutes

  • 9Berahino
  • 11Rodríguez Ruiz
  • 14Afellay
  • 16Adam
  • 28Ngoy
  • 33Grant
  • 42Edwards
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
20,087

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home70%
Away30%
Shots
Home15
Away6
Shots on Target
Home0
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 0, Stoke City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 0, Stoke City 1.

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Saido Berahino following a fast break.

Attempt blocked. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Attempt blocked. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Will Hughes.

Booking

Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Joe Allen (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Stoke City. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting tries a through ball, but Saido Berahino is caught offside.

Offside, Watford. Tom Cleverley tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.

Booking

Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.

Dangerous play by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Watford) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

Booking

Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Saido Berahino (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri with a through ball.

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Watford) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Attempt blocked. José Holebas (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Richarlison.

Attempt saved. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Will Hughes replaces André Carrillo.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

Attempt blocked. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Mame Biram Diouf.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Saido Berahino replaces Ramadan Sobhi.

Foul by André Carrillo (Watford).

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Richarlison (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Richarlison (Watford).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. André Carrillo (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

Attempt blocked. Richarlison (Watford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by José Holebas.

Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Richarlison (Watford) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Miguel Britos following a set piece situation.

José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City109103562928
2Man Utd107212341923
3Tottenham106221971220
4Chelsea106131810819
5Arsenal106131913619
6Liverpool104421716116
7Watford104331518-315
8Newcastle9423108214
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield10334713-612
12Brighton9324910-111
13Stoke103251120-911
14West Brom10244913-410
15Leicester92341214-29
16West Ham102351019-99
17Swansea10226712-58
18Everton9225718-118
19Bournemouth10217614-87
20Crystal Palace10118421-174
View full Premier League table

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