MX23RW : Wednesday, October 27 16:16:47| >> :600:114148:114148:
Sep 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Vicarage Road
StokeStoke City
Fletcher (61')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Powell (25'), Clucas (80'), Tymon (85')
Batth (90+1')

Preview: Watford vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's EFL Cup clash between Watford and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Watford play host to Stoke City in the EFL Cup third round looking to build on their solid start to the new Premier League campaign.

While the Hornets currently occupy a spot in mid-table, the Potters sit in fifth position in the Championship standings.

Match preview

Watford's Emmanuel Dennis celebrates scoring their first goal against Norwich City in the Premier League on September 18, 2021© Reuters

Having suffered three successive defeats in the Premier League, Watford were under pressure to deliver a performance and result away at Norwich City on Saturday afternoon.

Despite being pegged back before the break, Xisco's team eventually recorded a 3-1 success at Carrow Road, putting some distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

Even though it is still early days in the season, wins such as the one at the weekend could prove to be the difference between relegation and survival, something which will not be lost on their boss.

Changes will inevitably be made for this contest, but the Spaniard will be delighted with the competition for places at Carrow Road.

Emmanuel Dennis and Ismaila Sarr, two of just three players who have started every top-flight game, have now scored five goals between them in the top flight.

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Stoke have slightly lost their way in the Championship, collecting just four points from as many games and losing out to stricken Derby County at the weekend.

Nevertheless, while the Potters are sitting in the top six, Michael O'Neill can have few complaints at this stage of the campaign.

The setback at Pride Park came as a surprise, but O'Neill could see it as a blessing in disguise in the long term now that complacency should not be a factor.

While four games have passed without keeping a clean sheet, a bigger issue for Stoke is none of their squad netting more than twice in the league.

Watford EFL Cup form:
  • W

Watford form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Stoke City EFL Cup form:
  • W
  • W

Stoke City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Watford manager Xisco Munoz on September 11, 2021© Reuters

Xisco is unable to call upon midfielder Peter Etebo, who cannot face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal.

Ozan Tufan will come in for his debut, taking the place of either Juraj Kucka or Tom Cleverley, but alterations are expected elsewhere with Ashley Fletcher likely to lead the attack.

Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann should face his former club after losing his place to Ben Foster at the weekend.

Stoke are contending with a number of injury issues with O'Neill unlikely to take any risks on Morgan Fox, Joe Allen or Steven Fletcher.

However, Nick Powell could be given game time after recently returning from injury, while Demeaco Duhaney is likely to be handed a debut at right wing-back.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Ngakia, Kabasele, Sierralta, Masina; Tufan, Louza; Hernandez, Cleverley, Sema; Fletcher

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Ostigard, Batth, Wilmot; Duhaney, Sawyers, Thompson, Doughty; Powell; Brown, Surridge

SM words green background

We say: Watford 2-1 Stoke City

With both teams making an array of alterations, this is a difficult match to predict. No-one would be surprised with a penalty shootout, but we are going to back the Hornets to prevail by the odd goal in three.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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How you voted: Watford vs Stoke

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Norwich City manager Daniel Farke looks dejected after the match on September 11, 2021
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