Two sides currently occupying comfortable positions in mid-table meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday with Watford looking to carry on their momentum from their FA Cup heroics last weekend as they host Stoke.
The Hornets’ 2-1 win at Arsenal sealed their first appearance in the last four of the FA Cup since the 2006/07 campaign, and a favourable draw against Crystal Palace has lifted hopes that they could reach the final for the first time since 1984.
It also provided a much-needed lift for Quique Sanchez Flores’ men, who have been out of sorts in the Premier League of late; they have won just two of their last 12 matches and failed to score in seven of the last nine.
History and the statistics suggest this match is unlikely to be a goal-fest; the last four matches between these two teams have seen just three goals scored, and no Premier League ground has seen less goals than the 25 scored at Vicarage Road this season.
Stoke’s disappointing 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Southampton last weekend brought their four-match unbeaten run to a halt and left them six points adrift of the final European place; the Potters look set to come up short in their pursuit of continental football.
The visitors are without a clean sheet in their last eight matches, and all but 10 of their 32 goals scored this season have been either put away or set up by their attacking trio of Bojan, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Stoke have a poor record in this fixture, having lost six of the previous seven top-flight meetings between the two teams. The Potters haven’t scored against Watford since 2004, when Gifton Noel-Williams notched the winner in a 1-0 win.
One of last weekend’s goalscorers, Odion Ighalo, is being troubled by a muscular problem and is rated as a doubt for the hosts, who are definitely without Miguel Britos and Joel Ekstrand.
Ryan Shawcross and Xherdan Shaqiri are both out for the visitors, who could also be without Erik Pieters. Phil Bardsley is back in contention for Mark Hughes’ men if Pieters fails to make it.
League Position: Watford – 14th (37 pts); Stoke – 9th (43 pts)
Last Meeting: Stoke 0-2 Watford (October 24, 2015)
Form: Watford – DLWDLL; Stoke – LWWWDL
Key Men: Watford – Troy Deeney; Stoke – Bojan
Shoot Says: Watford 1-1 Stoke