By 90Min
January 31, 2018

Stoke and Watford played out a goalless draw in an intriguing but volatile fixture as both sides failed to secure a vital three points.

In a game that was littered with unnecessary arguments and off-the-ball fouls as the turbulent nature of the game never seemed to cease.

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The first half was a fairly lively but ultimately unsuccessful half for both sides, with the possession virtually equal but with Watford being the more productive side, taking five shots compared to Stoke's three.

The only shot on target in the first 45 minutes was Sebastian Prodl's effort that was only kept out by Jack Butland's quick movement.

Whilst Stoke did look dangerous themselves at times, Watford’s apparent dominance of the game was only due to the home side’s wastefulness in possession.

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The physical nature of both sides was very much evident, with the game having an atmosphere just waiting to explode, with three yellow cards in the first half and only 90 seconds before the book was added to after the restart.

Christian Kabasele hit the deck in the 48th minute after an off-the-ball altercation with Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf. After much deliberation with his assistants, referee Johnathan Moss booked the striker, despite huge protests from several Watford players.

After yet another incident involving a clash with Watford’s goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis clutching his face, the introduction of the red card seemed almost inevitable as foul after foul seemed to always produce an argument between opposition players.

Rare forays into the area from either side were usually met with the hands of their respective goalkeepers, one of the best chances coming from substitute Peter Crouch (who celebrated his birthday the day before) heading into the arms of Karnezis.

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Crouch was very much the focal point of Stoke’s attack after his introduction as they hoped to nick a goal at the death to gain a much needed three points.

Diouf was the man at the centre of another incident as Etienne Capoue felt that the Senegalese had intentionally followed through in an attempt to win the ball in the air following a Xherdan Shaqiri cross.

Watford suddenly turned their efforts into more football-related endeavours, with their frontline employing some brilliant pressure on the Stoke side in possession, at one point driving a Stoke thrown by the corner flag all the way back to Jack Butland at the other end of the field.

They very nearly broke the deadlock as a scrappy attempt at a clearance from Darren Fletcher came to Roberto Pereyra who’s miskick still needed to be saved by Butland.

The game lacked a substantial lack of quality, with a total of 32 shots on goal but a measly five in total being on target.

The result keeps Stoke in the relegation zone on goal difference, whilst Watford leapfrog West Ham by a single goal’s difference.

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