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How we rated the out-of-sorts Watford players against Stoke

Heurelho Gomes 5

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

Not convincing. Jermaine Jenas, on BBC 5 live, felt the Brazilian could have done better with Charlie Adam’s header and he certainly flapped a bit when the ball came back off the post. He did earlier make a smart double save to deny Bruno Martins Indi and then Xherdan Shaqiri but he won’t thank the hapless Miguel Britos for a lousy back pass on his weaker foot that he comically spooned up in the air.

Younes Kaboul 5

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Was touch and go for this game and the decision backfired as he only lasted 20 minutes before he was replaced. Having such an attacking player as Daryl Janmaat in front of him meant he was left isolated against the lively Xherdan Shaqiri, which is not a place to be when you are fully fit, let alone when you are carrying a calf problem.

Sebastian Prodl 7

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Excellent, again. Was pitched against his international teammate Marko Arnautovic and he’ll be able to talk at the next Austrian get-together about the great covering tackle he made on his countryman in the first half here. He timed it to perfection, showing he’s more than a centre-half who just heads balls away.

Miguel Britos 3

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Cannot remember him playing so poorly in a Watford shirt. His distribution was woeful and he was all at sea against Stoke’s fleet-footed attacking raiders. He was already on a booking when, with teammates covering, he stupidly tugged back Xherdan Shaqiri. It was similar brainlessness that saw him sent off, for two bookings, on his debut for Watford at Preston more than a season ago. Not the finest afternoon in his long career.

Daryl Janmaat 6

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Raided well down the right in the first half, probably too much as it left Kaboul exposed. It was a shame he was moved to the left amid a second-half reshuffle and he’s not the same force on that side. He did, however, test Lee Grant in the first half with an impressive daisy cutter with his weaker left foot.

Valon Behrami 5

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It wasn’t his day but he never threw the towel in. He was the covering midfielder when Arnautovic broke free at the start of the second half and was also the last man when Britos tugged back Shaqiri late on. We also liked the way he snapped in to Roberto Pereyra’s rescue when the Argentine was grounded and surrounded by two Stoke players, but the Swiss is docked a mark for a stupid late foul on Shaqiri that rules him out of the West Brom game.

Etienne Capoue 4

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For a creative player he didn’t half give away a lot of cheap fouls yesterday. Stoke were hit by injuries to key players in the centre of the park and this is the sort of game the supremely talented Capoue should be bossing. The fact he allowed Charlie Adam to do so showed why he’s at Watford and not at Tottenham and playing for France.

Roberto Pereyra 5

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Full of confidence, he tried a repeat of the dreamy Leicester goal from the same position but didn’t manage to get the dip or the bend. He looked a touch lightweight against Stoke’s strapping side yet, to his credit, he always wanted the ball. He ended the game at right wing-back, which didn’t help.

Jose Holebas 4

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Went down injured twice before eventually going off in a strop. A moody, petulant performance from a player who should really have had more of a go at the ring-rusty Glen Johnson. Made one excellent first-half surge into the Stoke box but that was about it.

Nordin Amrabat 4

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Threw his toys out of the pram too early once his trick of rolling his man, this time Erik Pieters, didn’t work. He was, in his defence, penalised harshly twice in quick succession on the touchline in front of the Sir Elton John Stand but he should have kept his cool and focussed instead on what he’s been good at this season.

Troy Deeney 4

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Started ok but largely one of those increasingly frequent afternoons when Deeney spends the game barking and moaning at his own teammates instead of getting his own house in order. Looked sluggish and tried to be too cute. Had the best chance of the match late on but his poorly directed header from a Janmaat cross went over the bar. It’s now six games without a goal for the captain.

Substitutes:

Christian Kabasele 6

Once he finally got his kit on, Kabasele was then lucky he didn’t became the umpteenth Watford player to be booked, for a heavy tackle with his first involvement. He recovered well and, in the second half, he was at full stretch to prevent a Charlie Adam pass setting Jonathan Walters free and made an even better block on Arnautovic closer to goal. He should start at the Hawthorns.

Odion Ighalo 4

His confidence looks absolutely shot and he’s a shadow of the player who was ripping up the Premier League this time last season.

Stefano Okaka 5

He should really have come on before the completely out of sorts Ighalo. He looked menacing and held the ball up well but he should have either hit the target or squared the ball instead of miscueing an effort into the side netting.