Stoke City Vs Watford Fc- 02/10/2022 - Ko 1200

Discussion in 'The Hornets' Nest - Watford Chat' started by reids, Sep 21, 2022.

  1. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Who: Stoke (14th) vs Watford (10th)
    When: Sunday 2nd October - 12PM
    Where: Britannia Stadium Stoke (or Sky Sports)

    Welcome to my preview of Gameweek 11s fixture, Stoke vs Watford. As it's me doing the preview, expect lots of football nerd ****, with lots of pretty graphs and pictures. Let's begin then shall we!



    Stoke have primarily used a 3-5-2 this season, although have also used a 4-3-3 on occasion. Looking at the pass maps above we can see when building up out of the back they mostly play the ball to their wing-backs rather than moving the ball through the middle. The left side of the pitch seems to be their main focal point with the left side of the pitch (LWB/LCM/LCF) taking up more advanced positions than the right hand side of the pitch.


    We've also typically played a 5 at the back, although against Sunderland and in the 2nd half against Blackburn we lined up in a 4 at the back system, although as you can see our LDM (Choudhury) dropped deeper to receive the ball. With Sarr missing and Cathcart at right-back it was no surprise that our right hand side was lacking threat with Davis gravitating towards the left-hand side of Kamara/Sema. In the 4 at the back system our striker looks a little bit isolated. With Sarr heading off for international duty it hopefully means he'll be fit for this game which may give us more of a threat down the right hand side and give us a bit more balance if we play with 4 at the back.

    Style Of Play


    Some more pretty graphics, this quantifies a teams playing style by using a multitude of stats - some of which are self explanatory (Long Balls, Crossing) and some less so which are defined below:

    • Deep circulation: when a team starts a possession, how long do they circulate the ball around the back before moving the play forward? The longer they wait moving the play forward, the higher the score for Deep circulation.

    • Wing play: if a team has the ball in the central buildup area, how often do they play the ball out to the wings, compared to playing it forward centrally, backwards or keeping it in the central zone? The more often they play out to the wing, the higher the score for Wing play.

    • High retention: of all the passes that a team makes in a match, how many of those are in the final third? Which translates to the question: once the team is in the final third, how long do they spend there? The more passes they make in the final third, the higher the score for High retention.

    • Low block: when the opponent has the ball in the buildup area, how often do they play the ball sideways or to the wings? The more the opponent plays sideways or to the wings, the better the defending team is at restricting spaces through the middle, the higher the score for Low block for the defending team.

    • Counterpressing: when a team loses the ball in the middle and attacking third of the pitch, how much time do they take before trying to win the ball back? The quicker they try to win the ball back, the higher the score for Counterpressing.

    • Transitions: when a team wins the ball back anywhere on the pitch, do they move the ball forward towards the opponent's goal as soon as possible? Or do they consolidate/recycle possession? The more the ball is moved forward towards the opponent's goal early on in a possession, the higher the score for Transitions.
    There's some similarities between our 2 main systems namely our Deep Circulation (meaning we mess around with it at the back for ages) and Transitions (meaning we move it forward quickly once we've won the ball). These two stats may seem to conflict each other but I read it as - when we have a period of possession, we don't really know what to do with it and aren't effective at it - but when we win the ball off the opponent, that's when we try to do our damage. It's noticeable as well that our crossing has increased significantly when using 4 at the back compared to 3 at the back, although this is probably more of a result of having Davis on the pitch rather than anything to do with the system.

    Stoke are pretty much an all rounder team, with a slight focus on long-balls + crossing, which isn't much of a surprise.

    Key Matchups


    As we can see in the graph above, most of our offensive stats are mid-table range although 3 stats are some of the worst in the league, set-piece xG, set-piece shots and open play shots. The first 2 are of no surprise, we've been awful at set-pieces for some time now - however the number of open play shots we take is a surprise, compared to our xG + Shot Distance stats - to me this says when we take shots, they're generally from dangerous locations and good locations - however we struggle to create the shot in the first place. Stokes defensive stats are pretty average although they're good at pressing in their final third which is a concern considering our lack of ball-playing ability in that area.


    When we flip that round and look at our defensive stats and Stokes offensive stats there's one key area that sticks out: Set-Pieces. Stoke rank 3rd in the league for set-piece shots taken and 6th in the league for xG created from set-pieces, whereas we conceded a bunch of set-piece shots and set-piece xG - other than that our defensive stats are pretty solid and definitely play-off quality. Looking at their corners that ended in a shot (below) we can see that they like to play a chipped ball towards the back of the 6-yard area which is an area that we don't have any zonal cover in which may play into Stokes hands.



    The fact we start games slow is no secret, and that shows up in the data as well - with a big spike of our xG conceded coming in the first 10 minutes of the game. Worryingly Stoke have a spike of their xG created in the exact same time period so let's hope we start the game strong.


    Another key open play match-up that is a concern is our right hand side - this is an area where Stoke create a lot of their chances from and is an area where Watford concede a lot of chances from. When we look at Stokes key passes from those 3 areas we see a slight pattern


    This can be cleared up further by filtering those passes to low or ground passes


    So it seems like Stoke really like low passes into the penalty area from either the half space or wide areas and are effective at creating shots from those locations. Hopefully we have a good defensive fullback in these areas as this is an area I think we'll be weak from otherwise.


    - Stoke to score from a set-piece
    - Stoke to score an early (<20 mins)
    - Score draw (1-1)

    Hope you enjoyed this nerd fest!
  2. domthehornet

    domthehornet Moderator Staff Member

    Great preview Reid's, don't think our lot have the fight for this one, 2-1 Stoke.
  3. Robert Peel

    Robert Peel Reservist

    An excellent analysis. I hope you've sent this to the club.
  4. BC Hornet

    BC Hornet Academy Graduate

    Please don't send it to the club. If the players see it the confusion amongst them will be even greater
    Cthulhu likes this.
  5. Heidar

    Heidar Reservist

    I think Watford need to up their offer.
  6. wfc4ever

    wfc4ever First Team Captain

    Stoke v Stake isn’t it ?
  7. You forgot: Why: **** knows
    Lloyd and reids like this.
  8. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    Paul Peschisolido hatrick. Shaquri with a worldie in the final minutes.

    4-0 Stoke.
  9. I'm confused. Where are the pictures of Stoke slums and famous celebrities ? Famous Stoke dishes and cheeses ?
    Very difficult to prepare oneself and assess our chances without this key information.
    In the absence of any meangingful information, I'm unable to predict an outcome.
    hornmeister and reids like this.
  10. WillisWasTheWorst

    WillisWasTheWorst Its making less grammar mistake's thats important

    My mental image of Watford v Stoke games:
    1-0 Stoke (Hope I’m wrong!)
    NWH and SkylaRose like this.
  11. An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at

    An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at Academy Graduate

    Fascinating analysis. I'm impressed. So good to see some evidence to put alongside all the opinions.

    I'd love to know how you account for the many criticisms of our individual defenders on these pages, when (set pieces aside) our defence ranks in the play off positions.
  12. An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at

    An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at Academy Graduate

    I agree some players might be confused, but surely it's the job of the coaching staff to take such knowledge and from it derive easy to follow instructions for players, so that the team performance is improved.
  13. LaClusazSki

    LaClusazSki Reservist

    A stroll in the park for Stoke. 4-0 or 5-0.
  14. We will win this.
  15. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Good question and one I wasn't actually sure of just looking at the numbers, so I took a look at the maps of the open play shots we've conceded (below)


    Unsurprisingly as the xG numbers would suggest, we've faced few shots from dangerous areas - but the stats at the bottom flagged something really interesting - we concede a LOT of chances from crosses - so I set the filter to only show shots taken from open play crosses


    66.66% of our goals conceded and 47% of our xG has come from open play crosses which is utterly absurd. Looking at our midfield numbers is also interesting - out of the 44 centre-mids in the championship (to have played 600 mins or more) Choudhury ranks 2nd in the league for combined tackles and interceptions with Kayembe 15th. So to me this suggests that our midfield are doing a great job at protecting our defence, but when that fails, our defence absolutely **** the bed.
    EB Hornet, wfcmoog, Sahorn and 7 others like this.
  16. An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at

    An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at Academy Graduate

    Thanks Reids, that's really illuminating.

    As an engineer I do love a good bit of analysis.
  17. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    One minor criticism: judging by our performances so far this season, wouldn't your report be better if you used comic sans as the font?
    reids likes this.
  18. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Administrator Staff Member

    Brilliant preview reids. You really are the football egghead on here and that is not a bad thing, I love your analysis of both sides and the visuals only make it more interesting read.

    Stoke are a side we should be able to beat, but then again with our topsy turvy start to the season I cannot see us winning. It's a mid day KO on a Sunday afternoon in Stoke - a ground we generally do pretty well on, but this season it's up in the air if we put in a Blackburn, Birmingham or Preston performance. I would take a point, and the performance against Sunderland was marginally better than at Blackburn, but until we get our better player back into a system that works, we are going to just do the basics each game and not really look great. Stoke are not much better than us, so a draw would be about right, however I think we will lose, which will pile more pressure on Rob. We just don't have goals in us at the moment and with such a weak mentality defensive, we are more at risk of conceding.

    Stoke 2 Watford 0
    reids likes this.
  19. reids

    reids Squad Player

    This gave me a thought so I went back and looked at our "record breaking" defence in 20/21 as well - out of the 75 CMs in the Championship to play at least 1500 minutes our CMs ranked the following in (possession adjusted) Tackles/Interceptions per 90 mins

    Hughes - 1st
    Chalobah - 10th
    Cleverley - 21st

    We conceded 27 goals from 38.69 xG in 20/21 but:

    8 goals (29.62% of our total) + 13.67 xG (35.33%) came from set-pieces
    4 goals (14.81%) + 8.54 xG (22%) came from open play crosses

    So it makes sense to look at the record breaking goals against column and think we've got a rock solid defence, but when 44.43% of our goals conceded and 57.33% of our xG conceded came from set-pieces + crosses combined it paints quite the different picture. Shame our recruitment department didn't look at this and think we needed to buy new defenders.
  20. Diamond

    Diamond First Team

    F***ing outstanding Reids. Can you do the preview every week?
  21. RS2

    RS2 Squad Player





    Okoye, Kabasele, Sierralta, Gosling, Louza, Hungbo, Bayo.

    Stoke 2 - 0 Watford cowards

  22. K9 Hornet

    K9 Hornet Border Collie Dog

    Someone once said that the Luftwaffe didn't bomb Stoke because when they flew over it, they assumed it already had been.
  23. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    I think this highlights our formation. Wing backs can get isolated against a pair (winger and full back). And our left or right sided centre halves don't go across to cut out the crosses.

    Whomever plays centre of the 3 full backs seems to have a good game as there's plenty of cover and the 2 CDM's do a lot of work defending In front centre of the defence, but we're clearly lacking in balance across the full width of the pitch. You can see this clearly when watching games but Edwards obv wants us to have this shape. If it means we score 5 a game it's alright... But with 2 CDMs h we seem setup for the draw or narrow defeat.

    Incidentally I think our centre backs are acceptable for the quality of the league. We just don't need 3 on the pitch. 433 please.
  24. Lloyd

    Lloyd Squad Player

    I don't understand any of this but it looks very impressive
  25. reids

    reids Squad Player

    It's definitely possible, but we'll need to play more with 4 at the back to see if it's formation based or player based - we conceded once (and 0.11 xG) from open play crosses against Sunderland (and none against Blackburn in the 2nd half when we went to a back 4), although the fact that the trend was also prevalent throughout the 20/21 season when we mostly used a back 4 doesn't give me confidence!

    I did my best to make it as accessible as possible, sorry!
    RookeryDad and Lloyd like this.
  26. wfcSinatra

    wfcSinatra Predictor Choker 14/15

    Our "deep circulation" should be sky high as all we seem to do is pass from centre back to centre back. Surprised it wasn't touching the end of the diagram.
    WatfordÉire likes this.
  27. An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at

    An Ilkley Orn Baht 'at Academy Graduate

    So, our record breaking defence was more like a record breaking defensive mid-field. For me that makes much more sense of what I saw with my eyes of our defenders vs the goals conceded record.
  28. Cassetti's Beard

    Cassetti's Beard First Team

    i hop we win this 1

    u ornz
  29. Chumlax

    Chumlax Squad Player

    Absolutely brilliant preview, that also seems to happen to show that we are essentially the perfect opponent for Stoke to play against. Looking forward to it!
    reids likes this.
  30. BeersThen

    BeersThen First Year Pro

    Great preview despite most of it going over my head. Scrappy 1-1.
    reids and Supertommymooney like this.
  31. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    Welcome to the forum Christian Kabasele!
  32. Steel City Gold

    Steel City Gold First Year Pro


    I'm only a third of the way into my bottle of Montepulciano D'abruzzo (2019) Co-op Irresistible.

    My understanding of your fantastic preview may well improve during its consumption, but in case it doesn't, a couple of questions:

    1. In the photo of us defending a corner, there is a red circle. Is this part of a Spot-The-Ball competition? If 'yes', then I think the ball is nestled in the back of the net.
    2. The 'red arrows' sperm graphic. Spermatozoa of any nationality are always wriggly. I have an 'Ology' in this area of expertise.
  33. wfcwarehouse

    wfcwarehouse First Team Captain

    Superb work Reids - really interesting. Thanks.
    reids likes this.
  34. reids

    reids Squad Player

    Was highlighting how much space we leave in the area where they're most likely to attack!

    Good to know, i'll bear this in mind for next time.
  35. Steel City Gold

    Steel City Gold First Year Pro

    Maybe we go less direct and wriggle more?

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