LONDON (Reuters) - High-flying Watford welcome strugglers Stoke City to Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Saturday.
Marco Silva’s Watford side have exceeded expectations and occupy sixth place despite losing 4-2 at champions Chelsea on Saturday after having played well and led 2-1.
Stoke, who lost 2-1 at home to Bournemouth, are above the relegation zone on goal difference and the pressure is mounting on manager Mark Hughes.
Here is what the fans have to say about their clubs:
Jon Moonie, presenter of ‘From The Rookery End’ podcast
“The result last week didn’t show the full tale of the battle against Chelsea. With having to face Arsenal and then Chelsea, we feared losing our early season momentum but, in fact, we’ve added to it.
“Some fans might say that Watford need to show a reaction against Stoke. We don’t. We just need to keep showing what we can do, which is (play) some of the best football we’ve ever seen.
“I don’t pay much attention to Stoke when they’re on Match of the Day. You can see they have a bunch of talented players but they can’t seem to make it click.
“I am predicting a Watford win, and if we get going and score early I’d expect a comfortable victory with an energetic squad.
“Under the guidance of Marco Silva a fully fit team can do anything. We hope to finish in the top 10 but the dream is an FA Cup run. The mentality and ability to score in the last minute means this squad has “long cup run” written all over it.
“Magical Marco is the man we’ve been searching for since Gino Pozzo took over (the club) five years ago. I think his (Silva’s) biggest success has been in man management and he has the players pulling together. You don’t get eight points from last minute goals without a strong mentality.”
Martin Smith, editor of ‘The Oatcake’ “In my opinion, Stoke, and especially Mark Hughes, cannot afford another damaging defeat this weekend. We tend to do well at Vicarage Road and need to continue our recent form there.
“I am going for a 2-1 (win) for Stoke so hopefully we’ll see a bounce back display after Bournemouth. I have to believe in my team.
“Watford have caught everyone by surprise and Marco Silva is showing that the good job he appeared to be doing at Hull last season was no fluke. They look strong, quick and dangerous.
“Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma was good until recently, but our stand-out player so far has to be Mame Diouf. He’ll play from right wing-back to centre-forward, he gives his all and scores goals.
“Stoke have been deeply frustrating so far this season but after beating Arsenal and playing in that 2-2 draw against Manchester United, we seemed to be on the cusp of something special. However, our old failings have resurfaced and we look vulnerable.
“Mark Hughes is haemorrhaging supporters by the week at the moment. We’ve been sliding for 18 months and many have lost faith in Hughes’ ability to turn things around.
“For many fans the time for change has already passed. A few more disappointing defeats should bring the board around to that way of thinking too.”
Editing by Ken Ferris