Javi Gracia would have hoped for a better result in his first Premier League game as Watford boss, being forced to share the spoils with the team three points beneath them.
A cold night in Stoke wouldn’t have helped his flu, but may have boosted his team’s confidence as they took a point from what is widely considered a tough fixture.
A tight game meant that any chance in front of goal would have proved highly valuable for either team if taken. Taking it in terms to put the pressure on each other, both teams had a combined twenty-three shots, but none found the back of the net.
This was partly down to some tight defending on display; new Watford signing Gerard Deulofeu certainly had a busy evening, working hard with his colleagues to keep a solid back line.
The Hornets attempted to sting their opponents early when, within the first two minutes, a Jose Holebas free kick found Sebastian Prodl, who could only shoot wide of Jack Butland’s goal.
Having had an early chance already, Watford fans were full of excitement and when Barcelona loanee Deulofeu was controversially brought down by Kurt Zouma, Jon Moss was certainly made aware that they were present.
Before the half was out, Watford threatened once more with Abdoulaye Doucoure flicking on from another Jose Holebas ball in, this time finding Richarlison who failed to end his goal drought, unable to tap in from close range.
The home team also threatened to score when Mame Biram Diouf sent an early diving header wide of the post, concerning but not worrying Hornets second keeper Orestis Karnezis.
The Greek number one did manage to prevent Xherdan Shaqiri from scoring what would have been a memorable volley.
The final fifteen minutes were intense, with Watford record signing Andre Gray being prevented from scoring by fellow Englishman Ryan Shawcross.
Peter Crouch tried to avoid the points being shared but failed to find the net.
In what was a very even game of football, the two newest Premier League managers both took positives as Stoke crept out of the relegation zone whilst the Hornets ended their run of defeats.
Photos Courtesy of Alan Cozzi