Mark Hughes told Troy Deeney he “should know better” after the Watford captain sparked a late melee in their 1-0 Premier League defeat by Stoke City. In stoppage-time Stoke put the ball out of play after a player went down injured, but rather than pass the ball back Deeney appeared to attempt a cross into the visitors’ penalty area. Joe Allen reacted angrily but found himself being grabbed by the face by the burly Hornets striker.
Much as we tried to convince ourselves that this was going to be a case of New Watford putting a struggling side to the sword, the day hadn’t felt right. Wonky. Our reserved table set for the wrong number of places at the restaurant. Harry the Hornet heading resignedly into the Red Lion pre-match. Empty seats in the stadium. Lots of them, despite what was officially a 20k+ gate. And a confused pre-match process involving a bagpipe recital and a minute’s silence in recognition of Remembrance Day in which nobody seemed quite sure what was happening. Wrong. Wrong.
Back to Vicarage Road again and, after a busy week, it was lovely to sit down with the crowd for the pre-match pint. I bumped into someone that I hadn’t seen for a while, a regular who had almost given up in the dark days at the end of Mazzarri’s reign. He was all smiles again, thoroughly enjoying the football as we all are. I must admit that, going into this game I was less confident than last week against Chelsea. There is something about Stoke and their negative style of play that made me think that we could struggle.