Why is it that Watford always save their worst performance of the season for when they play Stoke City at home?

Going into Saturday’s game, I was hopeful that we might be able to stop our rut against the Potters, but sadly, that didn’t change at the weekend, as Darren Fletcher’s early strike condemned Watford to their second defeat in a row in the Premier League.

If I’m being honest, it was probably the first time I’ve walked away from a league game this season thinking that we haven’t played well. It was like watching a completely different team to the one that had performed so well against Arsenal and Chelsea.

Watford were poor from start to finish and we never looked like getting back into the game after going behind. In possession, the Hornets were far too slow which played right into Stoke’s hands and made things far too easy for them to defend against.

While we had 70 per cent of the possession, we were rarely ever purposeful with the ball. More often than not, the Golden Boys were playing slow sideways passes which meant they found it incredibly difficult to break through Stoke’s resilient backline.

No one really looked to take the game by the scruff of its neck and drive us forward. Abdoulaye Doucoure tried his best in the second half, but we sorely missed the presence of Nathaniel Chalobah and, in particular, Roberto Pereyra. In Pereyra’s case, we really missed his creativity and ability to unlock defences with his close control and trickery.

On the rare occasions that we did threaten, our final ball was not good enough and we didn’t do enough to stretch Stoke.

One player who I do feel deserves a mention for his performance was Kiko Femenia. I thought he defended really well all game and tried to get forward at every opportunity. He was a real threat on the wings with his pace and with Andre Carrillo having a tough time ahead of him, I thought the Spaniard offered us a real outlet on the right.

When he did get in behind Stoke’s defence, he put in a couple of decent deliveries and I feel Watford should have utilised his pace a lot more at the weekend.

Femenia has proven to be an excellent signing so far and has become one of our most consistent performers since joining on a free transfer from Alaves. Long may it continue.

All in all, Saturday was a game that should be a steep learning curve for Marco Silva’s men. This won’t be the first time this season that an opposing team comes to Vicarage Road and looks to frustrate like Stoke did.

Watford have to find a way of getting past these teams, as Stoke came with a game-plan and executed it perfectly. We simply must find a way of winning ‘ugly’ if necessary.

Having lost two games in a row, it’s important we react in the right way against Everton at Goodison Park.

This is now Silva’s first real test as Watford head coach and I’m intrigued to see how the Golden Boys react on Sunday.

Bradley Hayden is the founder and sole writer of @WatfordFCBlog.