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Match Previews

Preview: Watford On Day One

17 August 2012

Vicarage Road has been a hive of activity for the Hornets this summer. The Pozzo family, owners of Udinese and Granada, took over the club in June and instantly installed Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola as manager.

Since then, five players have joined Watford on season long loans from the Serie A and La Liga clubs, while Zola also moved quickly to add the experience of ex-Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall from QPR.

The introduction of Zola this summer meant the exit of the well-respected Sean Dyche. The former Watford defender had led his side to their highest placed league position for four years when they finished 11th last season.

Watford were last in the Premier League in the 2006/07 season and the Pozzo's will be hoping their faith in Zola is repaid, with a push for the play-offs a realistic target this season.

It's not all been incomings and new signings at Vicarage Road this summer though. The club have also seen the departure of highly rated defender and player of the year Adrian Mariappa to newly promoted Reading.

Last season Palace did the double over the Hornets, winning 2-0 at Vicarage Road and handing out a 4-0 thrashing here at Selhurst Park back in February.

Team News:

Crystal Palace: Palace boss Dougie Freedman will wait until the eleventh hour to decide on whether skipper Paddy McCarthy and Jonathan Williams will feature against the Hornets after sitting out in midweek against Exeter City. Julian Speroni is expected to come back into the starting line-up while Mile Jedinak and Jonathan Parr may feature after missing the cup victory. 

Watford: Midfielder Sean Murray and Stephen McGinn are expected to miss the opening day with injury while Fitz Hall, Alex Geijo and Steve Leo Beleck may have to wait a little bit longer to make their debut.

Friday Facts:

Aaron Wilbraham will make his 400th career appearance should he feature against Watford

This is the third time the two clubs have met in a season curtain raiser. Both previous encounters have taken place at Selhurst Par, Palace won 3-0 in 1928, while the sides played a 0-0 stalemate just four years ago.

Watford have drawn three of their last four opening fixtures, with their last defeat coming against Everton in 2006.

The Hornets have not lost on their travels since 18 February.

Head-To-Head Record (Home and Away)

Palace Wins

           Draws   Watford 

F. League




League Cup




FA Cup








Coral Betting:

Crystal Palace Win: 11/8

First Goalscorer: Odds of 11/2 are available if you fancy Aaron Wilbrahim to score on his debut against Watford. 

Match Officials:

Referee: Andy D'urso
Assistants: Paul Kelly & Andrew Laver
Fourth Official: Matt Foley


This is a Category B match and tickets are available through until kick-off. Please note the Kids A Quid

Live Commentary

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