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Match Previews

The Palace Preview: Watford

11 January 2019

Crystal Palace will host a travelling, in-form Watford side this Saturday at Selhurst Park, with the two teams playing well of late and both looking to develop on successful runs starting off their respective New Years.

Watford have enjoyed an eye-catching half-season so far, currently sitting eighth in the Premier League having finished their previous campaign in 14th.

The Hornets have only lost one of their past seven games, with the Eagles having won five of their last nine. The battle between the two clubs - who have faced-off in some significant fixtures previously - will be a testing challenge showcasing two sides who will not want to let their current momentum relent.

Perhaps most famously for these two sides, Palace and Watford have competed on the hallowed turf of Wembley twice in the past five years, with the red and blues having won on both occasions.

However, away from Wembley, Palace fans will fondly recall a 4-0 win over Saturday’s opponents back in 2012, as the Eagles recorded their biggest win of the season during a year they reached the League Cup semi-finals but equally finished in a disappointing 17th place in the league.

The win over Sean Dyche’s then-club came in February, with a brace from Chris Martin and goals from Wilfried Zaha and Kagisho Dikgacoi sealing the three points for the Eagles. The result came at the medial point of a purple patch for Palace, as the south Londoners went 10 games unbeaten before letting their season go with six losses from their final nine fixtures. Watford had won three of their past four matches, drawing the other and so had gone four games unbeaten before the loss to Palace.

Playing that day was Adrian Mariappa, who, after his first stint with Watford, would go on to join the Eagles in 2013 and stay in south London for three seasons. Having parted ways with Palace in 2016, though, he went back to Hertfordshire to re-join Watford, where he currently plays. He has now featured 285 times in total for the Hornets.

Over the years, the Eagles and Watford have recorded even more high scoring results than that in 2012, including 7-1, 5-0 and 8-1 wins for Palace. More recently, the red and blues have won five of the two sides’ last nine games, drawing twice and losing the others.

Even more encouragingly, of the last seven matches between the two clubs with Palace playing at home, the Eagles have won five times including their previous two games at Selhurst Park.

One player who will be keen and able to limit any further Palace celebrations in SE25 however will be Troy Deeney, who has been involved in a goal from each of his last four Premier League games as well as netting against Woking in the FA Cup on Sunday. He has scored five league goals this season and racked up two assists, taking two of his goals in Watford’s most recent league match, a 3-3 draw with AFC Bournemouth.

Tactical overview

The Hornets tend to line up with a rather unorthodox 4-2-2-2 formation, making them solid in the middle of the pitch but flexible in that they can easily switch to 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 pragmatically depending on how their opposition are attacking or defending.

They are a well-drilled but technically capable side who often field the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue at the back of their midfield to provide assured defensive protection and allow a skilled attacking quartet more freedom when roaming forward.

Your matchday stat and ref

Eagles forward Jordan Ayew has scored more Premier League goals against Watford than he has against any other side, netting in three of his four starts against the Hornets.

Paul Tierney, who has only ever officiated one Palace win, will referee this fixture. He will be joined by assistants Ian Hussin and Simon Beck while the fourth official will be Simon Hooper.

Team News

Crystal Palace will be without Pape Souare, who dislocated his shoulder against Grimsby Town but Christian Benteke may be selected for the squad for the first time in four months.

For Watford, a full squad will be available to choose from, however Andre Gray and Christian Kabasele may not be ready to play as both have only just returned to first-team training.

Live Coverage

This match will not be shown live on television in the UK, however Palace Audio will make full commentary of the game available to fans for just £1.49. Find out more here.

If you live abroad, you can find out where to watch the match with our Worldwide TV Listings now.

Alternatively, if following from outside the United Kingdom, why not check if there is an Official Supporters' Club meeting near you? You can find the nearest one here.

If you're wanting to watch the match live in person, general admission tickets are still available for the fixture. Find out more and purchase your place among the famous Selhurst park atmosphere here!

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