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Report: Edouard brace sees Palace past Watford

Crystal Palace
Édouard 54' 75'
Kayembe 68'

A second-half brace from Odsonne Edouard gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Watford, sending them onto their United States tour with back-to-back pre-season victories.


  • Hodgson makes six changes as Lerma debuts
  • Andersen also starts in first 2023/24 pre-season appearance
  • Johnstone denies Watford opener three times in quick succession
  • Bayo blasts wide for visitors from the angle
  • Scrappy first half sees few clear chances
  • HT: Palace 0-0 Watford
  • Edouard comes on at half-time
  • Frenchman slots home on 54 minutes after Ayew wins possession
  • Andersen heads corner over moments later
  • Both teams make a number of second-half changes
  • Kayembe blasts in equaliser for Watford after well-worked move
  • Edouard restores Palace lead on 75 minutes with placed effort
  • FT: Palace 2-1 Watford

With their Premier League opener at Sheffield United in exactly three weeks’ time, Roy Hodgson had noted that Palace’s starting XI against Watford might provide a clearer indication of his intentions for the season.

Amidst significant downpour at Copers Cope, his side – boasting, for the first time, new signing Jefferson Lerma – came up against a Watford team themselves only two weeks away from their competitive season opener.

As a result, the match was initially played at an unusually high tempo for a pre-season affair, Watford pressing quickly and high up the pitch as Palace attempted to pick out the gaps between them.

It was certainly the kind of competitive contest the uncompromising midfield duo of Lerma and Doucouré would relish, but served up only a handful of first-half chances for either side.

Three of the best fell inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour – all in quick succession, and all for Watford. Sam Johnstone showed sharp reflexes and good positioning to first turn away Imran Louza’s low finish, and then two headers from the follow-up corner.

A scrappy remainder of the period ensued, but Watford did have one further clear opportunity, Vakoun Bayo blasting wide after managing to turn past Joachim Andersen.

Half-time saw the introduction of Edouard from the bench and the forward, having come close to opening his 23/24 account on numerous occasions against Crawley earlier in the week, did so soon after play restarted.

It stemmed from a Watford error as Daniel Bachmann’s pass out from the back was too short for his defender, allowing Jordan Ayew to race in and nick it through for Edouard. The forward possessed time, space – and impressive composure to slot in a low finish.

Palace’s tails were up, and they could have had a second moments later when Ebere Eze’s deep ball picked out Andersen in plenty of space at the far post, but the Dane – another international making his first appearance of pre-season – headed over.

As the clock ticked past the hour mark, a raft of substitutions from both benches further stemmed any momentum the game was building – but then, out of very little, Watford equalised.

It was an impressive goal, in truth, with Ryan Andrews’ quick run down the right flank creating space for the ball to reach Edo Kayembe on the edge of the ‘D’. His first-time, rising finish beat substitute ‘keeper Remi Matthews for sheer power.

But parity did not last long as, following more high pressing from Ayew and Cheick Doucouré, Edouard ­retrieved possession 25 yards from goal and – shaping to shoot inside the far post – instead placed an effort past Bachmann at the near side.

A further 15 minutes passed without much incident, but it was enough to see Palace fight their way to a second win in as many pre-season games. Next up: the bright lights of Stateside.

Palace: Johnstone (GK) (Matthews, 45), Clyne (Ward, 76), Tomkins (O’Brien, 80), Andersen (Richards, 60), Mitchell, Doucouré (Hughes, 76), Lerma (Schlupp, 60), Ahamada (Rïedewald, 80), Ayew (Rak-Sakyi, 76), Mateta (Edouard, 45), Eze (Gordon, 87)

As It Happened