Premier League Preview – Watford
A new chapter begins in the history of the club as Palace kick off life without Alan Pardew at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day.
New boss Sam Allardyce takes charge of his first game and even before the news of Pardew’s departure, the trip to take on Watford had plenty of significance as a match up that Palace could very much do with some points from.
The hosts are not in great form either having won one from the last five games, losing the other four. They will see this fixture as winable particularly at home but will be too well aware that the form guide in this fixture favours the Eagles who have won three out of the last five.
Find out what I told the host of the EPL Round Table Kevin DeVries about the appointment of Sam Allardyce on a special edition of the podcast.
CRYSTAL PALACE – Mathieu Flamini (groin), James Tomkins (groin), Bakary Sako (muscle), Connor Wickham (knee), Loic Remy (calf), Steve Mandanda (knee), Jonathan Benteke (knee) and Pape Souare (leg) are all out injured.
WATFORD – Sebastian Prodl (leg) and Stefano Okaka (hamstring) face late fitness tests while Roberto Pereyra (knee), Adrian Mariappa (knee) and Brice Dja Djedje (foot) miss out.
The last time these two sides met was at Wembley in April as both were bidding for a place in the FA Cup Final. An early goal from Yannick Bolasie settled the Eagles nerves but Watford fought back after the break courtesy of Troy Deeney. Palace sealed their place in the final not long after thanks to an excellent header from Connor Wickham to send the Palace faithful into raptures.
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 24/04/2016: Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
- 13/02/2016: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
- 27/09/2015: Watford 0-1 Crystal Palace
- 27/05/2013: Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
- 08/02/2013: Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 17/12/2016: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
- 14/12/2016: Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United
- 10/12/2016: Hull City 3-3 Crystal Palace
- 03/12/2016: Crystal Palace 3-0 Southampton
- 26/11/2016: Swansea City 5-4 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Watford;
- 17/12/2016: Sunderland 1-0 Watford
- 14/12/2016: Manchester City 2-0 Watford
- 10/12/2016: Watford 3-2 Everton
- 03/12/2016: West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Watford
- 27/11/2016: Watford 0-1 Stoke City
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Wilfried Zaha 7.58
- Christian Benteke 7.47
- Jose Holebas 7.18
- Etienne Capoue 7.08
ONE TO WATCH
The German born Greek international joined the Hornets from Roma in 2015 for a fee of £1.8million. He made his professional debut for Viktoria Kahl in 2005 before a move to 1860 Munchen in 2006. A move followed in 2010 to Olympiacos where he played a little under a hundred times. The move helped in his quest to play for the nation of his father as he made his first of 38 international appearances in 2011. Roma came calling for the 32 year old in 2014 who shelled out one million Euros for his services but only managed a little over twenty appearances before moving to the Premier League.
Final league position – 12th
Many can question the Watford owners for their decision to regularly change the manager but it looks to have worked this season and will likely keep them up for a third season in the top division. Walter Mazzarri is likely to oversee a higher league finish than Spaniard Quique Sanzhez Flores managed last season but you have to wonder if there has been enough improvement under the former Inter Milan and Napoli manager. Only time will tell.
- TEB prediction – away win
- Watford FC Blog prediction (see link below) – home win
- Who Scored prediction – away win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 29/20
- Draw – 9/4
- Away – 2/1
- Both teams to score – 8/11