Premier League Preview – Watford
A trip to Vicarage Road beckons as the Eagles wind down their fifth consecutive season in the Premier League still needing points to seal a sixth at the top table.
Boss Roy Hodgson confirmed in his press conference that the club and players face an ‘unbelievably important month as we have dragged ourselves to a position where safety is within touching distance’.
In a week where Croydon Council have approved planning permission for the proposed Selhurst Park renovations, there would be no better way to celebrate with a win to all but secure safety.
Palace have returned to form at just the right time with two wins and a draw from the last five games. In contrast, the hosts have only managed one draw among defeats from the last five. Watford have in fact only beaten Palace once in the last five meetings, back in February 2016 at Selhurst Park.
Following another managerial change, the Hornets have struggled to find any kind of form to match that of their very impressive first half of the season. The sacking of Marco Silva, the blame for which was firmly laid at Everton’s door, saw the club appoint former Malaga and Rubin Kazan boss Javi Gracia.
Little was known or expected of Gracia on his arrival in England but with the drop off in form, he has a fair bit to prove going into next season. Perhaps a summer and pre-season will help the former Real Sociedad and Villarreal defensive midfielder so that he can make his own mark on this Watford team.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Connor Wickham (groin), Jeffrey Schlupp (ankle), Bakary Sako (ankle) Scott Dann (knee) and Jason Puncheon (knee) are all unavailable.
WATFORD – Jose Holebas (knock) and Andre Carillo (knock) are both slight doubts while Gerard Deulofeu (foot), Tom Cleverley (hamstring), Younes Kaboul (metatarsal), Nathaniel Chalobah (knee) and Tommie Hoban (knee) all miss out.
The last time the two sides met at Vicarage Road was the first game in charge of the Eagles for Sam Allardyce. A fantastic move by the visitors ended in a goal for Yohan Cabaye shortly before the half hour mark. The turning point was a missed penalty after Christian Beneteke was fouled in the area but the big Belgian failed to convert. The Hornets levelled things up courtesy of substitute Troy Deeney.
Who Scored man of the match – Andros Townsend (8.1)
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 12/12/2017 Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
- 18/03/2017 Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
- 26/12/2016 Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace
- 24/04/2016 Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
- 13/02/2016 Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 14/04/2018 Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
- 07/04/2018 Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace
- 31/03/2018 Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
- 17/03/2018 Huddersfield 0-2 Crystal Palace
- 10/03/2018 Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Watford;
- 14/04/2018 Huddersfield 1-0 Watford
- 07/04/2018 Watford 1-2 Burnley
- 31/03/2018 Watford 2-2 Bournemouth
- 17/03/2018 Liverpool 5-0 Watford
- 11/03/2018 Arsenal 3-0 Watford
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Wilfried Zaha 7.30
- James Tomkins 7.26
- Abdoulaye Doucoure 7.01
- Christian Kabasele 6.93
ONE TO WATCH
Former clubs – River Plate, Udinese, Juventus
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder began his career at River Plate, making his professional debut in 2008. A move to Italy and Udinese took place in 2011 which alerted Serie A giants Juventus who came calling in 2015. Pereyra signed permanently after an initial loan period. The Argentina intenational signed for Watford in 2016 on a five year deal for an undisclosed fee.
He made his international debut against Brazil in 2014 and has ten full caps to date.
Final league position -14th
It has been another disappointing second half of the season where yet again, Watford drop off to an extent that come the end of the season their final points tally will not be too far clear of the team finishing third from bottom. It has been another season of turmoil with yet another managerial change and it remains to be seen if Gracia remains in charge this summer, but this is a club crying out for some stability in the role.
- TEB prediction – away win
- The Hornets’ Nest prediction (see link below) – home win
- Who Scored prediction – away win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 9/5
- Draw – 11/5
- Away – 6/4
- Both teams to score – 8/11