FA Cup Preview – Watford
A much needed rest from Premier League duty ahead of the international break as the Eagles renew acquaintances with Watford in yet another high profile match up.
This is no ordinary contest for the two sides, there is a huge opportunity waiting for the victors with a place in the semi finals at stake and a game at Wembley. More than that though as with a number of teams not having taken it seriously and falling by the wayside, only two of the top six are left in the competition.
Of course, if both Manchester clubs get through then the likelihood of them playing each other in the semis is very slim indeed but there is a real chance for an un-fancied Premier League side to get into a position to contest the final.
First things first, a trip to Vicarage Road and if the two games against the Hornets in the league this season are anything to go by, this will be just as tight and fiercely contested without the consideration of what may follow for the winners of this quarter final.
Even though Watford have done the double over the Eagles this season, perhaps it will be third time lucky, Palace fans will recall with fondness the FA Cup semi final a couple of seasons ago and the play off final years before that.
It will be a test for both managers, let alone players, who have both used fringe players during the FA Cup this season. Seeing Watford rest a number of first choice players last weekend at Manchester City suggests the approach Javi Gracia will take, and Roy Hodgson will be expected to do the same, even though he has not had the luxury of giving players a break.
The fact that Gracia chose to do that last weekend says everything about their aim for the remainder of the season but it could work either way. Meanwhile, the Eagles will be confident with the game being played away from Selhurst Park, on the road is where they have put in their best performances this season.
The quarter final stage is the furthest Palace have got since the run to the final in the 2015/16 season, and before that, since reaching the semi final stage in the 1994/95 season. On both occasions, Palace were thwarted by Manchester United and having avoided them so far, maybe, just maybe, we get a third crack at them should we see off a good Watford side in this quarter final.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Mamadou Sakho (knee) and Pape Souare (shoulder) remain the only two absentees for Roy Hodgson’s men.
WATFORD – The only absence for the hosts is defender Miguel Britos who is a slight doubt with a knock.
The last time the two sides met was at Selhurst Park in January when the visitors snatched all three points. It was the Eagles that took the lead going into the break courtesy of a Craig Cathcart own goal but the same player made amends by heading an equaliser and substitute Tom Cleverley came on to score the winner.
Who Scored man of the match – Adrian Mariappa (7.7)
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 12/01/2019 Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
- 26/08/2018 Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace
- 21/04/2018 Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace
- 12/12/2017 Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
- 18/03/2017 Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 09/03/2019 Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
- 02/03/2019 Burnley 1-3 Crystal Palace
- 27/02/2019 Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester United
- 23/02/2019 Leicester City 1-4 Crystal Palace
- 17/02/2019 Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Crystal Palace
Last FIVE results for Watford;
- 09/03/2019 Manchester City 3-1 Watford
- 03/03/2019 Watford 2-1 Leicester City
- 27/02/2019 Liverpool 5-0 Watford
- 22/02/2019 Cardiff City 1-5 Watford
- 15/02/2019 Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Watford
THE RECORD AGAINST WATFORD
- Played 119
- Won 49
- Drawn 27
- Lost 43
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7.25
- Etienne Capoue 7.20
- Luka Milivojevic 7.15
- Troy Deeney 7.14
ONE TO WATCH
Former clubs – Penya Bons Aires, Barcelona, Everton, Sevilla (loan), Milan (loan), Watford
The Spaniard has hit a rich vein of form after scoring three goals against relegation threatened Cardiff City a few weeks back to become the first Watford player to score a Premier League hat-trick. However, he has struggled to settle at different clubs having been sent out on loan on more than one occasion. He made his professional debut for Barcelona in 2011 and even though he managed a brief spell at Everton, Sevilla and Milan, a return to the Nou Camp came about in 2017 until Watford took him on loan the following season. The Hornets signed the Spanish international permanently last summer for a fee believed to be in the region 13million Euros.
It is anyones guess who will be victorious in this FA Cup quarter final clash and there will be many nervous fans in Vicarage Road and glued to the live coverage with a trip to Wembley at stake and a place in the semi finals. The match ups between the two sides have rarely been exciting affairs but more often than not, they have been close. There is nothing to suggest that this time will be any different. There is no chance that we are betting against Palace doing in when it counts but the defeat last weekend has knocked the confidence. 2-1 to the Eagles.
- TEB prediction – away win
- Charlotte Nash’s prediction (see link below) – away win
- Who Scored prediction – home win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 13/10
- Draw – 9/4
- Away – 21/10
- Both teams to score – 3/4
Find our what former Palace employee and Watford fan Charlotte Nash told TEB this week in The Watford View