A third game in eight days proved to be a leggy dour affair between the two sides as the hosts focused their attention on the Palace number eleven once again rather than their own performance.
7th December 2019
Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace
Vicarage Road, Watford WD18 0ER
REFEREE – Martin Atkinson
ASSISTANTS – Constantine Hatzidakis, Daniel Cook, Peter Bankes (fourth official)
VAR – Andre Marriner, Ian Hussin (assistant)
Yellow cards – Abdoulaye Doucoure (33), Wilfried Zaha (37), Craig Cathcart (39), James Tomkins (71), Kiko Femenia (86), Etienne Capoue (92)
Gary Cahill as voted for by our wonderful Twitter followers.
We always know what faces the Eagles in this fixture and this one was no different. With the players running on empty after the exertions of Tuesday night still in their bodies, this was always going to be a tough one regardless of the position of the opposition. The downside was the lack of creativity and goal scoring opportunitues but Palace battled throughout and were not bullied as has happened in previous encounters. Respecting this point is key, especially as that makes it 7 points from a possible 9 in just 8 days.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
What do us fans know who go to games? We believe the VAR chaps took a look at a couple of potential penalty decisions but let’s be honest, it felt like a pantomime all afternoon.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“A physical sometimes confrontational game was played out at Vicarage Road. The same spoiling tactics as applied last season, against Zaha in particular, ensured an ugly underwhelming disjointed contest. To our team’s credit we stood up and battled throughout the game to gain one precious point more than in the corresponding fixture last year. A return of 7 points plus consecutive clean sheets in 3 games was just reward for our performances. All 3 games had for different reasons demanded physicality and high fitness levels so maybe a drop in tempo was no surprise.
The greatest impact was probably on our offensive play as we struggled to create enough goal scoring opportunities to deserve all 3 points. It’s very rare for me to criticise match officials but Atkinson’s performance was at best inconsistent and at worst perplexing in his decision making. I hope Hodgson adds a pithy line or two in his assessment of the officials. In such a scrappy disjointed game, it was difficult to pick out individual performances today but Cahill followed closely by Guaita were influential in ensuring we kept a clean sheet. Cahill in particular is proving to be one of our best signings since promotion in 2013. Hopefully our squad now has 8 days to fully recover from knocks, bruises and fatigue. Roy can then fully prepare the team for our next game against a club just below us in the league table! Up the Palace.”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – The Spaniard was a close second in our man of the match poll with a number of good saves to preserve another clean sheet.
34 MARTIN KELLY (7) – Rarely lets the side down even when slotting in at the more unnatural right back slot.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (7 – BOOKED!) – Since returning to the side he has just got better and better. Only injury is going to see this guy out of the starting line up.
24 GARY CAHILL (7) – Back from injury and once again proved that he has been one of the more important and influential players Palace have signed since promotion.
15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) – Another defender down through injury but was unable to make an impact before being forced to leave the game. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 45 minutes for his first minutes of the season, passed and defended well. With the injuries to the backline at the moment, he could be in contention for a start next week.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6) – Wayward passing and looked off the pace. Many calling for him to be benched but that is unlikely to happen with who the next visitors to Selhurst Park are.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Stood firm in the centre of park throughout before being replaced by 22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) on 85 minutes for some much needed fresh legs.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7) – Another good game from the Scot who must be feeling it in the legs by now, certainly did not let up in this game and a big reason why we secured a point rather than returning home with a defeat.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (6 – BOOKED!) – Another frustrating afternoon, was public enemy number one once again and clearly the target of some questionable challenges and decisions. Cannot question the effort, just the anger threatened to bubble over but he just about kept a lid on it.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (6) – A threat going forward when in possession but found himself working back to help the defence more often. Replaced by 17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (6) on 73 minutes who changed the dynamic of the side and gave the hosts something different to think about. Played a part in a late push.
9 JORDAN AYEW (6) – Continued to defend from the front impressively and worked hard to create his own opportunities. Forced one great chance which he blasted over.
13 Wayne Hennessey, 6 Scott Dann, 23 Victor Camarasa, 21 Connor Wickham
26 Foster, 21 Femenia, 27 Kabasele, 15 Cathcart, 11 Masina, 23 Sarr, 16 Doucoure, 29 Capoue, 37 Pereyra, 9 Deeney, 7 Deulofeu
Substitutes – 1 Gomes, 6 Mariappa, 14 Chalobah (replaced Doucoure on 78 minutes), 18 Gray (replaced Pereyra on 77 minutes), 19 Hughes, 22 Success, 36 Foulquier
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON – “We are pleased with the point, especially after the week we have had. To go to Burnley and then play against Bournemouth with 10 men, it was a very fatigued team. It was a sterling effort from the players. We were running on empty but I’m pleased we earned a point and it’s been a good week. Gary Cahill made two fantastic challenges to stop them scoring a goal on the counter-attack, but we should have covered that better. There were a lot of tired minds and bodies, and as a result, I have to be delighted with the players’ character to ensure we came away from here with a point. It was a team effort and Jordan Ayew worked his socks off up front.”
HAYDEN MULLINS – “It was a hard-earned point and if there was one team that deserved to win it in the second half, it was probably us. I’m happy with the energy levels and the commitment. There are a couple of decisions that could have gone either way but we just didn’t really get anything clear-cut today. They are a good side but we wanted to impose the game on them. At times, I think we did that, and it is important to get the fans on side and we did. I have had a fantastic six or seven days to work with the lads every day. I absolutely loved it.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Ismaila Sarr (7.8) who also had the most shots (4) and the most dribbles (7). The most tackles were made by Kiko Femenia (3).
- Team rating: 6.61 – 6.51
- Total shots: 12 – 3
- Shots on target: 3 – 0
- Possession: 50% – 50%
- Pass success: 73% – 75%
- Dribbles: 12 – 11
- Aerials won: 23 – 21
- Tackles: 13 – 12
- Corners: 6 – 2
- Dispossessed: 7 – 11
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace have 22 points from 16 games played and sit 9th in the Premier League table, level on points with both Sheffield United in 8th and Newcastle United in 10th.
NEXT THREE FIXTURES
21/12/2019 Newcastle United
26/12/2019 West Ham United