Crystal Palace vs Watford preview: Roy Hodgson's Eagles face tricky test
Last Updated: 12/01/19 11:27pm
Crystal Palace will look to build on their resurgence in form but face a tricky test against Watford at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Palace are starting to climb the league after a fruitful spell over the festive period. They have taken 10 points from their last five games after picking up just six from their previous 11 encounters and sit 14th in the Premier League table.
The recent run has given manager Roy Hodgson hope that his team can finish in the top 10.
"We are always under pressure every match," he said.
"No more pressure than the game before, that is part and parcel of our lives as managers and players. We know what a good result can mean for us. We look above us as well, as we believe a top-10 finish is achievable for us. It is certainly a goal."
Watford are safe in mid-table, 13 points clear of relegation and nine points off Manchester United in sixth. They are four points better off than they were at the same stage last season as life under Javi Gracia remains very positive.
Christian Benteke is back and available for Crystal Palace selection for the first time since September.
The Belgian striker underwent knee surgery and has been participating in full training this week.
Palace are without defender Pape Souare, who will be missing for two months with a dislocated shoulder.
Andre Gray and Christian Kabasele have returned to training for the Hornets.
Gray has missed seven games following a leg injury, while Kabasele has been absent since he collided with a post in Watford's Boxing Day defeat to Chelsea.
Defender Sebastian Prodl (knee) is now the only absentee from Gracia's squad.
- Crystal Palace have won five of their last seven home league matches against Watford (L2), winning against the Hornets at Selhurst Park in each of the last two seasons.
- Watford are looking to complete a league double over Crystal Palace for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign.
- Crystal Palace have failed to score in more home games than any other Premier League side this season (7). However, only Liverpool (7) and Chelsea (5) have kept more home clean sheets this term than the Eagles (4).
- Watford have won 13 points from their 10 away league games this season (W3 D4 L3), just one fewer than they won on the road in the whole of 2017-18 (W4 D2 L13).
- Only Newcastle's Premier League games (44) have seen fewer goals this season than Crystal Palace's (45 - F19 A26).
- Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew has scored more Premier League goals against Watford than he has vs any other side (3), netting in three of his four starts against the Hornets.
- Watford defender Daryl Janmaat has been involved in five Premier League goals in seven appearances against Crystal Palace (2 goals, 3 assists), three more than he has against any other opponent.
- Watford's Troy Deeney has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League games (3 goals, 1 assist), more than in his previous 23 in the competition (2 goals, 1 assist).
I always say Palace will be safe from the drop because they are the only side at the bottom that can get a result against one of the big teams, like they did beating City away from home. The others couldn't do that in a month of Sundays. Watford had a good result in the FA Cup at the weekend, navigating a potential banana skin at Woking. But in the league they are a bag of revels - you never know what you are going to get from Watford - so I fancy Palace to edge this one.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)