GW22 Preview: Crystal Palace vs Watford

The Golden Boys pack up for Selhurst Park this weekend as they take on Crystal Palace.  In the reverse fixture, Watford controlled the game to keep their perfect start to the season going, defeating the Eagles, 2-1 on goals from Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas. After a 78′ substitution, Max Meyer connected with Wilfried Zaha, who netted, but it was too little, too late for for Palace. Not much has changed since that game week 3 fixtures, both teams have been playing good football as they meet again on Saturday.

Palace has been on a bit of a goal drought, scoring just two goals in their last three games, picking up four points on the back of two clean sheets and a tough 1-0 loss to Chelsea. Going back five games, they posted back to back wins over Leicester City and Man City. By way of comparison, Watford have been scoring very well over the period, posting five goals over the last three games . Wins against Cardiff City and  West Ham have been key in this five game stretch, with 8 points.

This could be the first week Palace get Christian Benteke back on the pitch, as he’s been sidelined with an ongoing knee injury. He did play game week 3 against Watford and Palace could use his presence on the pitch, as their goals have been from unconventional sources. Zaha has a single assist in the last 10 games with his last goal coming back in game week 5. Benteke would draw attention from defenders, creating space for Zaha to work in. Jeffrey Schlupp and Luca Milivojevic have each scored twice over the last five game weeks for Palace, while James McArthur, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew have each netted.

Watford have enjoyed their best 5-game run since they started the season 4-0-0, posting 12 points. While the 2-1 lose to Chelsea was tough, the Hornets continue to score goals, looking good in the process. It’s the seconds time in their recent run of form they’ve posted three goals Troy Deeney continues to play a major role for the Hornets, as he’s scored three goals in the last four games. All eyes continue to be on the play of Roberto Pereyra and Abdoulaye Doucoure, both midfielders have found the net recently.

Since returning from injury Gerard Deulofeu has played out of position as a forward, partnering with Deeney and Issac Success. Since game week 8, he’s posted 3 goals and 3 assists on the season, but has looked the most dangerous of the Hornet attackers. Some question as to his finishing ability, but he’s got the tools; skill, speed, explosiveness, ball control.

After the 3-3 draw at the Vitality last weekend, there is concern at the back. Ben Foster continues to keep Watford close in games, but has a single clean sheet in the last 12 games to show for his stand out performances. The defense has missed Christian Kabasele since sustaining an injury three weeks ago, calling Adrian Mariappa into service. With the lack of chances and goal seen from the recent Palace fixtures, Watford have the slight advantage in hopes they keep a clean sheet this weekend.

Crystal Palace has posted eight clean sheets on the season, as their defense continues to shine, led by in form defender Patrick Van Aanholt and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Palace conceded just a single goal in their last three games, to Chelsea two weeks ago. The Eagles could have enough at the back, as Vincente Guaita has replaced Wayne Hennessey between the posts, as he’s made 13 saves and posted three clean sheets since game week 17.

Prediction for the game, I feel the offense of Watford will be a a goal too much for Palace, as the game will end 2-1 in favor of the Golden Boys.

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