Both sides have had an impressive start to the season and have looked like they have both improved over the summer. Watford have shown that that they have the ability in their squad to make the step up and succeed in the Premier League, with the club making some quality additions in the summer. Meanwhile Crystal Palace have again taken a step forward under Alan Pardew and look like a proven Premier League side. Both sides have added some great players during the summer and it will be a good test for both of them on Saturday.
Watford have given some really impressive performances this season, with last week’s away victory against Newcastle highlighting what Quique Sanchez Flores has brought to the club. The supporters were worried in the summer after Slavisa Jokanovic left the club, but Quique Flores has come in and pushed the club on even further. It’s too early to judge the Spaniard, however the fans will be pleased with his start. They have been playing some excellent passing football and they look very dangerous on the counter attack. Palace play a similar style of play, making it interesting to see if either are comfortable enough to dominate a game, rather than trying to play on the counter.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have continued to play well under Alan Pardew, with the signings made this summer taking them to the next level. It might be too soon to be talking about the club as a top six side, but they are headed in that direction. Pardew needs to learn from his mistakes at Newcastle as Palace are in a similar position to when he took over at St James’ Park. They have a talented squad, who will continue to grow, but they need to correct leadership to get the best out of them. Pardew has found the right tactic for his side, as they have a lot of pace and are excellent on the counter attack, but in games like these, he needs to find a way to dominate a game and still win. It will be interesting to see how he sets up against Watford.
Lloyd Doyley and Joel Ekstrand are both injured for Watford and will be missing for some time yet. There are no other concerns for Quique Sanchez going into this weekend and he is likely to play an unchanged team from their trip to St James’ Park.
Damien Delaney and Scott Dann are both doubts going into this weekend for Crystal Palace. Joel Ward and Connor Wickham are still a week away from selection. Meanwhile Mile Jedinak and Marouane Chamakh are also unavailable.
The last time these two sides met was in the 2013 play off final, in which Crystal Palace secured their place in the Premier League. Kevin Phillips scored the goal to give Palace the win in extra time. Watford will be keen to avenge that this weekend when the Eagles come to Vicarage Road.
Watford have only lost one of their opening six matches highlighting that they are well organised and difficult to beat, only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals.
Crystal Palace are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, which will be a concern for Alan Pardew as he prides his sides on being well organised.
The right back has been a standout player for Watford this season, displaying his quality in both halves of the pitch. He is a tall defender, standing at over six feet, which makes him a unique full back. He also possesses pace and strength, making him a very formidable opponent for any winger in the Premier League. Watford will need both full backs to be strong this weekend as Palace possess a lot of quality on the wings, with both Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha showing their ability in recent weeks. Last weekend, Nyom was excellent as he prevented Newcastle from creating many chances and made some incredible last ditch tackles in the final third. He was also unlucky not to score late in the game as he went on a great run, creating a chance for himself, which highlighted his attacking ability. He will be key at the weekend as Palace attack with pace and Watford will need to be well organised at the back, and time their challenges well. He will also be needed to support his own side’s attacks.
Yohan Cabaye’s transfer to Crystal Palace was one of the shocks of the summer, with many expected the Frenchman to move to a bigger club. However he moved to Selhurst Park to reunite with former manager Alan Pardew with his sights being firmly on a place in the France squad for Euro 2016. He is now the apex of a Premier League side once again and he has already shown that he is still a quality player. The midfielder made the correct decision to join Palace as the manager knows him very well and has once again found him a position in the team where he is can dictate the play. He has already settled in and that can be seen in some of the link up play with the Palace attacking line. Cabaye will be key this weekend as Palace are likely to see more of the ball and the Frenchman enjoys to get the ball as often as possible. His passing range and quality in the final third will also be crucial in deciding the outcome of the match.
Bet365 are offering odds of 6/4 on a Watford victory, so if you think the home side will win, bet here. They are offering odds of 23/10 on an away victory here. Meanwhile, Betfair are backing the draw in this match at 19/10.
It will be an interesting match as both sides play a similar style of play, therefore one will have to alter their style in this game. Both sides like to counter attack, and Watford are the home side, so the pressure will be on them to take the lionshare of the possession. They have been very good in recent weeks and shown themselves to be difficult to beat. However Crystal Palace have an excellent squad and they will be wanting to take maximum points this weekend. I think it will be an entertaining score draw.
Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace