Despite returning to the bottom of the table after Swansea’s win this Saturday, Palace are in good form, unbeaten in five having not lost at Selhurst Park since September. This run has left West Brom within two points in 17th, meaning that Palace could leapfrog them out of the bottom three with a win.
Follow all of the goals as they go in below.
Eagles manager Roy Hodgson will be hoping that the controversy over Christian Benteke’s conduct in their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, where he decided to take a last-minute penalty kick ahead of normal penalty-taker Luka Milivojevic only to see his weak effort saved, will not overshadow their good recent form. He will also hope that their habit of throwing away leads, exhibited on Saturday where they conceded a Jermain Defoe equaliser and also against Everton last month, will not become too entrenched.
Watford come into this match in steady if unspectacular form, with five defeats in their past eight matches suggesting that they are still living off their early season high. The fact that they still remain comfortably in the top ten perhaps reflects more the paucity of quality outside the top six this season than Watford’s own qualities.
But the Hertfordshire outfit remain a good side, with pace and trickery out wide in Richarlison, André Carrillo and Roberto Pereyra and a powerful midfield, with Abdoulaye Doucouré running the show.
Like many teams this season, Watford have suffered from the constant team changes demanded by shifts between a three-man and four-man defence for different opponents, but they are likely to stick with the back four used in their 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Saturday. Marvin Zeegelaar’s red card in that match rules him out on Tuesday, with Jose Holebas the obvious man to come in at left-back.
Kiko Femenia and Miguel Britos both missed the Burnley game but are in training and potentially available against Palace, but Will Hughes, Stefano Okaka and Nathaniel Chalobah are likely to be out until after Christmas.
Palace’s most crucial absentee is Mamadou Sakho, ruled out for a few weeks after coming off against Bournemouth with a calf strain. Scott Dann may well deputise again after a goal from the bench on Saturday. The game will likely come too soon for Joel Ward to return from the groin strain which kept him out against Bournemouth.
What time does it start?
Crystal Palace vs Watford is at 20:00 on Tuesday night
Where can I watch it?
Highlights will be available in Match of the Day, at 22.45 on BBC1.
It’s a big game for…
Christian Benteke. A difficult season for the big Belgian went from bad to worse after his embarrassing antics on Saturday afternoon, with Hodgson refusing to defend his conduct in his post-match press conference and suggesting that his miss could even cost Palace safety at the end of the season. Whether he even starts on Tuesday is uncertain, but his status as Crystal Palace’s only striker of Premier League quality will likely once again give him a reprise.
He has 24 shots this season without a goal, and has missed eight big chances this season, behind only Álvaro Morata and Gabriel Jesus – who have scored 17 league goals between them already. But he still has 66 career Premier League goals, and undoubtedly has the physical and technical ability to pull himself out of the rut, especially with quality delivery from the likes of Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Crystal Palace are by far the most underperforming team when measured using the xG function – according to that measure, they should have scored 12.83 goals than they have, conceded 2.73 fewer, and have almost double their actual points tally, placing them seventh on the expected table.
Player to watch…
Tom Cleverley. The former Manchester United man has relished his starting birth at Vicarage Road ever since his summer move from Everton, starting every game since August and forming an impressive partnership with Abdoulaye Doucouré. He and Doucouré share the defensive work well, contributing 35 and 29 tackles this season respectively, and both have produced over 900 passes this year as well.
Cleverley produced crucial goals and assists in Watford’s victory over Arsenal and their draw with Spurs, but more than this his discipline in shielding the defence has been striking. His work in keeping Yohan Cabaye quiet will be crucial to Watford’s efforts in this game.
Previous three meetings…
Crystal Palace 1 (Deeney (OG)) Watford 0, Premier League, March 2017
Watford 1 (Deeney (pen)) Crystal Palace 1 (Cabaye), Premier League, December 2016
Crystal Palace 2 (Bolasie, Wickham) Watford 1 (Deeney), FA Cup, April 2016
Crystal Palace: DWDDD
Crystal Palace: 23/20
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