MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 05:19:23| >> :120:20821:20821:
Aug 7, 2021 at 3pm UK at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace
3-1
Watford
Zaha (29', 54'), Benteke (87')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Deeney (83')

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Crystal Palace and Watford, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Crystal Palace and Watford round off their preparations for the new season with a friendly encounter at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.

Patrick Vieira's side claimed a 3-1 win at Reading during their most recent exhibition encounter, while Watford cruised to a 4-0 success over Doncaster Rovers.


Match preview

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira pictured in July 2021© Reuters

Cheikhou Kouyate may have been forced to take the walk of shame with just 31 minutes on the clock against Reading, but the Royals' numerical advantage did not pay dividends as 10-man Palace ran out 3-1 winners at the Select Car Leasing Stadium last Saturday.

Mainz 05 loanee Jean-Philippe Mateta opened the scoring from the penalty spot before John Swift restored parity for the hosts, but Jordan Ayew and Scott Banks both found the back of the net in the final 10 minutes to hand Palace their third victory of the summer.

The Eagles have also claimed 1-0 scalps against Walsall and Ipswich Town away from home, but their only pre-season encounter at Selhurst Park so far ended in a 2-2 stalemate with Charlton Athletic, so there is clearly no better time for Vieira to lay down a marker and secure a first home win before the Premier League resumes.

While Palace's exploits on the field are cause for optimism, transfer activity off the pitch is where some of the success stories have come for the Eagles, who are thought to be eyeing a move for Arsenal's Reiss Nelson having already added Conor Gallagher, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Michael Olise to their ranks.

Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Meanwhile, Watford's unrelenting pre-season schedule has seen Xisco Munoz's side play eight matches in the space of three weeks, and the busy schedule appeared to take its toll on the players following four games without victory before the midweek visit of Doncaster Rovers.

The Hornets had drawn to West Bromwich Albion and Stevenage either side of defeats to Brentford and Arsenal earlier in the summer but ran out convincing 4-0 winners over Doncaster, with Peter Etebo, Troy Deeney, Dan Gosling and Ashley Fletcher making the net ripple.

Munoz's side returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion in Burton upon Trent - adding to their three consecutive pre-season wins over Millwall and Colchester United (2) last month - and the clash with Palace represents one final opportunity for tweaks and experiments before their first Premier League game of the season against Aston Villa.

The newly-promoted side held Palace to a 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road during the 2019-20 Premier League season, but the Eagles claimed a 1-0 win in March 2020 - two weeks before the first coronavirus lockdown - thanks to Ayew's first-half effort.

Crystal Palace Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Watford Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W



Team News

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha pictured in July 2021© Reuters

Vieira is optimistic that star attacker Wilfried Zaha will remain a part of his era at Palace, but the Ivorian - along with Christian Benteke and Jeffrey Schlupp - missed out at Reading through a minor injury.

Zaha could recover from the knock in time to play a part this weekend, but Vieira will be reluctant to take any risks over the attacker, while Kouyate's red card last time out is inconsequential for pre-season.

Eberechi Eze continues on the long road to recovery from his devastating Achilles injury, while new arrival Olise will reportedly be assessed ahead of his side's league opener against Chelsea.

As for Watford, new signing Emmanuel Dennis had to be replaced by a trialist 57 minutes into his side's encounter with Doncaster, and the striker will certainly not be risked in this final pre-season game if Munoz can help it.

Only veteran goalkeeper Ben Foster retained his place in the side for the full 90 minutes last time out, but Daniel Bachmann could be handed some minutes here following his return from Euro 2020.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Clyne, Guehi, Kouyate, Mitchell; Riedewald, Gallagher, McArthur; Banks, Mateta, Ayew

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Kabasele, Rose; Etebo, Cleverley, Gosling; Sarr, Deeney, Sema


SM words green background

We say: Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford

Watford have so far struggled to compete with Premier League opposition during pre-season, although it would be folly to read too much into those results as teams shuffle the pack considerably mid-game.

A cagey affair could be in store as both sides seek to avoid any confidence blows in their final preparation games, but we can see Vieira's new-look Palace just edging this contest.


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How you voted: Crystal Palace vs Watford

Crystal Palace
58.1%
Draw
25.8%
Watford
16.1%
31
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Will Hughes in action for Watford on February 8, 2020
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