MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@SteveBowercomm: It’s amazing what a touch of momentum can do in the Premier League. After back-to-back defeats in early December, Crystal Palace were nervously looking over their shoulder.
Three wins from five and only one defeat later, they have a six-point cushion above the relegation zone. Their hard work isn’t complete though. Their results have been built on a solid defensive foundation but their lack of goals is still a concern. Incredibly, they’ve scored in only three of their 10 league games at Selhurst Park this season.
Watford needed to improve away from Vicarage Road and they have done – if they avoid defeat they’ll at least match their points total on the road from all of last season.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “We believe a top-10 finish is a distinct possibility, at least it’s got to be a goal for us.
“We know that every time we play against a team that is certainly not one of the ones that no one gives us any chance of beating, at home we need to take full advantage of that and win the game.”
Watford head coach Javi Gracia: “In this moment, maybe different things happen, but I am happy with the squad I have.
“With the players we have we can complete a very good season and if in one week something changes, we will see.
“But at the moment I prefer to value the players I have because they deserve that. We have to be demanding with the players and we have to be ambitious with them too.”
Watford are inconsistent but they always seem to score goals, which is why I have a feeling they might edge this one.
- Crystal Palace have won this fixture at Selhurst Park for the past two seasons and could equal their longest Premier League home winning streak against a single opponent, having beaten Stoke three times in a row.
- Watford could win both league meetings in a season for the first time since 2001-02 in the second tier.
- The Eagles have won three of their past five league matches, as many as in their opening 16 fixtures.
- Palace could win their first two Premier League fixtures of a calendar year for the second consecutive season.
- They have only scored in three of their 10 Premier League home games this season. It’s the worst record in the division.
- Failure to score against Watford would ensure Palace become only the third club to score fewer than six goals after 11 home matches of a Premier League season. Everton managed just three goals in 1998-99 and Huddersfield have five this season.
- Roy Hodgson’s side have kept eight Premier League clean sheets this season, a record bettered only by Liverpool (12), Chelsea (10) and Tottenham (9).
- Wilfried Zaha has failed to score or provide an assist in his last 12 league appearances.
- Jordan Ayew has scored in three of his four starts against Watford.
- Watford could equal the club top-flight record of four consecutive away matches unbeaten, set in September last season.
- The Hornets have earned 13 points away from home this season, just one fewer than in the whole of 2017-18.
- However, they’ve only managed two victories in 11 league games (D4, L5).
- Troy Deeney is vying to score in three successive Premier League away matches for the second time, having done so in October and November 2015.