Watford v Crystal Palace: Zaha could make the difference in close contest

Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha's pace and trickery are crucial to Palace's chances

Andrew Atherley says the visitors could edge an entertaining match at Vicarage Road...

"Hodgson's side are unbeaten in 21 matches against teams outside the big six with Zaha in the starting line-up."

Recommended Bet
Back C Palace on draw no bet at 11/10 with Betfair Sportsbook

Watford v C Palace
Sunday 26 August, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports

Settled line-up

Watford were being talked about as potential relegation candidates but have opened the season with two wins, 2-0 at home to Brighton and even more impressively 3-1 at Burnley last weekend. The Hornets' odds have drifted significantly to 8.07/1 in the relegation market.

Javi Gracia started with the same XI in both matches and could do so again, with fitness doubts still over midfielders Nathaniel Chalobah and Gerard Deulofeu.

Wan-Bissaka suspended

Palace also started well, with a 2-0 win at promoted Fulham, but then suffered a 2-0 home defeat against Liverpool.

Exciting young right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is suspended after his red card against Liverpool. Roy Hodgson must decide whether to stick with the misfiring Christian Benteke up front or try Alexander Sorloth or Jordan Ayew. He could also give a first start to midfielder Max Meyer.

Palace strong on the road

This is a tight match to call with positives on both sides and the prospect of an entertaining match.

Watford's opening home win over Brighton took their record at Vicarage Road under Gracia to W5 D2 L1, although one of the draws was a goalless affair against Palace last April when points were at a premium in the battle to stay up.

Palace have become a highly effective away side under Hodgson with a W5 D6 L2 record on the road against teams outside the big six since he stabilised them after their disastrous start of seven straight losses last season.

The key for Palace is having Wilfried Zaha's pace and trickery in the side, especially against this type of opposition. Hodgson's side are unbeaten in 21 matches against teams outside the big six with Zaha in the starting line-up.

Watford also have talismanic names for their team sheet, principally midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and the front-two pairing of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray (Watford have won three out of three when Gracia has put them together, including both games this season).

A draw is possible but Zaha gives Palace the edge on the draw no bet at 11/10 with Betfair Sportsbook.

Goals fancied

Over 2.5 goals looks big at 2.245/4 given that both teams have scoring potential.

The Deeney-Gray combination gives Watford extra cutting edge and Palace have scored in 15 of their last 16 games against teams outside the big six with Zaha in the starting line-up.

The exception to that Palace rule was the 0-0 in this fixture last April but clean sheets are less important at this stage of the season and this match could open up.

Another attractive option is both teams to score at 9/10 with Betfair Sportsbook.

Opta Stat

Watford have won just two of their last 16 matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions (D4 L10). Palace are 3.185/40 for the win this time.

Premier League 2018-19 P/L

Staked: 1pt
Return: 0pt
P/L: -1pt

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