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Watford pay the penalty against Palace

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Watford had their winning run ended by a resilient display from Crystal Palace. Both sides entered the game off the back of good starts in the league and Watford named an unchanged team from last week’s win at Newcastle. 

The game began with a fast tempo, with Palace attacking straight from kick off, but Bolasie blazed his shot over the bar. The first shot on target came from Watford after Deeney cut inside from the left, however his effort lacked the power to trouble the palace keeper Hennessey. The visitors responded immediately and would have taken the lead if not for the positioning of Gomes in goal as he saved well from Hangeland’s header. After this the game settled down, with neither side showing enough cutting edge in the final third to get the first goal of the game but Watford finished the half the stronger of the sides and had the last chance with a free-kick, when Almen Abdi’s effort was deflected over the bar, leaving the game evenly poised at the break.

At the start of the second half Watford were awarded a free-kick: Abdi hit a fantastic curling effort that smacked the upright, and fortunately for Crystal Palace, the rebound failed to fall for the on-rushing Watford players. They continued to press deep in the Palace half, restricting them to long balls up field, meaning they failed to utilise their abundance of pace in attack. After this spell of pressure, the away side took the game by the scruff of the neck, and began dominating proceedings.

First a great ball from Sako gave Gayle a great chance to open the scoring, but he could only hit the post and see the ball bounce into the grateful arms of Gomes. The defining moment of the game came in the 70th minute after a rash challenge on Zaha by Nyom. Cabaye stepped up and blasted the ball into the left hand corner, giving his side the lead with 20 minutes to go. Watford looked for an instant response by pushing more men forward, in search of an equaliser. Not long after the opener Palace had a great chance to double their lead, but Gayle could only poke the ball wide after some neat build up play down the left flank. Watford continued to press on for an equalizer but could not quite create any decent openings, and Crystal Palace managed to hold on to all-three points, and they jump up to 6th in the table.


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