Crystal Palace-Watford Preview
Watford are in a confident mood after securing back-to-back league victories ahead of Sunday's match against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road.
The newly promoted Hornets (2-3-1) went four matches without a victory on their return to the Premier League before breaking their duck by beating Swansea City 1-0 at home on Sept. 12, with Odion Ighalo scoring the only goal of the match.
Watford made it two wins in a row seven days later when they beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St James' Park, and Nigeria international Ighalo again provided the offence with a brace.
The 26-year-old Ighalo has netted 20 goals in 24 league appearances in 2015, more than any other player in all top four tiers of English football.
Hornets coach Quique Sanchez Flores was delighted with the result against the Magpies, which pushed his side up into 10th place on nine points from six matches.
"I think the biggest achievement so far this season is today - to get a second win after the first win last week," Sanchez Flores told his club's website. "Two consecutive wins shows our mentality. That is what big teams do, come along after a win and win again.
"I think we are looking like a competitive team and this is because the players in the squad want to keep learning all the time. Their attitude to what they are doing is amazing and it is making good things happen on the pitch - like today."
The Eagles (3-0-3) have suffered two narrow 1-0 league defeats at home against Manchester City and away to Tottenham Hotspur and are looking for a positive result at Watford.
Palace, who made a bright start to the season with three wins in their opening four matches, are eighth in the standings on nine points.
Dwight Gayle scored a hat trick - including two penalties - as Crystal Palace beat Championship side Charlton Athletic 4-1 at Selhurst in a League Cup third-round match Wednesday.
The comfortable cup win over local London rivals Charlton will be a boost for Palace manager Adam Pardew ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road, and the manager hailed his side's display against the Addicks.
"It was a chance for every body to get up to speed and one or two played very, very well," Pardew said. "That's the opportunity they have to give me a little nudge to be playing in the first team.
"We have a good feeling, Watford have a good feeling and it's going to be a tough game."
The Hornets will be without the suspended Valon Behrami and Joel Ekstrand, who is sidelined with an ankle problem. Sanchez Flores has confirmed summer signings Adlene Guedioura, Steven Berghuis and Nathan Ake are all available.
Palace will be missing Connor Wickham (rib) and Marouane Chamakh (hamstring), while Scott Dann and Damien Delaney (both groin) are fitness doubts.
Watford and Palace last met in a tense Championship playoff final at Wembley in May 2013, which the Eagles won 1-0 on a Kevin Phillips' converted penalty to earn promotion back to the Premier League after an eight-year absence.
The Hornets took four points off Palace in that 2012-13 Championship season, winning 3-2 at Selhurst Park in August 2012 and drawing 2-2 at Vicarage Road in February 2013.
Watford have yet to concede a goal at home this term, keeping clean sheets against West Bromwich, Southampton and Swansea.
Sunday's match will be the first Premier League meeting between the Hornets and Palace.