By 90Min
August 26, 2018

Watford continued their 100% start to the season, joining Liverpool at the top of the table on nine points, after goals from Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas were enough to secure a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

The early stages of this one served as a reminder that it was, in fact, a London derby, with Wilfried Zaha in particular getting some special treatment. Palace dominated much of the first half without being able to find a way through a rigid Watford defence and a fantastic Ben Foster.

The second half was another story, as Watford came out of the tunnel like a hornet out of hell and went ahead through a terrific strike from Pereyra. The hosts lead was then doubled by a freak effort by Jose Holebas.

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Palace pulled one back through Zaha with 15 to go, but it proved futile, as Watford saw it out to take all three points.


WATFORD

Key Talking Point

Despite a poor first half display, Watford showed once again that they have the fortitude, as well as the ingredients, to be a good Premier League side who should be in no danger at the bottom of the table.  


They dug in and defended well when they had to, and while not everyone was at their best, they were able to kick their performance up a gear or two in the second half, and in Roberto Pereyra they had the clinical quality required to punish Crystal Palace.

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It was an encouraging all round performance which provided yet another positive result for Watford, and they will look to use it as a platform to kick on and hopefully accomplish something special this season.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Foster (8); Janmaat (7), Cathcart (6), Kabasele (6), Holebas (6); Hughes (5), Doucoure (7), Capoue (6), Pereyra (7); Gray (6), Deeney (6)

Substitutes: Sema (5), Success (N/A)


STAR MAN - Roberto Pereyra was the man who produced the magic to unlock Crystal Palace, but Ben Foster looked like the definitive pick of the bunch as far as Watford's summer transfer business goes. 

Superb early saves from a Christian Benteke header and a low drive from James McArthur served as the only reason the Hornets didn't go a couple of goals down in the first 15 minutes, and built the platform for the home side to go on and collect the three points.

WORST PLAYER - Will Hughes has been one of the hot prospects in English football for years now, but it was plain for all to see that his creative spark was wasted on the right side of midfield. Even when the Hornets improved in the second half, he looked isolated, frustrated, and never really got into the game. Not his own doing, but he was as ineffectual nonetheless. 


CRYSTAL PALACE

Key Talking Point

Once again, Palace didn't play too badly. They dominated the first half, an looked like they might have got a point out of the game after Wilfried Zaha pulled one back for them.

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And while a moment of magic from Pereyra and a howler from Hennessey ultimately cost them, they can take a number of positives from their performance. They dominated the first half, and could well have been a couple ahead going into the break.


They have three points to show for three largely positive performances so far this season, which is far from a disastrous start. If they can start turning their positive displays into wins, they should be fine. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Hennessey (6); Ward (6), Kelly (6), Sakho (7), Van Aanholt (6); Townsend (7), Milivojevic (6), McArthur (7), Schlupp (6); Zaha (6), Benteke (5)

Substitutes: Meyer (4), Sorloth (4)


STAR MAN - Andros Townsend looked the business for Palace, particularly in the first half. His creativity from the right offset the creative spark they were missing from a sub-par, frustrated Zaha performance, and he was unlucky not to come away with two or three assists. 

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WORST PLAYER - You'd like to look at it as being an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon from Christian Benteke, but unfortunately it was just another in a long string of goalless games for the big striker. 

He hit the target with a header in the first half, but at his best he would have scored it nine times out of ten, and he failed to influence the game in any substantial way before being subbed for Alexander Sorloth with five minutes to go. 


Looking Ahead

Watford face the unenviable task of welcoming Tottenham to Vicarage Road in the next round of Premier League fixtures for another London derby, and will be looking to carry their impressive form into this one and upset Spurs.

Palace, meanwhile, head back to Selhurst Park to face Southampton, hoping to take advantage of the Saints' miserable form thus far and bounce back with a win. 

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