Two teams on the opposite ends of 1-0 scorelines at the weekend will lock horns in Wednesday’s Premier League clash at Vicarage Road, as Watford play host to Crystal Palace.
The Hornets picked up their first victory of the Roy Hodgson era at Aston Villa last time out, while the Eagles suffered a narrow London derby defeat to Chelsea.
After 270 minutes of top-flight football failed to produce a goal for Watford under Hodgson, none other than top scorer Emmanuel Dennis snapped the Hornets’ goalless streak to hand them all three points at Aston Villa.
The Nigerian attacker’s bullet header from Ismaila Sarr’s cross settled the contest in Watford’s favour in the 78th minute, with Watford once again producing some stellar defensive work under Hodgson – who now prepares for a swift reunion with Palace – to pick up a potentially priceless three points.
Watford remain firmly embroiled in the relegation dogfight, though, as Hodgson’s side remain in the bottom three in 18th and are four points adrift of Newcastle United, so they cannot clamber their way to safety no matter what transpires this week.
However, an away victory and clean sheet could just be the catalyst for change after their 12-game winless run came to a welcome end at Villa Park, but not since the 4-1 thumping of Manchester United in November have Watford won on their own turf.
Indeed, the Hornets have lost each of their last six at Vicarage Road and have failed to find the back of the net in each of their last three, as a measly tally of seven points unsurprisingly represents the worst home record in the Premier League this term.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira reacts on February 12, 2022© Reuters
Lady luck was seemingly on Crystal Palace’s side when Chelsea paid a visit to Selhurst Park, as £97.5m man Romelu Lukaku remained largely anonymous and Hakim Ziyech saw his strike ruled out by VAR for the European champions.
However, the hard work of Patrick Vieira’s side was ultimately undone by the Moroccan attacker in the 89th minute, as he met Marcos Alonso’s cross to finish from a tight angle and extend Palace’s lowly winless streak in the top flight.
The Eagles are still searching for their first league win since the turn of the year and have now gone six in the top flight without success – a dismal streak which sees them enter the midweek round of fixtures down in 13th in the table.
Only a calamitous collapse would see Palace dragged into a relegation battle, with an eight-point chasm separating them from the bottom three, but they travel to Vicarage Road winless in seven Premier League away matches – drawing each of their last three – since that memorable Etihad victory over Manchester City back in October.
Furthermore, Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road earlier this season in the EFL Cup, with that result marking the Hornets’ sixth home game in a row without defeat against the Eagles since a 1-0 loss in September 2015.