Crystal Palace take on Watford at Selhurst Park today in a game that Palace must win if our bid for Premier League survival is to be successful.
It seem that Watford are appearing more and more in our fixtures of important games. We played them in last season’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and in the 2012 play-off final at Wembley, both games won by Palace. We’ve also played them in the play-off semi-final back in the days of Iain Dowie which we lost so it hasn’t all gone our way.
However, today’s game is at Selhurst Park, which should be to our advantage but the statistics would suggest otherwise.
The form guide so far this season has Palace bottom with Sunderland and Middlesbrough above us. In face to be out of the bottom three on home form alone we’d need 8 more points!
In contrast, if we took the away form as the league table then we’d be sitting in 10th position, Watford would be in 13th, just 3 points behind.
However, we are coming off a run of two victories and two clean sheets, one home and one away. In the last 5 games we have three victories and two defeats. Today’s opponents have a draw and a defeat in the last two games and over the last 5 they have two victories, two defeats and a draw.
So there isn’t much between us in terms of form but the last two games should give us the added confidence that we need to push on and grab a victory today.
While Watford sit in 13th position in the league they are only seven points from the bottom three so they are in danger of being dragged in to the relegation scrap if they are not careful.
Palace, on the other hand, have an awful run of games in the run in and next up after Watford we have to travel away to Chelsea and Southampton.
I would be pleased with getting 4 points from the possible 9 with a win over Watford and a point at Southampton. Chelsea will be a good training session for the defence.
Team news for today is that everyone is available apart from the long term injuries (Souare and Wickham) and Patrick van Aanholt who has been training but isn’t going to be risked for this game. Loic Remy is fit enough for the bench and Steve Mandanda is also fit for selection.
Personally, I wouldn’t put Mandanda in goal today. I am not a big fan of Hennessey but he has 2 clean sheets in a row and is is a known quantity for the defence.
So, I think the starting 11 will be the same as the one that started the last two games but with Jeffery Schlupp starting at left back in place of van Aanholt.
As usual, I can’t be at Selhurst Park but I will be watching the game in front of the TV, singing and cheering along with the rest of you.
If you are going to the game, have a good one and be safe!
Up the Palace!