Palace’s fine form came up against a slow-starting Tottenham last weekend and came unstuck. The men from Selhurst Park were a little unlucky, denied by Hugo Lloris and the frame of the goal. There was plenty of good play on show though, and Pardew will be confident they can get something out of Watford. For their part the Hornets have looked comfortable playing in the top division so far—a very respectable 10th in the league after three draws and two victories. Beating Swansea and Newcastle isn’t too shabby, and they will believe in their own ability.
The former Fulham defender almost left Crystal Palace after his one year deal expired, but ended up signing a contract extension for another year. A veteran of the league, he brings a good deal of experience and know-how to Palace’s back line that Pardew obviously values. Hangeland played well against Tottenham despite the loss, and Watford will find it tough going against him this weekend. He scored twice in 12 appearances last season and he offers a sizeable aerial threat from set pieces, offering Palace another useful avenue when someone like Cabaye is taking corners and free-kicks.
Capoue’s time at Tottenham left him as something of an enigma to English fans—at times he seemed solid and dependable in midfield, and then would disappear from the teamsheet with no reason given. Capoue himself claims that it was manager turnover that left him out in the cold, but for three managers to leave him out…that seems more than a coincidence. Determined to put it behind him, the Frenchman has played well for Watford and helped protect a successful defensive line. He will probably be tasked with shackling some of Palace’s midfielders like Puncheon and McArthur.
With his strike partner Troy Deeney feeding him, Odion Ighalo looks set to have a great season for the Hornets. He has scored four of Watford’s five league goals this season, and is clearly taking responsibility for his team. This goal against Newcastle was particularly impressive, beating the offside trap and then nonchalantly rounding the goalkeeper before slotting it home. It’s hard to believe that he’s just come up from the Championship, and if this sort of strike rate continues, Watford will have a tough time holding onto him next summer.
Sako put in a star turn at Stamford Bridge to help Crystal Palace secure a victory against Chelsea, but hasn’t been able to find the goal since. However, FLIP Sports has been impressed by the former Wolves man and is backing him to find the net again on Sunday. He scored fifteen times in a campaign that saw Wolves promoted, and he will want to show everyone what he can do at the top level.