It was Javi Gracia’s men who took all three points in a nail-biting 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road this Sunday. Second half goals from Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas clinched victory for Watford despite a late goal from Wilfred Zaha making it far from comfortable.
The Hornets started the game very slowly, struggling to maintain possession and create any meaningful chances. Etienne Capoue’s nasty challenge on Wilfred Zaha just 3 minutes in only saw yellow, despite warranted claims for worse. At the other end, Palace were looking like a side with a game plan, thwarting any forward intention from the Hornets and creating many chances for themselves. One such chance saw James McArthur through on goal only to be denied by the instinctive palm of man of the match Ben Foster.
Going into the second half, Watford could only improve having been lucky not to be 2 or 3 goals down, and improve they did. After chances for Will Hughes and Abdoulaye Doucoure, Roberto Pereyra’s stunning curling effort from outside the area increased his tally to 3 goals for the season and gave the Hornets the lead. This was quickly followed by Jose Holebas’s attempted cross picking out the top corner, doubling the lead to 2 and setting Watford on the way to a perfect start to the season.
However, with Watford’s enemy Wilfred Zaha still on the pitch, you could just tell the story was not yet finished. With only minutes to go, Zaha’s powerful effort made it a nervy final few minutes. In the final minute of the game, Joel Ward’s unchallenged header from a corner sailed just wide, with the goal gaping before him.
This victory sees the Hornets move into joint first place having won their opening 3 games in the Premier League for the first time. This victory was the perfect way to meet the difficult run of fixtures Watford have in front of them. Games against Manchester United and Tottenham can now be seen as bonus games, with any return adding to the impressive start.
Watford XI: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue, Hughes; Pereyra; Deeney, Gray.
Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey; Ward, Kelly, Sakho, van Aanholt; Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp; Benteke, Zaha