Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford: Report, Player Ratings & Reaction as Ayew Strike Settles Feisty Contest

A first half strike from Jordan Ayew was enough to secure Crystal Palace a 1-0 win over struggling Watford, in what was a feisty Premier League contest.

The visitors enjoyed the first real chance of the game, with Will Hughes wriggling into space and firing a shot just wide with just under 20 minutes played.

Soon after Palace opened the scoring, following some slack defending from the Hornets. Jordan Ayew fired an unstoppable drive past Ben Foster, despite the away side having several opportunities to clear their lines.

Jordan Ayew

Wilfried Zaha came close to doubling his side's lead after the break but he could not convert after working his way into the box with some fancy footwork.

Watford offered very little in a way of a response and Palace looked more likely to add to their lead in the second half, with Christian Benteke going close with an audacious bicycle kick. 

Here's 90min's breakdown of the game...


Key Talking Point

With just under an hour played, Zaha was involved into a standoff with Etienne Capoue, with the Ivorian pushing his hand into the Watford midfielder's face. 

The incident came after he had already picked up a caution just before half time. 

Wilfried Zaha,Etienne Capoue

Though Capoue was not innocent in the exchange the fact that Palace's star man did not receive a second yellow was quite astounding. 

Zaha can count himself very lucky that he did cost his team today by getting sent off. 

Crystal Palace Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Guita (6); Ward (7), Dann (8), Cahill (8), van Aanholt (8); McArthur (7), McCarthy (6), Kouyate (8); Ayew (7), Benteke (7), Zaha (6).

Substitutes: Milivojevic (6).

Cheikhou Kouyate


Geez, I bet ​West Ham wish they had Cheikhou Kouyate back for their relegation run-in.

The Senegal international was fantastic today, breaking up the play and not giving Watford's midfield a second's respite. 


Key Talking Point

Watford came into this game on cloud nine after dispatching of Premier League champions elect Liverpool last weekend. 

However, they also have a woeful record in front of goal, with the Hornets performing the lowest below their xG this season in the Premier League. 

It was a case of the same old story this afternoon. Watford lacked a cutting edge going forward and when they were presented with opportunities, they lacked the composure to finish them off. 

Yes, beating Jurgen Klopp's side was mightily impressive, but the Hornets are not safe from relegation yet and need to start scoring more regularly. 

Watford Player Ratings

Starting XI: Foster (6); Kiko (5), Kabasele (6), Cathcart (6), Masina (6); Hughes (7), Capoue (7), Doucoure (6); Sarr (5), Deeney (6), Pereyra (5).

Substitutes: Welbeck (6), Gray (6), Pussetto (5).

Will Hughes 

Will Hughes

​Watford really struggled to penetrate Palace's stoic defence this afternoon but every time they did cause the hosts problems, Will Hughes was at the centre.

It was a shame that he was sacrificed for an extra striker in the form of Andre Gray during the final stages. 

Looking Ahead 

​Crystal Palace face relegation threatened Bournemouth next Saturday while Watford host ​Leicester, in a game that sees Hornets boss Nigel Pearson take on his former club. 

Source : 90min