Andre Gray's winner just two minutes after coming on earned Watford a hard fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in their FA Cup quarter-final clash at Vicarage Road.
Palace looked a totally different side in the second half, more courageous in attack, with Michy Batshuayi's pressing from the front resulting in the equaliser after 62 minutes - t
Key Talking Point
It has been a season to remember for Javi Gracia's team, well in the hunt for European football next term and enjoying a stellar cup run heading into Saturday's encounter.
After a slow start to the tie, the Hornets began to assert their dominance that their league position would suggest they would have. After
Andre Gray has now come off the bench to score the winning goal in each of Watford's last three home games across all competitions.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) 16 mars 2019
⚽️ vs. Everton
⚽️ vs. Leicester City
⚽️ vs. Crystal Palace
Super sub. pic.twitter.com/kiJxZF3aQr
Their performance was not one of glitz and glamour, yet the gritty way they ground out the win was a perfect embodiment of the club's never-say-die attitude this term.
Starting XI: Gomes
The 25-year-old has blistering pace and showcased that on numerous occasion on Saturday afternoon, pushing his team forward and running at the Palace back line. He had three efforts saved by Vicente Guaita in the first half and had he put one of those away, you feel it would put the game out of sight for the visitors.
I’ve always rated Deulofeu and he’s been great again this season. Fast and direct, with excellent technique for crossing and shooting. I’d be very happy with him at Arsenal. I also think Neves at Wolves would suit Arsenal in a Santi-esque way.— Simon Rose (@thatsimonrose) March 16, 2019
Deulofeu is really good abeg— riike (@90sretrogirl) March 16, 2019
.@BBC3CR Uneven game for Watford today. But what emotion from Gomes, who was terrific today. Andre Gray three straight home games with the match winner. Marvelous. Deulofeu man of the match with an excellent work rate. Wembley Way! Graham Taylor is smiling now! #WatfordFC— Omar Moore (@popcornreel) 16 mars 2019
I’ve always rated Deulofeu and he’s been great again this season. Fast and direct, with excellent technique for crossing and shooting. I’d be very happy with him at Arsenal. I also think Neves at Wolves would suit Arsenal in a Santi-esque way.— Simon Rose (@thatsimonrose) 16 mars 2019
Deulofeu on his day is way too good to be playing for Watford— Sean Goody (@seangoody97) 16 mars 2019
Key Talking Point
This growing rivalry between these two has escalated in recent years, with the clubs facing the next instalment of their FA Cup history in a repeat of the 2016 semi final - where the visitors eventually lost in the final to Manchester United.
Without key players Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt, their approach to the game was one of trying to gain control in midfield and feed Andros Townsend down the left whenever possible.
They started well, winning the 'ugly' side of the game but their lack of quality was noticeable as the hosts began to grow into the tie.
Their lacklustre performance was in no way due to a lack of trying, with their 3,000 away supporters pushing them on and Hodgson eager for a first ever FA Cup semi final as a manager.
A far more adventurous Palace emerged after the break and Batshuayi's leveller was just rewards for their endeavour. However, their inability to capitalise when on top ultimately cost Hodgson's men as their lack of cutting edge in the final third payed it's toll.
Starting XI: Guaita (5); Schlupp (6), Tomkins (6), Kelly (6), Wan-Bissaka (7); McArthur (7) Milivojevic (7), Kouyate (6); Meyer (6), Batshuayi (7*), Townsend (7)
Substitutes: Benteke (5)
STAR MAN - Michy Batshuayi
Up front Batshuayi cut a lonely figure, barely getting a touch of the ball in the first half and clearly frustrated with the lack of creativity in his side. Just as the signs of a good goalkeeper are when they can stay focussed to make a key save, an effective forward must do the same when hardly getting a sniff.
Michy Batshuayi has now scored five goals vs. Watford across all competitions, more than against any other English club in his career.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 16, 2019
This is only his fourth game against them. 驪 pic.twitter.com/yqPF7YdtmZ
The Belgian did just that, first coming close with a rasping drive that struck the stanchion, before pouncing on Mariappa's mistake and producing a superb finish to haul his side back into contention.
Watford can enjoy a long break with international football returning, so won't play again until the March 30 when they travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Palace have the same length of break before they travel to the John Smith's Stadium to face relegation threatened Huddersfield.
Source : 90min