(Form check: WLLWLL)
Watford in a word have been inconsistent this season, one week they are beating teams like Everton, the next they are losing to Sunderland. This is their new manager, Walter Mazzarri's, first season in the Premier League, so it is understandable.
The game against opponents Crystal Palace will be one they will look to win (6/4 with bet365 - Bet Here!), they have just sacked their manager, are in poor form and are weak defensively. Watford are solid at home, and have only lost three times this season at Vicarage Road, two of those defeats were against Chelsea and Arsenal, while they beat Manchester United 3-1 there. The last home performance was a 3-2 win, which included a brace from Stefano Okaka, who bullied the Everton defenders with a commanding performance, and considering how weak Crystal Palace are defensively, he looks a good bet to again, be man of the match (14/1 with Betfred - Bet Here!). Alternatively the match winner could be Odion Ighalo, who is desperate to improve his season and will look to bag the first goal (6/1 with Betfair - Bet Here!).
Stefano Okaka will be hoping he can reproduce his two goal performance against Everton, when his side entertain Crystal Palace
The game will most likely be a high scoring one, games at Vicarage Road are usually filled with goals, only two of the fixture played there this season have produced less than three goals, making both teams to score in a Watford win seem more than likely (9/2 with Betfair - Bet Here!).
Despite the possibility of a high scoring game, Watford could use this fixture to look to tighten up defensively and grab a comfortable win, and with their opponents in disarray a clean sheet could be on the cards (21/10 with Coral - Bet Here!).
Crystal Palace's sacking of Alan Pardew is hardly surprising when you consider the numbers that indicate how poorly the South London club have been performing this season. The Eagles have lost eight of their last ten games, have failed to win away since September and are currently just outside the relegation zone in 17th. The game against Watford will be the first for new manager Sam Allarydyce, back in the spotlight after unceremoniously losing the England job.
Where most teams down in the relegation battle struggle to score goals, it is the exact opposite that has been the downfall of the club; keeping them out. Palace have conceded at least three goals in their last four away matches, making this look increasingly likely again (25/4 with Coral - Bet Here!) although the side are prolific in scoring themselves, scoring at least twice in their last three away matches, so they should make a game of it, and if they can improve defensively a 2-1 win could be achievable (11/1 bet365 - Bet Here!). Andros Townsend has endured an up and down season, but is never shy at taking a pot shot, and could try his hand at free-kicks, so he could be the one that sets off the game's scoring (10/1 with Betfair - Bet Here!).
Andros Townsend will be hoping he can be the one that can turn his sides fortunes around
The game will be highly contested, making the possibility of a clumsy challenge in the box and a goal coming from the spot a possibility (9/1 with bet365 - Bet Here). If The Eagles are to compete with Watford, they may have to score regularly and both will want to score in the first half (4/1 with bet365 - Bet Here!) to try to dominate the game from the off. However, if Palace, who are desperate for the win, want to stay in the game, they will probably need to win both halves (9/2 with Betfred - Bet Here!)
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- Crystal Palace have the third weakest defence in the Premier League.
- There have been over 2.5 goals in eight of Watford's last ten home games.
- Crystal Palace scored ten goals in their last three away games and won none of them.
- Watford have received three red cards this season already
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Crystal Palace are in disarray whilst Watford are relatively stable under new boss Mazzarri, and the Eagle's fortunes will not have been helped by their board relieving Alan Pardew of his duties, however, it wouldn't be the first time a team has won their next fixture after sacking their manager. Palace are poor defensively, and whilst Watford are not exactly Chelsea in terms of solidarity at the back, they look the more substantial in terms of defensive make-up. This game has all the hallmarks of a belter, both teams need the win, with Watford looking to remain out of the relegation battle and Palace needing to win games like these to ensure their Premier League survival.
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Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account