EPL: Watford sink Crystal Palace, win first three opening matches

Javi Gracia’s side survived a number of scares in the opening stages of the first half, but eventually broke the deadlock through Roberto Pereyra eight minutes into the second half

Watford have won their opening three matches of a top-flight season for the first time in their history courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Javi Gracia’s side survived a number of scares in the opening stages of the first half, but eventually broke the deadlock through Roberto Pereyra eight minutes into the second half.
A fluke goal from Jose Holebas set the hosts well on course for a third win from three, but Zaha pulled a goal back 12 minutes from time to give Palace a glimmer of hope late on.
However, the Hornets held out to record their best-ever start to a top-flight campaign, moving level on points with Liverpool at the top of the early Premier League table in the process.
The Hornets will have been the happier of the two sides to go into the break still level, though, and they took full advantage of their first-half let-offs by coming flying out of the blocks for the second half.
Indeed, they should have broken the deadlock just seconds after restart when Troy Deeney’s looping header was missed by Capoue but fell at the feet of Will Hughes, who saw his strike smothered by Hennessey at point-blank range.
Abdoulaye Doucoure then blasted one effort high and wide with teammates better placed in the middle before turning provider by teeing up Pereyra, who could not keep his shot down from inside the box.
Palace slowly began to settle into the second half and came close to an equaliser when Benteke chested the ball down before curling a powerful strike inches wide of the top corner – a rare highlight in another otherwise toothless display from the striker.
It proved to be a pivotal moment of the match too, with Watford doubling their advantage in serendipitous style just two minutes later when Holebas’s intended cross drifted over everyone’s heads and into the far top corner.
Joel Ward was left completely unmarked from a corner and looked certain to nod the ball past Foster from the centre of the penalty area, but instead he planted his header wide of the target when he should have scored.
The miss was the final nail in the coffin for a Palace side who see their five-match unbeaten streak away from home in the league come to an end, also falling to successive top-flight defeats for the first time since March.
Watford, meanwhile, have now won three Premier League games in a row for the first time since December 2015 and their opening three matches of a season for only the fourth time in their history, regardless of the division.

Comments