Watford face Crystal Palace as both hunt down FA Cup semi-final spot


Watford host fellow Premier League team Crystal Palace in the first FA Cup quarter-final fixture of the weekend.

The Hornets, who have been in fine from all season, will want to book their place in the semi-final of the competition for the first time since the 2015-16 season where they narrowly missed out on the final getting beat by runners-up Crystal Palace 2-1.

The south London club have not made it past round four since the 2015-16 season and will want to repeat the cup run they had that year to finally lift some silverware.

Watford’s cup run started in the FA Cup third round as they bypassed the first and second rounds. After a dominant display against National League South side Woking they beat them 2-0 through an early goal by midfielder Will Hughes in the 13th minute and a late goal from Troy Deeney in the 74th minute assured the Hornets that they will go onto play in the FA Cup fourth round.

In the fourth round Watford faced Newcastle away from home yet again. After a tough game that was end to end Watford came out on top with another 2-0 in the FA Cup. Goals from Andre Gray and Issac Success secured the win and progression into the next round for Javi Garcia’s men.

In the fifth round, they faced Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers away from home for the third time in this years FA Cup. After yet another tightly contested game, Watford booked their place in the quarter-finals after a 1-0 win with a goal scored in added time of the first half by Etienne Capoue.

The Eagles’ cup run also started in the third round with a home game against League Two side Grimsby. After being the dominant side the whole match Palace managed to find a way through in the 86th minute through a goal scored by Jordan Ayew which sent them into the fourth round of the competition.

Roy Hodgson’s men faced a tough tie as they hosted Tottenham in the fourth round. Two early goals from Connor Wickham and Andros Townsend secured the win for the Eagles against a tough opposition that wanted to also advance in the competition as they looked to pick up silverware.

In the fifth round Crystal Palace faced League One Doncaster Rovers. With lovely football displayed by the teams the game was filled with action at both sides with both front lines testing the goalkeepers. In the end, Palace booked their place in the quarter-final through a 2-0 away from home. Goals scored by Jeffrey Schlupp and Max Meyer were enough to see the Eagles go through.

Watford manager, Javi Garcia contemplates as he has a full strength squad to pick from meaning that it will be a tough decision for him to leave some players out of the starting 11. He said:

“It is difficult as I have all the squad ready and fit. I have to decide and suffer, and it is not easy to take these decisions. It’s my job,’ the Watford boss said at a press conference reported by the club.”

“I always decide thinking what is the best for the team. We have lots of options and all of them are high-quality players.”

“You know I never say my first XI (before the game) and today is not an exception. It is something I’ll decide before the game.”

Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson spoke on the rivalry between Watford and that it will be a great game to watch. He said:

“No, all London clubs are serious rivals and one closer to us in the table are even bigger rivals. Arsenal etc are in a different bracket to us financially.”

“We’ve not been lucky against Watford this season.”

“They’re above us in the table, but I do believe we are on a level with them. It’s one of those matches where both teams have a good chance of winning. No way can we say it’s an uneven contest.”

Team News

Crystal Palace

Left-back Pape Souare is back in training after a shoulder injury and Mamadou Sakho has picked up a bit of an injury too and uncertain he will play.


Only injury for Watford is Tommy Hoban as he is out for the rest of the season after he had a cruciate ligament surgery.


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