Ben Foster

Ayew the hero for Palace against Watford

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Crystal Palace beat Watford 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday in a tight, feisty clash between two teams who know each other very well.

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Jordan Ayew was once again the hero for Crystal Palace as he rifled home a fine goal in the first half and Roy Hodgson‘s side held on for the all three points thanks to a third-straight shutout and 1-0 win. Nigel Pearson‘s Watford huffed and puffed but remain in the relegation scrap after they failed to build on their incredible win against Liverpool last weekend.

With the win Palace move into 10th place and have 40 points, as they are just five points off the top four. Watford remain in 17th place and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.


3 things we learned

1. Ayew having a sneaky good season: Eight goals in the Premier League is his best-ever return and Ayew has been so important to Palace, especially with Wilfried Zaha not hitting top form week in, week out this season. Ayew isn’t the most natural finisher in the world but he works hard and is taking a lot of the chances Palace create for him. He has now scored one goal on eight occasions this season and on each occasion he has scored Palace are unbeaten with six wins and two draws.

2. Watford’s inconsistency infuriating: They have now beat Liverpool, Wolves and Man United since Nigel Pearson arrived but are still in the thick of the relegation battle. Nigel Pearson’s Watford just can’t string together a run of wins against teams just above them.

3. Hodgson underrated: The 72-year-old Palace coach has led them to 11th and 12th place finishes in the last two seasons and they are now 10th. Does he get the credit he deserves? Probably not. Hodgson signed a one-year contract extension this week and after not being given funds to strengthen in January and after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sold in the summer, you have to applaud the job he has done. What you see is what you get with Hodgson. His teams are organized and grind out wins. Palace may not be the best team to watch but they are getting it done.

Man of the Match: Christian Benteke – So often a scapegoat, the center forward held the ball up, almost scored with an acrobatic effort and brought out the best in Ayew and Zaha around him. Benteke gets plenty of stick but he is finally playing regularly and even if the goals aren’t flowing he provides a focal point to Palace’s attack.


Abdoulaye Doucoure almost squeezed home a shot at the near post early on and from a corner soon after Watford caused all kinds of problems but Crystal Palace cleared.

Will Hughes then dragged a shot wide as Watford came flying out of the traps and were obviously buoyed by their win against Liverpool.

Palace then took the lead with a superb goal as Ayew smashed home from the edge of the box after a lovely flowing move down the left which saw Zaha play in Benteke who found James McArthur to assist Ayew.

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The game was very feisty with plenty of flash points, most involving Wilfried Zaha, as Watford and Etienne Capoue in particular targeted the Palace winger.

Zaha responded by going on a mazy run and forced Ben Foster into a fine stop down low as Watford’s goalkeeper stood tall.

Troy Deeney forced Vicente Guaita into a fine stop after his powerful effort from outside the box, then Christian Benteke sent one of his trademark acrobatic efforts inches wide.

WATCH: Ayew scores pretty goal to give Crystal Palace the lead

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Jordan Ayew is having one heck of a season.

The Ghanaian scored a beauty on Saturday to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead over Watford at Selhurst Park, making a bit of personal history in the process.

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The goal is his eighth of the Premier League season, a single-season high since he arrived from Lorient. He scored a career-best 12 with the Ligue 1 outfit in 2014/15.

Ayew had scored seven twice, once for Aston Villa and once for Swansea City.

Ayew’s work was pretty stuff, as he dug a ball out from his feet to lash a shot past Watford stalwart Ben Foster.

Fernandes runs the show as Manchester United crushes Watford

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images
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Bruno Fernandes scored a goal and helped set up two as Manchester United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Anthony Martial recorded United’s second goal with a magical finish off his own rebound after Fernandes sent him through on goal, while Mason Greenwood added a late goal after a 1-2 with the Portuguese.

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United is now fifth with 41 points, three points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

Watford had a goal chalked off by VAR, and remains in the bottom three with 24 points. That’s one point off 17th and two off 16th.


Three things we learned

1. Bruno as advertised: There was no question Fernandes addressed a need for the Old Trafford set, but few would’ve seen the Portuguese revolutionizing the team’s attack so quickly (and also underlining how badly United has missed Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba). It’s not silly to say Fernandes could’ve had four assists on the day. Magnificent stuff from the 25-year-old. No surprise he has Cristiano Ronaldo’s endorsement.

2. Greenwood shows another glimpse: The Mason Greenwood hype train hasn’t been as pronounced as Marcus Rashford’s of years past, and we’re grateful for that. But his shoulder move and sick cut before dribbling 50 yards to combine with Fernandes on the third goal of the game was gorgeous stuff. More hope for the future.

3. This: It’s easy to forget the heights of which somewhat-mercurial Anthony Martial is capable.

Man of the Match: Fernandes had four key passes and was perfect in his take-ons and ground duels. Incredible show.


Poor communication between Harry Maguire and Nemanja Matic sprung Troy Deeney toward goal, but United left back Luke Shaw saved his teammates further blushes with a block.

Abdoulaye Doucoure then ran onto a dummied Gerard Deulofeu pass but found himself closed down by David De Gea.

United should’ve been up through Wan-Bissaka when Foster parried a cross onto his path, but the English back struck the ball tamely into the outside of the goal.

Bruno Fernandes led a terrific 38th-minute move, and Daniel James eventually teed up Fred for a shot that curled wide of the goal.

The January signing danced past Ben Foster and hit the deck when the Watford goalkeeper went to ground. VAR stayed with the call on the field, and Fernandes finished well with a little hop step.

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Deeney looked to have made it 1-1 in the 52nd minute, thumping a. ball into the top of the goal when a corner kick was turned off the post by Craig Dawson‘s arm. It was attached to his body, but that does not matter in the attacking box.

Martial instead made it 2-0 off a Fernandes feed, collecting his own rebound before dribbling Watford dizzy and spinning a chip into the goal.

Fernandes spotted Maguire with a seeing-eye cross in the 69th, but the defender’s header was poor.

Greenwood scored his goal in the 75th, carrying the ball 50 yards before working a 1-2 with Fernandes and finishing with aplomb.

Odion Ighalo came close to getting on the board for his new club against his old one, but Adam Masina deflected his shot off the post.

Brighton, Watford battle to draw

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Brighton and Hove Albion fought back to draw 1-1 against relegation rivals Watford at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

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Abdoulaye Doucoure gave Watford the lead in the first half but Brighton kept plugging away and eventually Adrian Mariappa scored a comical own goal to grab the Seagulls a point.

With the draw Graham Potter‘s side move on to 27 points and are in 15th, while Nigel Pearson‘s Watford have 24 points and sit in 19th place but are just one point from safety in the congested relegation scrap.


Three things we learned

1. Same old story for Brighton: The Seagulls dominated yet another game but couldn’t secure a first win in six and that is pretty much the story of their season. They keep the ball so well and it is remarkable how quickly their style has changed under Potter in his first season in charge but they just aren’t clinical and that is why they’re in a relegation scrap. Brighton had 67 percent possession and 10 shots to Watford’s two. Both of Watford’s efforts were on target and only two of Brighton’s were. That is where their biggest problem lies. The Seagulls get into some great positions but don’t pounce and make the most of their chances. That has to change if they’re going to stay up.

2. Watford fail to make most of big chance: With just over 10 minutes to go, Watford could see the smash and grab in sight. Then Mariappa slid in and scored a beauty of an own goal to cough up two points. Just like last week they’d collapsed as Watford were 2-0 up and cruising against Everton but they then lost 3-2. These are the kind of late setbacks you see happen to teams who end up going down season after season. You have to applaud the way Pearson has organized this team. They are tough to break down and better defensively but unless they go 3-0 up they don’t look like they can hold on to a lead right now. Watford’s confidence has taken a hit in recent weeks but they will be very happy with a point because they didn’t play well at all at Brighton.

3. Relegation battle remains wide open: From 19th place to 15th there are just three points in this and it is set to be an almighty scrap to avoid the drop. Watford are in 19th and Brighton in 15th, with West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in-between them. Teams in that area of the table are picking up points. That should set things up for a very tense finish because with the title sewn up for Liverpool, the real drama will be in seeing who can drag themselves away from the bottom three.

Man of the Match: Lewis Dunk – Held things together defensively and set the tone for Brighton being so dominant throughout. Dangerous from set pieces and always calm on the ball to get the Seagulls going.


Glenn Murray headed off target early on as Troy Deeney also had to head clear from inside his own six yard box.

Even though the home side had a lot of the ball early on it was Watford who took the lead in stunning fashion. Etienne Capoue intercepted Aaron Mooy‘s pass on the halfway line and Doucoure raced towards goal.

The French midfielder galloped forward with purpose and smashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Brighton tried to get back into the game as Solly March‘s cross was cleared and Murray continued to sniff around and cause a nuisance of himself.

Watford had a few counter attacks of their own but couldn’t quite find the final pass and Brighton wanted a penalty just before half time as Ezequiel Schelotto went down in the box with Gerard Deulofeu nearby. Nothing was given.

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In the second half Brighton kept dominating possession and Schelotto drilled across goal but Murray couldn’t get on the end of the cross.

Neal Maupay came on for the final 30 minutes as Brighton threw everything at Watford in the closing stages. Lewis Dunk almost got on the end of a cross as Brighton launched the ball forward at every opportunity.

Mooy was played in but his low shot was saved superbly down low by Ben Foster but moments later Brighton were level.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh‘s cross from the right was knocked into his own net by Mariappa as the Seagulls finally had the equalizer their pressured deserved.

Late on both teams were exhausted and neither could muster the energy to grab a winner.

Everton overcomes two-goal deficit, red card to beat Watford

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Watford’s bid to leave the drop zone was canceled out in unlikely fashion as resolute 10-man Everton scored a 3-2 comeback win at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra helped Watford to two-goal lead, but unlikely hero Yerry Mina scored twice in first half stoppage time for Everton.

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Theo Walcott scored late as Everton overcame Fabian Delph‘s sending-off to secure three points and ninth place on the table.

Watford sits 19th, two points off the safe spaces.


Three things we learned

1. Ancelotti’s contending Everton doesn’t quit: Down 2-0 away to Watford, Everton ironically showed how different they’ve become since firing former Hornets boss Marco Silva for Carlo Ancelotti. Mina stepped up with two clutch goals before the break. Delph’s second yellow card might’ve been reason to doubt the outcome, but the Toffees truly deserved all three points and Walcott delivered the goods. Everton is now a factor in the race for Europa League places.

2. Goalkeepers struggle: Ben Foster is one of the most consistent goalkeepers in this generation of Premier League backstops, and Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1. You wouldn’t imagine either of those things are true in this five-goal match, which saw seven shots on target but just two saves (both from Foster). Woof.

3. Mina brace comes out nowhere: Mina entered first half stoppage time with one Premier League goal in 36 appearances for Everton. He left with three in what was a miniature version of Newcastle’s stunning second half comeback through Florian Lejeune.

Man of the Match: It’s Mina.


Gerard Deulofeu continued his remarkable return to form by setting up Masina’s goal, and the Hornets doubled their advantage through two other usual suspects.

Pereyra took advantage of a poor clearance and some quick thinking from Troy Deeney, cutting into the box to make it 2-0.

But hold on! Mina scored twice in four minutes of stoppage time, the first a close-range finish and the second an unmarked header.

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Fabian Delph put hopes of any or all the points in the balance with a second yellow card in the 71st minute.

Remarkably, the Toffees got the winner. Moise Kean was the playmaker for Walcott’s stoppage-time winner.