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Watford, Crystal Palace play to feisty draw

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Watford and Crystal Palace played out a 0-0 draw a Vicarage Road on Saturday as the hosts squandered several chances to pick up their first home win of the season.

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Wilfried Zaha was involved in plenty of hefty of challenges, for and against, as Palace huffed and puffed but didn’t really get going in attack. Gerard Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr both went close for Watford, who had new manager Nigel Pearson watching on from the stands.

With the point Watford remain bottom of the team and have nine points for the season, while Palace are in seventh place on 22 points.

3 things we learned

1. Pearson already having an impact: This was so much better from Watford. Similar to their narrow defeat at Leicester in midweek,  they looked compact and solid defensively and Deulofeu was a menace underneath Deeney. Pearson watched on from the directors box tentatively throughout, as caretaker Hayden Mullins oversaw a solid display which should have yielded three points.

2. Rattled Zaha targeted: Wilfried Zaha and Watford mean one thing: Fouls. Zaha was clearly targeted by the Hornets and he went down on several occasions all game long, but was booked for a foul of his own and to his disbelief his calls for fouls were often overlooked. There is previous here as Zaha was the target for the home fans and players, and Roy Hodgson did his best to calm the Ivorian winger down. Eventually he did calm down, but he was rattled. After his fine displays in recent wins, Zaha was far from his best.

3. Sarr adds cutting edge: Palace had to bring in Jairo Reidewald for Jeffrey Schlupp at half time at left back to try and stop Sarr’s driving runs down the right flank. He came close to scoring to add to his goal at Southampton last weekend, and his power and pace perfectly complimented Delofeu’s trickery. If Watford can stay solid defensively, Deulofeu, Deeney and Sarr will give plenty of defenses problems.

Man of the Match:


Both teams went close early as Troy Deeney‘s scuffed effort was cleared by James Tomkins, James McArthur sent a volley wide of the far post and then Ismaila Sarr’s shot was deflected wide at the other end.

Watford took the game to Palace early on as Pearson’s arrival as their new manager on Friday, even if he wasn’t in the dugout, had an impact. Gerard Deulofeu was popping up time and time again and his deliveries from set pieces caused Palace problems.

Once again in a game between Palace and Watford it was Wilfried Zaha who was at the center of things as the players piled in after he was caught by several defenders as he was on the floor, then he was booked moments later before Craig Cathcart also received a yellow for fouling Luka Milivojevic.

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Watford pinned Palace back in the second half as they peppered the goal and Deulofeu raced clear before smashing just wide.

The Spaniard then crossed for Sarr but his effort was saved by Vicente Guaita as the game opened up in the closing stages with Ayew firing just over on the counter and then Gary Cahill twice denying Sarr with brilliant blocks.

Andre Gray shanked a shot goalwards after more good work from Sarr, while Deeney went down in the box in stoppage time and wanted a penalty kick, as tempers flared late on with Zaha involved again.

In the end the two teams canceled each other out with Palace lackluster in attack and Watford disappointed not to take three points to lift themselves closer to safety.

10-man Palace tops Bournemouth, moves fifth

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Crystal Palace played down a man for more than 70 minutes but was still the more dangerous team in a 1-0 defeat of disappointing Bournemouth on Tuesday at Selhurst Park.

Palace moves into the Premier League’s fifth place despite Mamadou Sakho‘s early red card, using a Jeffrey Schlupp goal to collect the points.

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The Cherries were very poor, out-shot by the Eagles despite their numerical advantage. Bournemouth has now lost four-straight league matches and sits 12th with 16 points.


Three things we learned

1. Super sub Schlupp piles woe on Cherries: Ghanaian international Schlupp was only brought into the match when Patrick Van Aanholt suffered a first half injury, but his pace and power proved the difference with just under a quarter-hour to play in South London.

2. Billing living up to his, well, billing: The Dane took a season to adapt to the Premier League but his sophomore season at Huddersfield Town was one of the lone reasons not to write off the Terriers until they were condemned to the Championship. He’s been just as good in his first year with the Vitality Stadium set, as the Danish international had won seven aerials and four tackles by halftime.

3. Sour Cherries in dreadful slump: Tuesday’s defeat marked the fourth-straight loss since a defeat of Manchester United, and Eddie Howe‘s men have just six points since Sept. 28. That was their first match since an embarrassing first half loss to Burton Albion in the League Cup. Next up: Liverpool and Chelsea. Yeesh. At some point, should Eddie Howe look for a new home? Might he not have a choice?

Man of the Match: One of three players who were influential on the left, as Schlupp joining Wilfried Zaha and assist man James McArthur in having fine days. Honors to the scorer.


There wasn’t much in the first 20 minutes, but Sakho made sure that opening sequence ended with vigor.

The Palace center back, making his first start of the season, earned a red card after he slid studs-up into the knee of Adam Smith.

The hits kept coming Palace’s way, as the hosts had to use a sub when Patrick van Aanholt pulled up with an injury.

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Schlupp was the man who entered the match, and he provided the winner in the second half when he dribbled between Dominic Solanke and Jefferson Lerma to use Chris Mepham as a screen. Cherries goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will still want it back.

Vicente Guaita was only asked to make three saves despite Palace’s 70-plus minutes down a man.

Zaha leads Crystal Palace to victory at Burnley

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Crystal Palace continued their fine start to the season as they beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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Goals in each half from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp set the Eagles on their way as Burnley huffed and puffed but Vicente Guaita was on hand to deny them

With the win Palace move up to 10th on 18 points, while Burnley remain on 18 points.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha back to his best: For much of this season Zaha has been a shadow of himself after a tumultuous summer but he was superb against Burnley. His goal right on half time swung the game in Palace’s favor and he dug deep to secure a vital win for the Eagles.

2. Away day specialists deliver again: Zaha’s pace on the break was key in this game, as Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend also caused Burnley plenty of problems. Palace have now picked up three of their five wins this season away from home and with a favorable run of games coming up, now is the time for them to take advantage of picking up points on the road.

3. Burnley stutter in attack: Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood peppered the Palace goal late on but it was too little too late for Burnley. They looked sluggish in attack and Nike Pope will be very disappointed with the two goals he conceded.

Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha – A menace all game long, the only way Burnley could stop him was by kicking him and that almost got Phil Bardsley sent off. What a display from Palace’s talisman.


In a tight game in the first half Palace looked dangerous on the counter attack as Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew were causing plenty of problems.

Burnley did have the best chance of the first half as the ball was played in to Ashley Barnes but his first touch let him down at the crucial moment as a golden opportunity came and went.

Palace then thought they had taken the lead after scoring a comical goal as Cheikhou Kouyate, Patrick Van Aanholt and finally Jordan Ayew all had a goal but PVA was offside when he played it to Ayew to score.

However, Palace did take the lead right on half time as Zaha scored his second goal in as many games (and of the season) as he cut in from the left and drilled a low shot past Nick Pope at his near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half Phil Bardsley clashed with Zaha and VAR was used to determine if a red card should be given, but it was waved away.

Palace then sealed the win as after a mistake from Ben Mes, Schlupp controlled and finished at the near post, with Pope again at fault.

Chris Wood skied an effort over the bar and then almost bundled the ball home but Palace survived as Burnley cranked up the pressure late on. Vicente Guaita denied Wood and Jack Cork fired the rebound over, as it just wasn’t Burnley’s day.

PL Preview: Chelsea v. Crystal Palace

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  • Crystal Palace has won 2 of 17 PL fixtures at Chelsea
  • Chelsea has not won 6 straight PL matches since 2017
  • Palace has 8 PL away wins in 2019, third most in the league

A suddenly dilapidated midfield threatens to halt Frank Lampard‘s good form as Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, with kickoff set for 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

Chelsea’s midfield is banged up, with anchor Jorginho suspended for yellow card accumulation while N’Golo Kante has yet to return from a nagging ankle problem and Mason Mount‘s status is questionable after hobbling off in pain against Ajax midweek. Kante was an unused substitute against Ajax and could be in contention to start in place of Jorginho, but it has been a month since his last appearance and the French international has made just three league starts all year. In addition, Ross Barkley was confirmed to miss the match as the midfield continues to lose bodies.

Still, that seems the only thing in the way of the Blues at the moment, with the club riding high after its wild Champions League comeback midweek that saw them erase a 4-1 second-half deficit and very nearly find the winning stroke. With five straight wins in Premier League play on top of that, this Chelsea team is firing on all cylinders. They have scored 13 goals in those five league victories, and have scored 19 goals in eight matches across all competitions since the start of October.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has struggled through a brutal October schedule and hopes the turn to November will lift its fortunes. The Eagles have failed to win over its last three league games, with losses to Manchester City and Leicester City plus a draw with Arsenal. Now Palace draws Chelsea on the road before a home date with Liverpool rounds out an absolutely ruthless five-game stretch.

Still, Roy Hodgson has maintained a top ten standing despite the rut, with the club currently sitting ninth on 15 points, two ahead of Manchester United in 10th. The boss will take charge of his 300th Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, becoming the 15th person and sixth Englishman to reach that milestone.

Injuries/suspensions:

Chelsea: OUT – Jorginho (suspended), Antonio Rudiger (hip), Ross Barkley (knock), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles). QUESTIONABLE – Mason Mount (ankle), N’Golo Kante (ankle).

Crystal Palace: QUESTIONABLE – Andros Townsend (muscle), Gary Cahill (head), Cheikhou Kouyate (head), James McArthur (back).


Projected Lineups

Chelsea: Kepa; Emerson, Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.

Crystal Palace: Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Tomkins, Ward; Milivojevic, Kouyate, McCarthy; Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Lampard on Ajax draw: “There weren’t too many negatives. Some were freakish and some were on us, goals we don’t like to concede. To come back and to draw the game, we should take the positives. The fans were great. It starts with us.”

Palace boss Hodgson on Lampard: “Frank Lampard has done a very good job, there is no question about that. The club have (also) done a good job in encouraging the manager and his staff to blood some of the players that had previously been out on loan. Everyone at the club deserves a pat on the back for that.”


Prediction

Chelsea is in good form, but injuries have them a bit out of sorts, and the defensive performance against Ajax was a complete disaster. It’s been that way all season long in Premier League play, with just two clean sheets on the top flight season. Eventually, this will come back to haunt them, and with Mason Mount potentially out, those issues could combine to spell defeat. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has shown well against good Premier League sides the last few weeks, and they are nearing a big result. The Eagles will bag an upset at Stamford Bridge with an impressive 2-1 win that gets Crystal Palace the signature win it has searched for over this brutal stretch of games, while leaving Frank Lampard with some defensive adjustments to make over the international break.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Leicester City

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Crystal Palace and Leicester City jockey for top half position when the Foxes visit Selhurst Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Vicente Guaita is between the sticks for Palace, whose 15 points are five behind fourth place Leicester.

The Foxes start Jamie Vardy and James Maddison in a bid to meet the weekend feats of Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Van Aanholt, Cahill, Tomkins, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Kouyaté, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew. Subs: Hennessey, Dann, Kelly, McCarthy, Camarasa, Meyer, Benteke.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Soyuncu, Evans, Pereira, Ndidi, Barnes, Maddison, Tielemans, Perez, Vardy. Subs: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Gray, Praet.