Third straight win boosts Palace’s survival prospects

Deeney own goal

Palace are only the fourth team since 2003-04 to win a Premier League game without directing a single shot on target

Crystal Palace earned their third successive victory thanks to an own goal by Watford’s Troy Deeney at Selhurst Park.

The Hornets captain headed Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick into his own net at the near post after 68 minutes.

Watford were unfortunate, however, as Abdoulaye Doucoure appeared to be fouled by Luka Milivojevic before Palace won the free-kick.

Sam Allardyce’s side failed to have a shot on target in the match but improved after the goal and deserved the win.

Victory moves the Eagles up to 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone while Watford stay 13th, just three points ahead of Palace.

Another gritty win for Palace

Crystal Palace came into the game on the back of narrow wins over Middlesbrough and West Brom and once again battled their way to victory.

Sam Allardyce’s side did not force Heurelho Gomes into a save in the Hornets net but did have chances to add to their goal in the second half through Cabaye, Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha.

Palace have won three consecutive Premier League games without conceding – classic Allardyce perhaps, but only the third time the Eagles have managed it.

Palace were 19th on 19 points after defeat by Stoke on 11 February but now, with home games against Leicester, Burnley and Hull to come, have taken a huge step towards safety.

Watford left looking over their shoulder

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Watford had two shots on target (green arrows; red are shots off target) – more than Crystal Palace but both were from a long way out and did not seriously test Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey

Hornets manager Walter Mazzarri said he was angry with the manner of Crystal Palace’s winning goal after Milivojevic’s lunging tackle in the build-up.

But, in a game of poor quality, his side failed to create a clear chance, with the majority of their shots hopeful long-range efforts.

Watford have now won only two of their past 13 matches and sit seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Defender Sebastian Prodl admitted Watford are “facing trouble in the league position” and the Hornets will have to look to home games against Sunderland and West Brom after the international break as opportunities to prevent their slide leading to more danger.

Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha<!–

Wilfried Zaha was the biggest attacking threat on either side. He won 79% of his duels – the highest of any starting player – and won six fouls, including the one that led to Palace’s winner.

‘We’re getting there’ – manager reaction

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Allardyce praises Palace’s ‘huge amount of effort’

Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce: “We had so many games over the Christmas and new year period and injuries, the players were looking thinking ‘what does he want?’ We changed the backroom staff and are now starting to implement our ideas and seeing the benefit.

“We are looking very solid. No doubt the biggest problem was the amount of goals we were conceding and now we are not conceding those goals.

“It is now four wins in six. We are getting there. This was a tough game – Watford recently won at Arsenal. We toughed it out and our quality paid off and we deserved the win.”

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Watford didn’t deserve to lose – Mazzarri

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri: “We are not happy – there was a foul before the goal and it was an own goal. We didn’t deserve to lose.

“We should have played better on the wings. If we did, we probably would have scored a goal. We didn’t concede anything, to lose like this is disappointing.”

Watford’s away day blues continue – the best stats

  • Crystal Palace are only the fourth team since 2003-04 to win a Premier League game without directing a single shot on target.
  • Watford have enjoyed just one victory in their past 10 Premier League away games (D2 L7).
  • The Hornets have failed to find the back of the net in five of their past seven top-flight games on the road.
  • Palace have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since April 2014.
  • Only Sunderland (22) have failed to score a first-half goal in more Premier League games this season than Crystal Palace (21, level with Hull).
  • Troy Deeney is the first Watford player in Premier League history to score two own goals in the competition (v Crystal Palace, and last season v Manchester United).

What’s next?

After the international break, Crystal Palace travel to Premier League leaders Chelsea on 1 April, looking for an unlikely fourth consecutive victory, while Watford host bottom-of-the-table Sunderland the same day (both 15:00 BST kick-offs).

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Watford 0.

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Watford 0.

Attempt missed. M’Baye Niang (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.

Offside, Watford. Heurelho Gomes tries a through ball, but M’Baye Niang is caught offside.

Foul by Miguel Britos (Watford).

Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Damien Delaney replaces Andros Townsend.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako replaces Yohan Cabaye.

Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Scott Dann replaces James Tomkins because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Luka Milivojevic with a headed pass.

Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Tom Cleverley.

Foul by Nordin Amrabat (Watford).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Wayne Hennessey.

Attempt saved. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Miguel Britos.

Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Nordin Amrabat (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace).

Own Goal by Troy Deeney, Watford. Crystal Palace 1, Watford 0.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match M’Baye Niang (Watford) because of an injury.

Sebastian Prödl (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Sebastian Prödl (Watford).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is too high. Assisted by Andros Townsend with a cross.

Substitution, Watford. Nordin Amrabat replaces Daryl Janmaat.

Sebastian Prödl (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

Hand ball by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Sebastian Prödl (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

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