Watford 0-0 Palace

Sat 21st April 2018
Vicarage Road

Referee Chris Kavanagh, nope I hadn’t heard of him before today wither, stole the show at Vicarage Road. The only 3 pm Saturday kick-off in the Premier League was hardly a showcase for the most expensive league in the world, but it provided the world with justification as to why no English referees will be heading to the World Cup this summer.

Watford hit where the bar and post meet in the first half and a Luka Milivojevic free-kick struck the same coat of paint in the second-half. A James Tomkins head hit the post late on and Deeney did well to clear the rebound, preventing a tap-in for Tomkins centre-back partner, Mamadou Sakho, but the man in the middle provided all the talking points.

Twice he denied Wilfried Zaha penalties and even booked the Palace forward for diving, probably because Troy Deeney told him to.

With cameras everywhere in the stadium, it is impossible to hide, and both decisions from the referee were proved to be incorrect. Zaha was fouled on both occasions – but don’t let facts get in the way of a good agenda.

The BBC and Sky Twitter Accounts

Despite the fact that every pundit has said that the Adrian Mariappa incident was actually a penalty (Wilfried even said on Goals on Sunday that Mariappa said “Sorry Wilf, it was a pen.”) the BBC and Sky twitter accounts mislead their followers:

BBC: “Since the start of the 2015-16, Wilfried Zaha has been shown more yellow cards for diving than any other Premier League player.”

Sky: “Wilfried Zaha received another booking for simulation.”

When you have to turn to the Daily Mail for sanity, you know the world has gone mad.

Daily Mail: “Wilfried Zaha wrongly booked for diving as Hodgson’s side are denied a penalty.”

Most people get their sporting information from these news outlets, and when you understand that only 1 out of every 100 people that see that tweet will click on the link to read the article, you start to understand why people think that Wilf is a diver;

Person opens twitter > BBC says Zaha is booked for diving >, therefore, Zaha is a diver

Kevin Kilbane on Match of the Day

It didn’t get any better on Match of the Day. Matthew Upson said “It was a penalty” before Kevin Kilbane goes on a rant of ridiculousness.

“He puts his hand on Doucoure here and perhaps should be booked for that.” Yes, Zaha pushed him in the chest, and I agree that he should have been booked. HOWEVER! What Kilbane fails to mention is that Doucoure has sprinted from miles away from the action to get up in Wilf’s face and push him first. That would be the Doucoure who has already been booked, Kevin. Funny that you failed to mention that as you continued to spurt out your media driven agenda nonsense.

“This is a nasty challenge and should be a yellow card,” said Kilbane of Wilf’s attempt to score in the second half. Zaha tries to get his toe on the end of the ball to lift it over the keeper and catches the keeper. The fact that you can see that Wilf’s eyes are on the ball the entire time and that he is completely entitled to go for the ball again escapes Kilbane’s vocabulary.

“He’s falling over, diving into the penalty area,” said Kilbane after Zaha was fouled by Mariappa, who was booked for the challenge, suggesting that Zaha was trying to look for a penalty on an incident that took place outside the penalty area.

Then there was no mention that Mariappa, already on a yellow card, has fouled Zaha in the penalty area and should be receiving a yellow card and his marching orders.

Kevin Kilbane, there is a reason that you’re only on MOTD when there have only been two games. Like the referee in this one, you’re toilet, pal.


From what I’ve seen of VAR this season, if it was in play in this match Crystal Palace would have had two penalties, Mariappa would have been sent off for the second yellow, Zaha would have been sent off for trying to score and Doucoure would have had a second yellow for coming and pushing Zaha.

While Zaha is playing for Palace, VAR would undoubtedly suit us as we would be awarded far more penalties than we actually get, but I am still against it. It will happen eventually, but I think that football will not be the same with it in place.

As for the game…

We started with a 442 in the home game against Watford and it did not work. They were the better team for most of that match and it was only when we switched to 451 and moved Zaha out wide left that we ended up turning the game around in injury time. The same happened in this fixture.

The hosts were all over us in the first half. Their big and physical midfield dominated and we were lucky to come in at the break at 0-0. The crowd were crying out for a change, but it did not happen until deep into the second-half – arguably when it shouldn’t have been made.

As the second-half went on the 442 started to work. The reason? Watford started to make changes. Pereyra, who was having a very good game, got injured and was replaced with Richarlison. Immediately, Watford lost intensity down that flank as the incoming Brazilian looked about as interested as I am when the wife says I have to hoover.

Then the players in the middle of the park started to tire and Milivojvic, who was being swamped by a sea of yellow every time he touched the ball in the first-half, was finding more time on the ball. This meant that we could get Zaha and Townsend on the ball more and chances started to come.

Will Hughes was then removed, again he was excellent, and it looked like Watford were trying to hold on for the point. Two minutes later Benteke replaced McArthur, and that killed the game as all momentum was sucked out of both sides.

Joel Ward

Wardy had another mare. Pereyra gave him the runaround, and by the end of the match, the Palace full-back was lucky to still be on the field. He looks extremely rusty after a huge lay off and his performances in the last two matches have just removed all doubt from every Palace fans minds – Aaron Wan-Bissaka is our first choice right-back.

Of course, Hodgson could be looking after Wan-Bissaka. Drip feeding youngsters minutes seems to be the accepted method for getting the best out of them on a consistent basis. There has also been talk that Tomkins must coach Aaron a lot during games and that he has been finding it mentally tough to focus on both his own and Aaron’s game.

Either way, the short spell on the sideline is not doing Wan-Bissaka’s reputation any harm.

Man of the Match: James Tomkins

Tomkins was brilliant yet again. He racked up 18 clearances and won 9 aerial duels, both season highs. In his last four performances, James has been averaging 8.14 out of 10, which is extremely high for a defender. He scored 8.64 in this match, another season high.

A nod has to go to his partner in crime, Mamadou Sakho. Palace still haven’t lost a game in which these two started as the centre-back pairing. This bodes very well for next season.

Up Next: Leicester

We had a shot at a league double against Watford, but it passed us by. We have another opportunity next weekend as Leicester come to Selhurst. With Palace still needing points and Leicester already having one eye on the beach, let’s hope we’re celebrating survival on Saturday.

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Chris Kavanagh

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Roy Hodgson


Opposition Manager: 
Javi Garcia