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Watford FC will travel to the Selhurst Park on Saturday, as they take on Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace in the Matchweek 29.
Walter Mazzarri’s men are in a slight rut, having failed to win any of their previous three fixtures in the league. Before the two-week break due to FA Cup, the Hornets lost a tight encounter against Southampton 4-3. But the game against the Eagles presents them with the perfect opportunity to get back in some form. However, it could prove to be a difficult game, given that Palace have won their previous two fixtures.
There is some positive news for Mazzarri with winger Nordin Amrabat returning to full training, while goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and defenders Christian Kabasele and Daryl Janmaat are also close to a return and are being assessed on a day-by-day basis. Midfielder Ben Watson remains a major doubt as well, while Mauro Zarate and Roberto Pereyra have been ruled out for the season.
In goal, the exceptional Heurelho Gomes will continue. The Brazilian put in a heroic display against Southampton two weeks back, but ended up on the losing side, conceding four times. Will look to put in a better display.
At right-back we expect a change. With Janmaat unavailable, Younes Kaboul had slotted in at the right-side against the Saints. But with the pace of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha a big threat, Craig Cathcart is expected to start.
The former Tottenham defender will return to his more natural position at the heart of the defence. He will be up against the threat of Christian Benteke.
And alongside Kaboul, it will be Uruguayan Miguel Britos. The former Napoli defender enjoys the trust of Mazzarri and should keep his place ahead of Sebastian Prodl.
And at the left-back it will the impressive Jose Holebas. The Greek international has been one of the better players for the Hornets this season.
One of three positions in the middle of the park will be occupied by Etienne Capoue. The Frenchman has been the driving force for Watford this season and is a certain starter.
Alongside Capoue, it will be Valon Behrami. The Swiss international has been inconsistent but is trusted by the manager and will keep his place in the playing XI.
And completing the midfield trio will be former Manchester United and Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley. The Englishman arrived on loan in January and has featured regularly ever since. Don’t expect that to change.
On the right-flank, it will be another January loan signing M’Baye Niang. The AC Milan loanee has been brilliant since coming in and is a sure starter.
On the opposite flank, Stefano Okaka will keep his place in the line-up. The Italian international was wasteful at times against Southampton, but due to a lack of better options will start on Saturday.
And leading the line will be the inspirational captain Troy Deeney. The club’s leading goalscorer is a key figure for Watford and it is impossible to see him out of the playing XI.