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May 23 2018 2.23am

Key clashes: Watford v Palace

April 18 2018

Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend

This Saturday, Crystal Palace travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford. Hunter Young breaks down the player clashes that will help decide the game.

Palace enter this fixture riding high after their derby-day win over Brighton last time out with Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins inspiring the Eagles to victory over the hated Seagulls. The win took Palace up to 16th place and six points clear of the relegation zone.

Watford are on a poor run of form with only one point gained from their last five matches. The Hornets will likely be looking for revenge for the stoppage-time defeat they suffered when they visited Selhurst in December.

Andros Townsend v Adrian Mariappa

Regardless of his positioning, either in a front two or positioned out wide, Andros Townsend has been consistently deployed on the right side for Palace this season. While the winger hasn’t been racking up the goals this year, Townsend’s services have been crucial and he leads the team in assists with six.

Townsend will often come face to face with former Palace man Adrian Mariappa. Mariappa is a versatile defender who has played at both left centre-back and left back through his 24 appearances for Watford this year. If Townsend can consistently beat Mariappa one on one, it will help take defensive attention away from Zaha and open other holes in the Hornets defence.

Yohan Cabaye v Abdoulaye Doucoure

Yohan Cabaye has recovered from injury issues to experience a good run of form in the centre of the park in recent weeks. While the Frenchman has not made many appearances on the goals and assists sheet recently, his work rate and passing has been on point. Cabaye’s defence has also been solid, securing many important interceptions to shut down opposing attacks.

When Cabaye looks up during this weekend’s match he will often find himself up against fellow Frenchman Abdoulaye Doucore. He has been the key man in the midfield this season with seven goals and two assists to his name. Limiting the creative impact of Doucore will be key to slowing the Watford attack, and despite Cabaye’s size disadvantage, there is no reason to believe he won’t be up to the task.

Embed from Getty Images

Troy Deeney v Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho, aka 'the Soldier', has returned to action strong as ever after recovering from a calf injury that forced him to miss match time. The defender came up with a key block in the box late in the game last week to deny Glenn Murray a shot on goal and preserve the three points for Palace.

Striker Troy Deeney has obtained club icon status for the Hornets after joining them in 2010 and guiding them to promotion prior to the 2014/15 season. Deeney has also served as club captain while amassing over 100 goals for his club. The battle between Sakho and Deeney will be physical and hard fought, and whichever big man comes out on top, will provide their team with a tremendous advantage.

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