Premier League
WatfordWatford0Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0

Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Watford v Crystal Palace
This was the first time when there has only been one Premier League game at 3pm on a Saturday since 7 March 2015

Wilfried Zaha receives "attention he does not deserve" according to Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, despite another booking for diving.

Zaha was cautioned by referee Chris Kavanagh after going down inside the Watford penalty area following a challenge by Adrian Mariappa.

It was his fourth booking for simulation in the Premier League since the start of the 2015-16 season.

"I think he would have got the penalty in another game," said Hodgson.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hodgson added: "When the rumours spread that he's a cheat and not the honest player he is, the crowd are led by that.

"He's given attention he doesn't deserve. Hopefully I'm not being one-eyed."

Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace: Premier League survival in our hands - Roy Hodgson

In a scrappy match littered with eight yellow cards, Palace edged six points clear of the relegation zone after frustrating Watford.

The visitors were twice denied by the woodwork after half-time, captain Luka Milivojevic hitting the bar from a free-kick before James Tomkins headed against a post.

Watford also struck the woodwork when Italian forward Stefano Okaka nodded Troy Deeney's cross against the bar.

The Eagles climb one place to 15th in the table.

Watford remain 12th, nine points clear of relegation with three games to go, although they have played more games than most teams below them.

More diving controversy for Zaha

Palace managed just one attempt on target in a scrappy game but Hodgson's side extended their unbeaten run at the business end of the season to three matches.

However, it was Zaha's 64th minute caution which proved the main talking point.

Palace's players appealed for a penalty but Watford's fans cheered when Kavanagh instead showed a card to the Palace forward.

Former England captain Terry Butcher, at the match for BBC Radio 5 live, claimed the referee got the decision wrong.

"On that occasion, Zaha's legs were taken out from underneath him and that was a penalty for me," said Butcher.

"That was a penalty beyond any doubt."

Watford all but safe despite win-less run

While Palace's run-in includes home games against mid-table Leicester and bottom club West Brom, as well as an away match at struggling Stoke, Watford's final three games are tougher on paper.

The Hornets have to travel to face fourth-placed Tottenham and second-placed Manchester United, while their final home match is against in-form Newcastle.

Fortunately Javier Gracia's side have a healthy cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

Asked whether Watford already had enough points to stay up, Gracia said: " I don't care in this moment if it's enough or not.

"The most important thing is to prepare for the next game and try to get three points."

Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace: Javi Gracia praises Hornets' first half performance

Watford are limping towards the finishing line. They are without a win in six games and have managed two points from the last 18 on offer.

They carved out the better chances against Palace but for the fourth time in six games they failed to find the net.

Okaka's fourth minute header which struck the bar set the tone for a frustrating afternoon.

Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey saved well from team-mate Joel Ward after Deeney's cross cannoned off the Palace defender while substitute Richarlison wasted a late chance to seal the points.

There was another controversial incident, before Zaha's booking, when Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure pushed the Palace forward following another penalty appeal.

The run-in - who plays who?

WatfordCrystal Palace
v Tottenham Hotspur (a) 30 Aprilv Leicester City (h) 28 April
v Newcastle United (h) 5 Mayv Stoke City (a) 5 May
v Manchester United (a) 13 Mayv West Bromwich Albion (h) 13 May

Man of the match - Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace)

Mamadou Sakho in action against Watford
Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins were excellent at the heart of the Palace defence as Watford were frustrated. Sakho made some vital clearances and had the best passing accuracy of any Palace player - 86.5%

Target practice - the stats

  • Watford equalled their season-best tally for first-half shots in the Premier League in this game (11), but only mustered three in the second period.
  • Crystal Palace have picked up eight points in their last five Premier League games (W2 D2 L1), after accruing just two from their previous seven in the competition.
  • Palace directed just one shot on target in this game; on only two occasions in the Premier League this season have they managed fewer (0 v Man City in September and 0 v Newcastle in October).

What's next?

Watford are back in Premier League action on 30 April when they face Tottenham at Wembley (20:00 BST) while Crystal Palace entertain Leicester City at Selhurst Park (15:00) on 28 April.

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 4-4-2

  • 30Karnezis
  • 6MariappaBooked at 60mins
  • 15CathcartBooked at 89mins
  • 27Kabasele
  • 25Holebas
  • 19HughesSubstituted forGrayat 79'minutes
  • 16DoucouréBooked at 29mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 37PereyraSubstituted forRicharlisonat 55'minutes
  • 9Deeney
  • 33OkakaSubstituted forFemeníaat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Janmaat
  • 3Britos
  • 11Richarlison
  • 17Sinclair
  • 18Gray
  • 21Femenía

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2WardBooked at 21mins
  • 5TomkinsBooked at 88mins
  • 12Sakho
  • 3van AanholtBooked at 45mins
  • 18McArthurSubstituted forBentekeat 81'minutes
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 7Cabaye
  • 8Loftus-CheekBooked at 78mins
  • 10Townsend
  • 11ZahaBooked at 63mins

Substitutes

  • 1Speroni
  • 9Sørloth
  • 14Lee
  • 17Benteke
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 34Kelly
  • 44Riedewald
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
20,401

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away3
Fouls
Home17
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 0, Crystal Palace 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 0, Crystal Palace 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

  4. Post update

    Andre Gray (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Adrian Mariappa (Watford).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

  8. Post update

    José Holebas (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Crystal Palace. Wilfried Zaha tries a through ball, but Andros Townsend is caught offside.

  10. Booking

    Craig Cathcart (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

  13. Booking

    James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

  15. Post update

    Richarlison (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Richarlison (Watford).

  18. Post update

    Kiko Femenía (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

  20. Post update

    Christian Kabasele (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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