Premier League
Crystal Palace1Watford2

Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford: Cleverley volley sinks Palace

Tom Cleverley celebrates scoring for Watford against Crystal Palace
Tom Cleverley's first league goal since October 2017 earned Watford all three points at Selhurst Park

Tom Cleverley's superb second-half volley helped Watford come from behind to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The former Manchester United midfielder - who had only been on the field for six minutes - thumped James Tomkins' clearance into the top corner for his first league goal since October 2017.

Palace had taken the lead seven minutes before half-time, Abdoulaye Doucoure's attempted clearance rebounding off the unfortunate Craig Cathcart and past the despairing dive of Ben Foster.

The Watford centre-back atoned for his own goal midway through the second half when he headed Jose Holebas' corner into the roof of the net.

And Cleverley struck just seven minutes later to earn Javi Gracia's side a hard-earned three points.

The victory lifts the Hornets into seventh place in the table, while Palace remain in 14th - just four points above the relegation zone.

Missed opportunity for Palace

There has been an element of Jekyll and Hyde about Palace's performances of late.

Eye-catching victories at Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers have lifted Roy Hodgson's side away from the relegation zone in recent weeks, but the Eagles had failed to land a goal in both their last two league games at Selhurst Park, prior to Saturday's encounter.

They also needed a late Jordan Ayew goal to squeeze past League Two Grimsby Town in the third round of the FA Cup.

But the Eagles went in front against Watford in fortuitous circumstances as Cathcart deflected Doucoure's clearance past his own goalkeeper. They deserved their narrow half-time lead, though, after keeping Watford's potent attack at bay for the majority of the first 45 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha, who has not found the net since September 2018, should have doubled his side's lead three minutes into the second half when he failed to beat Ben Foster in a one-on-one situation.

James McArthur then failed to connect with Zaha's low cross as Palace dominated the beginning of the second period, before two Watford goals in seven minutes turned the match on its head.

Hodgson's team have now scored just six league goals on their own turf this season - only Huddersfield have netted fewer goals at home.

Fortunate Watford continue fine away form

Watford have now collected 18 points on their travels this season - two more than they managed in the entirety of last term.

Gracia's charges have had few problems scoring goals, netting 13 in their last seven league matches before Saturday's game, but the Hornets struggled for long periods at Selhurst Park and failed to register a single shot on target in a disappointing first-half display.

They spurned a glorious opportunity to take the lead after just three minutes, Gerard Deulofeu striking the foot of the post before Roberto Pereyra rattled the woodwork from the rebound with the goal at his mercy.

That was the closest they came to an equaliser until Cathcart hauled the visitors level with their first effort on target.

Their second shot on goal proved to be the winner, Cleverley's magnificent volley sending the away fans into raptures and lifting Watford back into seventh place above West Ham United and Leicester City.

They could have added a third five minutes from time, but Deulofeu's goal-bound free-kick was blocked by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Man of the match - Ben Foster (Watford)

Ben Foster celebrates Watford's victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League
Ben Foster pulled off excellent saves from Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic with the score at 1-0, allowing Craig Cathcart and Tom Cleverley to claim all three points for Watford with two well-taken second-half goals.

No home comforts for Palace - the stats

  • Crystal Palace have lost six of their 11 home Premier League matches this season (W2 D3), only one fewer than they lost during the entirety of the 2017/18 campaign (7).
  • Watford are unbeaten in four away Premier League matches (W2 D2), their best run since September 2017 (also four unbeaten).
  • No player has scored more Premier League own goals this season than Watford defender Craig Cathcart (2, level with Wesley Hoedt).
  • Jose Holebas has assisted six Premier League goals this season - more than any other defender.
  • Watford's Craig Cathcart became the first player to both score a goal and an own goal in the same Premier League game since Ryan Shawcross in December 2017 (Stoke v Spurs).
  • Watford midfielder Tom Cleverley scored his first Premier League goal since October 2017, ending a run of 18 league games without a goal.

'We needed to create more chances' - what the managers said

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson:

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Roy Hodgson hopes for January signings for Crystal Palace

"Tom Cleverley scores a wonder goal. They happen in football matches and there's not much you can do about them. Watford are a good team and they held out and got the victory.

"Every game has those stories at the end but it's the goals you have scored and those you have conceded. We probably needed to create more chances to get the second goal - Watford were good on the counter attack.

"They'll probably point to the early chance that hit the post. We have to accept we could have won but it's also a game you can lose and we did."

Watford head coach Javi Gracia:

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Javi Gracia praises returning Watford midfielder Tom Cleverley

"I think we had the confidence during the game. We started by conceding an own goal but after that the level was the same and in the second half we got the reward with two amazing goals. I am very happy with the performance and attitude of my players.

"All the games against Crystal Palace are always very equal, today was again. After conceding the first goal it was more difficult but we knew this team are conceding more goals in this period and it was our moment. We created enough chances to win the game.

"All my players deserve more time to play as they are all working very hard to play. I felt the best option was Tom and he scored an amazing goal."

What's next?

Palace travel to Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday 19 January (kick-off 15:00 GMT), while Watford host Burnley at the same time.

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 31GuaitaSubstituted forHennesseyat 45'minutes
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 5Tomkins
  • 12Sakho
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 4MilivojevicBooked at 84mins
  • 18McArthurSubstituted forBentekeat 78'minutes
  • 10Townsend
  • 14J AyewSubstituted forSchluppat 83'minutes
  • 11Zaha

Substitutes

  • 2Ward
  • 7Meyer
  • 13Hennessey
  • 15Schlupp
  • 17Benteke
  • 21Wickham
  • 34Kelly

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21FemeníaBooked at 61mins
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25Holebas
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29Capoue
  • 19HughesSubstituted forSemaat 19'minutesBooked at 65minsSubstituted forCleverleyat 68'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 37PereyraBooked at 90minsSubstituted forMasinaat 90+3'minutes
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 3Britos
  • 8Cleverley
  • 10Success
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 20Quina
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
25,010

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home6
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home11
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Watford 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Watford 2.

Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu following a fast break.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Kiko Femenía.

Booking

Tom Cleverley (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Adam Masina replaces Roberto Pereyra.

Booking

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace).

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Ben Foster.

Attempt saved. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cheikhou Kouyaté.

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Luka Milivojevic following a set piece situation.

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Attempt blocked. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jeffrey Schlupp replaces Jordan Ayew.

Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by José Holebas.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces James McArthur.

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Patrick van Aanholt following a corner.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by José Holebas.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Watford 2. Tom Cleverley (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

Attempt blocked. Craig Cathcart (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu following a set piece situation.

Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

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

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jordan Ayew.

Foul by James Tomkins (Crystal Palace).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Cheikhou Kouyaté (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Offside, Watford. Gerard Deulofeu tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Ken Sema.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Watford 1. Craig Cathcart (Watford) header from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner. Assisted by José Holebas with a cross following a corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Man City21162356173950
3Tottenham21160546212548
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Man Utd21115543321138
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester229492625131
9West Ham229493032-231
10Wolves218582325-229
11Everton217683131027
12Bournemouth2183103140-927
13Brighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield2225151337-2411
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