Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford

Crystal Palace celebrate

Crystal Palace scored two late goals to earn a dramatic win over Watford and move out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season.

In a breathtaking finale, the game turned when Watford’s Tom Cleverley was sent off for a second yellow card in the 87th minute.

Bakary Sako bundled in an equaliser two minutes later before James McArthur snatched the winner in the second minute of stoppage time, side-footing home from Wilfried Zaha’s cross.

The Hornets had looked comfortable until that point after Daryl Janmaat had given visitors the lead after just three minutes.

The victory for Roy Hodgson’s Palace extends their unbeaten run to six games and sees them climb above West Brom into 17th place in the table.

They could return to the bottom three on Wednesday, however, with the teams below them – West Brom, West Ham and Swansea – all in action.

A late, late show for Palace

Having spent in the entire season in the bottom three, and scoring no goals and collecting no points in their opening seven fixtures, the night looked like being yet another frustrating one for Palace where an opportunity would be missed.

They had been wasteful in the final third and did not have a shot on target until an effort from Zaha inside the final five minutes.

But when Cleverley was dismissed for a late foul on Jeff Schlupp, life was breathed into the game and the home fans roared their side on in anticipation.

The equaliser was fortunate. Sako’s initial shot from close range rebounded off Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, back on to the forward’s shins and into the net but the winner came at the end of an excellent move.

Zaha – a threat but occasionally wasteful throughout – showed great trickery to beat Janmaat on the left side of the box before squaring to McArthur who swept home low beyond Gomes.

The result unsurprisingly led to wild celebrations at the final whistle as the players and fans enjoyed a third win of the season.

All three of those wins have come under Hodgson, who replaced Frank de Boer after four games, and the former England boss now has 14 points from 13 matches.

The Eagles were six points from safety following defeat to Tottenham on 5 November but have now dealt a psychological blow to their rivals at the bottom of the table.

That said, a point for West Brom at Anfield against Liverpool, or victories for either West Ham or Swansea against Arsenal and Manchester City respectively, would see Hodgson’s side drop back into the bottom three.

Watford rue Cleverley red

Watford manager Marco Silva said he found the result “hard to believe” at full-time, pointing to frustration that his side had not killed the game off earlier when they were clearly on top.

The red card was the moment the match turned and the Portuguese did not argue with the decision to send off Cleverley, who lunged in on Schlupp when already on a yellow card.

The visitors started the game strongly and capitalised on poor defending for their early goal as Janmaat headed in Richarlison’s excellent cross unchallenged at the back post.

Hornets skipper Troy Deeney missed a glorious chance in the 30th minute when he poked wide from six yards, although Palace defender Scott Dann did get a slight touch on the cross from Richarlison.

Richarlison himself later failed to convert an excellent second-half opportunity when his shot from inside the area was blocked by the legs of Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

In the end, however, Watford were again left rueing the cost of indiscipline.

They have now received eight red cards since the start of the 2016-17 season, more than any other club.

The best stats

  • Palace have picked up 10 points from their last six Premier League games, as many as they managed from their previous 17 in the competition.
  • The Eagles find themselves out of the relegation zone for the first time since the very first day of the 2017/18 Premier League season (11/08/2017).
  • Julian Speroni made his 400th appearance for Crystal Palace in all competitions, 4,868 days since his debut for the Eagles (14/08/2004).
  • Richarlison has had a hand in eight away Premier League goals (4 goals, 4 assists), a joint-high this season with Mohamed Salah (7 goals, 1 assist).

What’s next?

Crystal Palace travel to in-form Leicester on Saturday (12:30 GMT). Watford return to Vicarage Road on Saturday following back-to-back away games and host Huddersfield (15:00).

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 1Speroni
  • 24Fosu-MensahSubstituted forSakoat 70′minutes
  • 5Tomkins
  • 6Dann
  • 15Schlupp
  • 10TownsendSubstituted forvan Aanholtat 67′minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 7CabayeSubstituted forMcArthurat 77′minutes
  • 4MilivojevicBooked at 63mins
  • 8Loftus-Cheek
  • 11Zaha
  • 17Benteke

Substitutes

  • 3van Aanholt
  • 13Hennessey
  • 14Lee Chung-yong
  • 18McArthur
  • 26Sako
  • 34Kelly
  • 44Riedewald

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 6Mariappa
  • 5Prödl
  • 27Kabasele
  • 2Janmaat
  • 8CleverleyBooked at 87mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 25Holebas
  • 28CarrilloSubstituted forPereyraat 71′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11RicharlisonSubstituted forFemeníaat 84′minutesSubstituted forat 90+6′minutes
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forGrayat 80′minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Success
  • 18Gray
  • 21Femenía
  • 23Watson
  • 29Capoue
  • 30Karnezis
  • 37Pereyra
Referee:
Lee Mason

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home14
Away7
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home14
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 2, Watford 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 2, Watford 1.

Kiko Femenía went off injured after Watford had used all subs.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Roberto Pereyra.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by José Holebas (Watford).

Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 2, Watford 1. James McArthur (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Booking

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Watford).

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Watford 1. Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Scott Dann.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Tom Cleverley (Watford) for a bad foul.

Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Roberto Pereyra (Watford) because of an injury.

Booking

Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace).

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

Foul by Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Kiko Femenía replaces Richarlison because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by James McArthur.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Richarlison (Watford) because of an injury.

Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Richarlison (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Andre Gray replaces Troy Deeney.

Offside, Crystal Palace. James McArthur tries a through ball, but Wilfried Zaha is caught offside.

Booking

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

James McArthur (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. James McArthur replaces Yohan Cabaye.

Attempt blocked. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

goal

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