Javi Gracia’s men were looking to keep a perfect to the season, a task not achieved since the 1998/99 season, as the Hornets welcomed Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road.
Ahead of the fixture, Roy Hodgson was more concerned with the diving antics of Harry the Hornet, issuing a “warning” to stay on his feet.
Conditions were less than ideal with swirling wind and rain as a flurry of yellow cards set the tone in the first 10 minutes.
Watford were tested defensively as Ben Foster was forced into a series of early saves from Christian Benteke and James McArthur to keep the game scoreless.
Roberto Pereyra put Watford on the board early in the second half after a galloping run by Etienne Capoue down the middle, as Pereyra curled his shot inside the far post.
On the stroke of 70′, Jose Holebas over hit a cross from the left side that found the top corner of the net to double Watford’s lead.
The introduction of Max Meyer invigorated Palace as the German worked a pass into Wilfried Zaha, coming off the left and slotting it past Foster, giving the Eagles a lifeline. 2-1.
The pace of the game tightened as Crystal Palace pushed for the winner off a corner; Joel Ward was left unmarked, as his headed attempt just went begging.
Pereyra and Holebas in form at Vic
Part of Watford’s early season success has come down the left side with the play of Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas. The void left by the departed Richarlison was filled by Pereyra, as the Argentine netted twice in the season opener, with Holebas providing the assists. Their form at home has been sparkling and it continued today as the Palace defence had no answer for their lively play.
Defensively, Watford owed much to the contributions of Holebas: at 34-years old, the Greek brings experience to a young defence. The Greek defender has posted one goal, two assists and a clean sheet as Watford kept up their perfect start to the season. His first goal of the season was intended to be a cross, but happened to find the top corner, flying past a flailing Wayne Hennessey.
Foster and defence faced test
Ben Foster and the Watford back line were put through their toughest defensive test yet facing Palace. Early saves by Foster at close range boosted the back line’s confidence. Unlike last season, Watford kept it tight at the back and didn’t lose focus or concentration, a trait we saw last season, in dropping one goal matches. Foster continues to be the leader of the Watford defensive unit.
Catalyst Zaha quiet despite goal
There had been much made about Zaha with his explosiveness and skill up front, partnering with Benteke. Some of Zaha’s fire was taken out early as he was shown a yellow card just 11 minutes into the game. Palace, as a team had just three shots on goal as Palace struggled to test Foster and the Watford defence. Despite a well taken goal, Zaha will have been disappointed with his performance against Watford, and will be looking to capitalise on two promising home fixtures against Southampton and Huddersfield in the upcoming weeks.
Man of the Match: Roberto Pererya
Pereyra, on the left flank, was at the centre of the Watford attack again, as his 71st minute goal put Watford up. His play was been instrumental for the Hornets going forward in attack. The link up play between him, Troy Deeney and Andre Gray has caused problems for the Eagles defence.