Crystal Palace’s Scottish midfielder James McArthur (L) vies with Watford’s German-born Greek midfielder Jose Holebas during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on August 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO
Watford extended their superb start to the Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Hornets midfielder Etienne Capoue could consider himself fortunate to escape with only a yellow for an early foul on Wilfried Zaha.
And that proved a crucial moment as Capoue created Roberto Pereyra’s third goal of the season to put Watford ahead.
Jose Holebas’s miscued cross found its way into the net to double Watford’s lead.
Zaha got one back for Palace in the closing stages, but it came too late to stop Watford securing their third successive league victory.
Capoue appeared to deliberately rake the Achilles of Zaha in just the fourth minute under the nose of referee Anthony Taylor, who only gave a yellow card.
The Palace forward, who had been booked on his previous two trips to Vicarage Road, was shown a yellow card almost immediately after for a challenge on Holebas.
Pereyra, who scored twice in the 2-0 victory over Brighton on the season’s opening weekend, had the hosts’ first chances when he saw one shot deflect wide and another saved by Wayne Hennessey as they gathered some momentum.
Inevitably it was Capoue created the game’s opening goal in the 53rd minute.
He resisted two challenges in midfield to play in Pereyra and his team-mate did the rest with a cool finish into the bottom corner.
Watford rode their luck to make it two in the 71st minute.
Holebas took a touch to move beyond Andros Townsend and was fortunate when what appeared a cross curled into the top right corner and beyond Wayne Hennessey’s reach.
Zaha gave Palace renewed belief in the 78th minute with his second goal of the season.
Having played a one-two with substitute Max Meyer he ran the ball down the left wing, moved into the area and sent a powerful finish under Ben Foster.
In stoppage-time, Joel Ward headed just wide as Palace came close to snatching an equaliser.
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