Watford vs Crystal Palace: Javi Gracia’s Best Available Hornets Lineup


Watford play host to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Hornets are hoping to reach their fourth semi-final of the 21st century and go into the fixture off the back of a string of superb performances and results. They lost against champions Manchester City last weekend, but have secured impressive victories over Leicester City, Cardiff  City and Everton in recent weeks.

The visitors are in the midst of a relegation battle and succumbed to rivals Brighton at Selhurst Park on Saturday, a result that leaves them just five points above the drop zone. 

Here is the team Javi Gracia may field when Palace make the short journey to Vicarage Road. 

3. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Heurelho Gomes (GK) – Ben Foster has been immaculate this year, with some suggesting the former England man should be in the PFA Team of the Year. However, Gomes has been favoured for cup fixtures, with the veteran doing a respectable job for his side.

Daryl Janmaat (RB) – Though Kiko Femenia has been preferred at full-back for much of the season, Janmaat makes a more than adequate replacement, looking solid whenever he has been called upon.

Christian Kabasele (CB) – The Belgian has recently found himself behind Adrian Mariappa and Craig Cathcart in Gracia’s pecking order, but remains a competent option for the Spaniard. He will hope to resume what had been a stable partnership with the Northern Irishman.

Craig Cathcart (CB) – Cathcart has been a key driving force behind Watford’s form of late. The centre-back has been consistent and hard-working in going about his business this term, ensuring the side stay tight when out of possession.

Jose Holebas (LB) – One of the standout full-backs in the Premier League this season, Holebas offers a combination of attacking prowess and defensive diligence. His deliveries into the box and knack for finding the net have been highlights for the Vicarage Road outfit.

2. Midfielders

Will Hughes (RM) – The 22-year-old has found his feet this campaign, delivering numerous impressive performances from the right flank. His trickery and vision could seriously trouble Palace’s backline.

Etienne Capoue (CM) – An unsung hero in this Watford team, Capoue invariably produces for his side. Though much of his work centres on breaking up opposition attacks, he also possesses a delicate touch and an eye for a pass. He grabbed the winner in the last round away to Queens Park Rangers.

Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – The midfield enforcer is rumoured to be a target for European giants Paris Saint-Germain, such has been his form for Gracia’s men. He has a complete skill-set, able to both link play and win possession back with equal effect.

Roberto Pereyra (LM) – The Argentine began the season in fine fashion, netting twice in an opening-day victory over Brighton. He has been less influential since then, though his talent has helped the team through some testing matches.

1. Forwards

Gerard Deulofeu (ST) – The Hornets’ recent fortunes have coincided with the Spaniard hitting a purple patch. He scored a consolation in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City, his fourth goal in as many games.

Troy Deeney (ST) – The captain netted at home for the first time since September with a penalty against Leicester City in the last match played at Vicarage Road. Deeney’s aerial presence and physicality should prove a handful for Scott Dann and Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the Eagles defence.



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