Sunday's second FA Cup semi-final at Wembley promises to be a tight affair.
Little has separated these two domestically this term as the Hornets have picked up just one more point than their London rivals so far, though they do have a game in hand.
Palace’s season has been an odd one. They were flying high in fifth spot halfway through the season but they’ve won only one of their last 18 in the league, and that was a gritty 1-0 win over struggling Norwich. Their poor run has put them just two places above the relegation zone but they picked up enough points early on to ensure they’ve few worries about dropping back down to The Championship. In complete contrast to their league form, they’ve progressed to the semis efficiently despite facing stiff competition throughout. They beat Premier League opposition in their opening three ties and eased past Reading in the quarters to book their berth here.
Staying up was the priority for Watford this year and they’ve achieved that and then some with their tally of 41 points from 34 games. In a similar vein to their opponents, the FA Cup has been Watford’s priority over the last couple of months as their league form has suffered. They’ve won just one of their last eight and have netted more than once in just two of their last 16. This game marks Watford’s third semi-final this century and they’ll be hoping it’s third time lucky after falling at this hurdle to Southampton in 2002/03 and Man Utd in 2006/07. The Hornets dispatched Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Leeds before ending Arsene Wenger’s final hope of silverware this term in the quarter-final. They beat the Gunners 2-1 but their wins in the third, fourth and fifth round were all by the 1-0 score line.
Watford have picked up most of their points this season from teams around them as they’ve gone W7-D7-L2 home and away against bottom-half sides while Palace have drawn five of their last 10 against similar opposition as they’ve failed to score in half of the games. With both teams in such poor scoring form Under 2.5 Goals at 1.71 is too big to ignore, especially so given the doubts over Bolasie’s fitness for Palace. The draw, however, at 3.30 is our standout selection here as we expect a tight affair given the low goals expectancy and the looming spectacle of reaching a maiden FA Cup final this millennium for either side.
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