23rd Dec 2016 | Premier League
Watford v Crystal Palace Preview
The underlying numbers suggest Palace are fractionally the better side despite what the league table says.
Nine places and six points separate Watford and Crystal Palace in the league but come the end of the season the places could be reversed.
The problem with Palace is their (ex) manager appears to have been cast under some statistics voodoo spell. Alan Pardew’s career is blighted with prolonged fallow periods and the same is happening this season despite the underlying numbers being fairly good.
Crystal Palace are more open in attack and defence than Watford but their shot differential (-1.2 shots per game) is better than their host’s (-2.6).
In terms of personnel, Palace have the stronger starting XI and squad yet for some reason Pardew can’t knit this all together. Sooner or later we are going to find out if this is just variance and results pick-up or if Pardew* is some sort of evil magician.
*This article was written prior to Pardew’s sacking, so the owners fell into the latter camp. Regardless of the manager Palace are due an uplift in results.
Odds correct at time of publishing: 08:36 23rd Dec, 2016 but subject to change