Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford: Emmanuel Adebayor scores but Pape Soaure sent off - 5 things we learned

Written by Robert Sutherland

It was another disappinting home defeat as Palace went down 2-1 to Watford at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles are now in the Premier League bottom three when it comes to home form as Troy Deeney's double inflicted their eighth home defeat of the season.

Emmanuel Adebayor had leveled Deeney's opener right on half-time before Watford scored again in the final 10 minutes. Pape Soaure compunded Palace's misery by getting sent off in injury time.

Here are 5 things we learned from the game.

1. Souare's red is opportunity for defence

Pape Souare's performances have been subject to criticism in recent weeks and it could be argued that the player should have been rested prior to this match. The red card he received for a two-footed tackle following a horror-throw from Wayne Hennessey means that Palace now face their next three fixtures without a specialist left-back. But perhaps that will offer some change that we need.

Souare's tendency to drift towards the goal often left his marker exposed, giving ample opportunity and time for a cross to come in. It happened at Swansea and in the preceding fixtures too. An enforced reshaping of our defence might not be such a bad idea.

2. Oh how we could do with Watford's clinical simplicity

Watford aren't an amazing side - a point that isn't meant to be a slight on who they are or what they do - they aren't a team which has, on the whole, cost a fortune to build.

But what they are is a side which knows it's strengths and weaknesses. It knows what it can and can't do. It doesn't go for shortcuts or the extravagant when it knows that simple and effective will do.

There were spells in the first half where Watford worked the midfield brilliantly. They bypassed Yohan Cabaye, Jordon Mutch and Mile Jedinak with such ease that they made it look like our three midfielders weren't even there.

And their winning goal - which came after a prolonged spell of pressure from Palace - was indicative of how they executed when it mattered most. They saw out our pressure and hit us at a point where we should, defensively, have done better.

Simple and precise football is what we need right now.

3. Palace are now struggling with the psychological impact of this run

The penalty we conceded after just ten minutes - for Mile Jedinak's blatant foul on Deeney as a Watford corner was drilled in - hit Palace massively. It came at a point where both sides were still finding their grooves, and it gave Watford a lead which they truly didn't deserve.

The concern for Alan Pardew and the fans will have been the way in which the players seemingly lost their heads in the 20-30 minutes that followed. Simple passes were ignored for long, hopeless punts to Emanuel Adebayor and Connor Wickham. Clearances which should have been made were clouded by doubt, allowing Watford to pounce. Extra touches were taken when quick, incisive passes would have sufficed.

Our players are all capable of better. We've seen them play better. We've seen them perform to much higher standards. But these spells in matches, where logic seems to take second stage, are concerning. We need our characters, our leaders, to stand up and lead by example.

4. A striker scored a goal from open play!

It may have taken Palace until February but one of their strikers actually scored a goal from open play. And it was Emmanuel Adebayor on just his second start for the Eagles who got it. And when it came it was a very well executed goal indeed.

The chipped cross from Wickham was inch perfect - probably the only decent cross Palace put into the box all afternoon - and the Togo striker met it with a perfect looping header. It was the only positive moment of the first half but it was worth waiting for.

That bit of quality suggests Wickham and Adebayor could have something resembling a relationship up front, if the former Sunderland man is played centrally and not out wide.

5. It could have been different but for a post

Much like at Swansea last week, in the second half Palace started to turn it on. Whatever Pardew said at half-time worked for the second week running as the response after the break was exactly what was needed. He needs to start saying whatever it was before games!

And the Eagles did have chances in the second half. Gomes in the Watford goal saved from Jordon Mutch and Adebayor while Yohan Cabaye saw an excellent volley smash the upright before Zaha blazed the rebound over. On another day one of those goes in and it's a different story.

It doesn't subtract from a disappointing display and result but the margins are perhaps a bit closer than we thought they were.


It's since been pointed out to us on Twitter by Sebastian F that five of Palace's eight home defeats have come with goals in the final 10 minuntes.

Against Man City, West Ham, Sunderland, Tottenham and Watford the winning goals were scored once the clock had ticked past 80 minutes.

This is a worry that the team can't seem to hold out until the end. Under Tony Pulis that wouldn't have even been a question and certainly would not be a stat the team would be worrying about.

Is the team not fit enough or is it a concentration issue? Whatever it is it's cost Palace 10 points this season.