The magic of the FA Cup has often been doubted in the last few years, with some fans and pundits alike suggesting that the competition has lost some of its allure. Regardless of whether or not you agree with that sentiment, there’s no denying the fact that a place at Wembley is special – even if it is for the semi finals. One club who knows that better than most is Watford, after they were able to dispatch of Crystal Palace in their FA Cup quarter final encounter at Vicarage Road.
Coming into the game it was well known that Watford were the favourites, but it was still the kind of encounter that was very much up in the air. These two teams have met several times before in games of this magnitude, including an FA Cup semi final and a Championship playoff final all in the last few years. Alas, this time around, it was Watford who won the Battle of London.
Watford seemed to dictate the pace early on in the game, and that was evident to see regardless of which team you were backing. Etienne Capoue stuck them ahead with a nice instinctive finish, which took us through to half time. Palace had certainly worked their way back into the game by that point, but you couldn’t deny that Watford deserved the goal.
As we went into the second half it was obvious to see the Eagles had a new sense of life injected into them, as they began to come forward with a real purpose. Gomes pulled off a series of nice saves in what could prove to be his final appearance at home for the club, but he couldn’t prevent Michy Batshuayi from equalising after catching Mariappa off guard.
Palace never really seemed to take the game by the scruff of the neck despite the equaliser, though, which has been a major complaint from their fans in the aftermath of the game. As a result Watford were able to hang around, and ten minutes before time, they scored the winner as Andre Gray sent them to Wembley.
Watford have been drawn against Wolverhampton Wanderers in their semi final, whereas Palace need to turn their attention towards the relegation battle as they prepare to host Huddersfield in two weeks time.
Watford: Gomes (7), Holebas (6.5), Cathcart (7), Mariappa (6.5), Femenia (6.5), Capoue (8), Doucoure (7), Pereyra (7.5), Hughes (6.5), Deulofeu (8), Deeney (7), Cleverley (6), Gray (7), Masina (6.5)
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Wan-Bissaka (7.5), Tomkins (6.5), Kelly (6.5), Schlupp (6.5), Kouyate (6), Milivojevic (7), McArthur (6.5), Meyer (6), Townsend (6.5), Batshuayi (7), Benteke (6)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Goals: Capoue, Gray :: Batshuayi
Yellow Cards: Masina, Milivojevic
Red Cards: N/A
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