Vital Football

Latest Crystal Palace News

Watford, Leeds or Preston?

Watford, Leeds or Preston?

'The playoffs are upon us. With Saturday’s final set of fixtures all but academic Ben Cullen assesses the merits of Watford, Leeds United and Preston. First up in this three part feature is a look at the team from Vicarage Road.'

Now that we know the four teams that will be taking part in the Championship playoffs the obvious question is what is the best draw for the Eagles? Previous results suggest Watford, over whom Palace did the double, but they are also the best team of the four according to the league table, which famously “never lies”. Conversely this logic implies that playing Preston would be the Eagle’s worse case scenario as Palace played them four times this season in the Championship and FA Cup but didn’t manage to beat them once. So what are the strengths and weaknesses of the playoff teams and which is the team to avoid?


P 45 W 22 D 14 L 9 Pts 80

Top Scorer: Marlon King 21

Form: WWDDLL (8pts)

Watford are the most attacking team in the playoffs having scored 75, ten more than the next highest scorers, Palace. The Hornet’s goals have come from a number of sources with King’s strike partner, Darius Henderson and 20 year old midfielder Ashley Young both having scored over ten goals in the league. Manchester United loanee Chris Eagles scored from the half-way line against Brighton this season and ex-Leeds man, Matt Spring has scored eight from central midfield.

Defensively, however, Watford are weaker and have conceded 54 in the league, more than any of the other playoff candidates. Whilst this may be down more to their style of play than a serious lack of quality at the back it will be vital that Watford’s strikers perform to carry them through. With King coming back from a two game suspension for their final regular season game against QPR the team should be firing on all cylinders coming into the playoffs. The only concern for Watford fans may be their poor form over the last six games as Bothroyd has taken the chance to rest a few of their key players once they could no longer hope to catch Sheffield United. Although wins against Ipswich and Hull have addressed this somewhat.

Many still regard Watford as outclassed by the other playoff teams and they haven’t beaten any of them this season despite thrashing Sheffield United 4-1 during a purple patch over January/February time. Watford’s combination of poor form and slightly porous defence make them my first choice for Palace to face in the semi-finals. Their lack of experience on the big stage should also count against them. Watch out though, if the match becomes a goal-fest Watford could be hard to out score.

This article was written by Ben Cullen (

Grand National

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday April 25 2006
Time: 2:35PM


Statistics can mean anything you want. If i was the manager i'd say - Bring em all on. We'll play our way and let them worry about us.
26/04/2006 00:21:00
i think watford and leeds are equally as strong but with johnson in the side you can never rule out palace. if they get a penalty anyway!
26/04/2006 12:25:00
Preston appear to be the form team at the moment, so statistics say that they are the ones to fear.
01/05/2006 14:14:00
i think each team is equal in there but think watford will do it.
07/05/2006 19:37:00
Jono was right. Would you like to predict who is going up next season?
22/05/2006 13:40:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Crystal Palace Articles

Points Warning Over Disabled Access?

Calls for Premier League clubs to finally get their seating arrangements in order for disabled fans across the country have continued this week...

Vital Pre-Match - Premier League, 22nd-23rd Oct

The 2016-17 season continues with the latest round of matches this weekend, which will see us among those having a match in this upcoming schedule with three-points the aim of course.

Match Day Officials v Leicester (22/10/16)

The Premier League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Leicester City this Saturday.

Pardew Still Has England Aspirations

Pardew was one of the names mentioned to replace Hodgson in the summer and was again mentioned after Allardyce moved on. England does interest him still....but in the future.

Archived Vital Palace Articles

Vital Palace articles from

Site Journalists

Eddy Eagle
Editor email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Leicester v Crystal Palace
Suggested By:
Palace win34%
Leicester win33%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Man City 8 6 1 1 19 11
2 Arsenal 8 6 1 1 19 10
3 Spurs 8 5 3 0 18 9
4 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 17 8
5 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 6
6 Everton 8 4 3 1 15 6
7 Man Utd 8 4 2 2 14 5
8 Southampton 8 3 3 2 12 3
9 Crystal Palace 8 3 2 3 11 2
10 Watford 8 3 2 3 11 0
11 AFC Bournemouth 8 3 2 3 11 0
12 WBA 8 2 4 2 10 1
13 Leicester City 8 2 2 4 8 -6
14 Burnley 8 2 1 5 7 -6
15 West Ham 8 2 1 5 7 -8
16 Hull City 8 2 1 5 7 -12
17 Middlesbrough 8 1 3 4 6 -4
18 Stoke 8 1 3 4 6 -9
19 Swansea 8 1 1 6 4 -7
20 Sunderland 8 0 2 6 2 -9
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Crystal Palace Results (view all)

Crystal Palace Fixtures (view all)

Oct 22 2016 3:00PM : Leicester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Oct 29 2016 5:30PM : Liverpool (H)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 5 2016 3:00PM : Burnley (a)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 19 2016 3:00PM : Manchester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Nov 26 2016 3:00PM : Swansea City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 3 2016 3:00PM : Southampton (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

Vital Football Comment