Roy Hodgson takes his Crystal Palace players to Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon for an FA Cup quarter-final showdown with Watford.
The Eagles lost to fierce rivals Brighton in their last fixture, going down 2-1 after goals from Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert. Luka Milivojevic’s penalty was not enough to spare them a damaging defeat that leaves them placed precariously in 15th position in the Premier League.
Palace will be looking to go one better than they did in 2016 in the FA Cup, the team narrowly missing out to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United in the final. If they are to do so they must first beat a Hornets side brimming with confidence. Javi Gracia’s men have secured their top flight safety and will now be targeting an unlikely FA Cup win.
Here’s a look at the team Hodgson may select for the clash.
3. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wayne Hennessey (GK) – The Welshman was suspended earlier in the season for an off-field incident and has failed to regain his place since. Replacement Vicente Guaita has been superb for Hodgson, but Hennessey may get his opportunity in this cup clash.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – One of the breakthrough stars of the Premier League this season, the young full-back looks set for a bright future. He was overlooked for international duty by Gareth Southgate this week, but it is surely only a matter of time before he receives his first England call up.
Scott Dann (CB) – An experienced, composed head, Dann’s leadership will be crucial in leading Palace against a jubilant Watford outfit. He will have his work cut out for him on Saturday with Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu lining up for the visitors.
James Tomkins (CB) – Has taken on the role of senior partner following an injury to Mamadou Sakho – will be relied upon to orchestrate the defence against a powerful Watford front line.
Patrick van Aanholt (LB) – It has been a fine campaign for the former Chelsea player. He has looked dangerous going forward, has the pace to cover for his side in defence and offers plenty of width for the south Londoners.
Luka Milivojevic (CM) – The Serbian is the heartbeat of this Palace team, effortlessly linking defence and attack. A set-piece specialist, the captain scored last weekend and has now grabbed a notable nine goals this season.
Cheikhou Kouyate (RCM) – The power and energy that the Senegalese international possesses is frightening. Those qualities will be put to the test when he faces the equally imposing Abdoulaye Doucoure on Saturday.
James McArthur (LCM) – McArthur is a handy player to have and Hodgson will task him with both helping out the forwards and tracking back. He will likely have a tiring afternoon in Hertfordshire.
Andros Townsend (RW) – A cannon of a left boot and slick dribbling skills make Townsend a man to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for him, he has failed to find consistency under Hodgson.
Wilfried Zaha (LW) – Palace’s star player has been exceptional during their relegation battle, becoming one of the most sought after wingers in the Premier League. Watford will have done their homework on the Ivorian and will give him a tough ride at Vicarage Road.
Michy Batshuayi (ST) – The Chelsea loanee is proving a smart acquisition for the Eagles. A couple of goals and assist will have raised his confidence, and he’ll be chomping at the bit to reach a Wembley semi-final.