Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace as they moved a point closer to Premier League survival at Vicarage Road yesterday.

The Hornets had the better of the first half and could have gone ahead when Stefano Okaka headed against the bar.

However, Palace, who are still battling for their top flight status, came on strong in the second half and could easily have left the Vic with all three points.

Luke Milivojevic hit the bar from an inventive free-kick, while James Tomkins saw a header rebound off the post as the visitors pushed for a winner.

They could have had a penalty when Wilfried Zaha went down after appearing to be caught by the otherwise solid Adrian Mariappa, but Chris Kavanagh instead booked the Palace man.

Watford then stood firm to earn an important point as they moved on from their recent defensive failing with a spirited display.

Here’s how we rated the Watford players.

Orestis Karnezis – 6.5

Had very little to do throughout as a resolute Watford defence kept the Palace attackers under control and was solid when called upon.

Showed great bravery when diving at the feet of Zaha to deny the Eagles attacker a chance on goal, taking a nasty blow in the process.

Adrian Mariappa – 6.5

A dominant presence in the first half and produced a number of hard hitting tackles to set the tone for Watford.

Fortunate not to concede a penalty for a foul on Zaha which saw the Palace man booked for simulation.

Mariappa clearly made contact with Zaha and but for the dramatic way he went down, Watford would have conceded a penalty.

Christian Kabasele – 8

Watford Observer:

What a difference the Belgian made to the Watford defence and it is little surprise Watford kept their first clean sheet since early March upon his return to the side.

Kabasele’s added pace at the back made a difference and you sense Watford’s recent fragility at the back wouldn’t have been quite as stark had Kabasele remained fit.

Craig Cathcart – 7

Assured throughout and provided a solid presence at the heart of Watford’s defence. Looks certain to continue as the preferred centre-back pairing alongside Kabasele.

Jose Holebas – 5.5

Defensively sound, but his delivery from set plays and open play, which is usually one of his stronger attributes, left so much to be desired.

Wasted multiple chances to test the Palace defence in what is becoming a recurring failure to produce from dead ball situations.

Will Hughes – 6.5

Watford Observer:

Admitted after the game that he was one of the four Watford players to be hit by a stomach virus in the week, but showed little sign of ill effects.

Little surprise he was replaces considering his fitness issues in the build up to the game.

Etienne Capoue – 7

One the ball back repeatedly in a first half which saw Palace struggle to get out of their own half and it was the intensity from Watford’s midfield which allowed them to set the tempo.

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 7

Like Capoue, an energetic presence in the heart of the Watford midfield and won a number of imoportant tackles.

His radar was off the mark on occasion and he gave the ball away cheaply.

Roberto Pereyra – 6.5

Such a shame to see a player who has had a growing influence once again go off with injury. Clearly has the ability to thrive at Premier League level, but keeps seeing his body break down on him.

Stefano Okaka – 8

Back in the starting line up and grasped his chance to impress with a display full of aggression and end product.

Held the ball up well and was so unlucky to see an early header cannon back off the bar and was the Hornets’ most prominent attacking threat.

Troy Deeney – 7

Watford Observer:

Looks so much better with a strike partner alongside him and benefitted from the presence of Okaka as the duo linked up well.

Provided the cross from Which Watford went closest to scoring and also had a few sights of goal himself, which he couldn’t take.


Richarlison – 6.5

Came on earlier than expected after Pereyra injury and made a nuisance of himself. Went close with a curling effort and also forced a low save from Wayne Hennessey.

One wayward pass when he had the chance to play in Gray left a mark on an otherwise promising display which suggested a return to form.

Kiko Femenia – 6

A surprise to see Mariappa start ahead of the Spaniard at right-back and Femenia didn’t really influence the game when replacing Okaka.

Andre Gray – N/A

Given too little time to truly make an impact.