Premier League

Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford: Player ratings as Zaha penalty relegates Hornets

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Crystal Palace relegated Watford on Saturday
Crystal Palace relegated Watford on Saturday / Warren Little/GettyImages

From Selhurst Park - Watford were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday afternoon after falling to a 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.

The Hornets knew that only a victory would keep their faint survival hopes alive and they failed to deliver with Wilfried Zaha's first-half penalty ensuring that Roy Hodgson tasted his first Premier League relegation at the hands of the club where he spent nearly four happy years.

After a three-minute delay while ground staff and one stiletto-wearing woman attempted to clear the pitch of red and blue balloons that were used in a pre-match display, the game finally kicked off.

Palace started strongly and inside five minutes Marc Guehi's back post header from a Michael Olise cross landed atop the net with Ben Foster beaten. The hosts' early dominance continued with Olise driving forward and shooting over, and Zaha firing tamely into Foster's grasp after intricate build-up in the box.

This pressure paid off just before the half-hour mark when Palace were awarded a penalty. Eberechi Eze's cross was met by Olise at the back post and his header was blocked by the flailing arms of Hassane Kamara.

The penalty decision stood after a brief VAR check and Zaha made no mistake, tucking the ball into the corner.

Watford did muster a response after this, pummelling the Palace box with a string of corners, but they could not break their resistance.

Instead it was Palace who nearly ended the half with a set-piece goal. Guehi was the man in the thick of it again, forcing Foster into action with a powerful header. The veteran then had to be alert to deny Olise, who had been ingeniously slipped in by Zaha.

Early in the second half Joshua King wasted a good opportunity for the Hornets, finishing meekly after an impressive foray forward.

On the hour, Odsonne Edouard burst into life, beating several men before seeing his shot deflect off of Foster and into the post.

If there was any doubts about Watford's relegation, Kamara extinguished them just over 20 minutes from time when he was dismissed for a second yellow card after fouling long-term tormentor Olise.

The red card largely took the sting out of the game. Down to ten men, Watford accepted their fate with Palace only rarely threatening to extend their advantage. Substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta went closest, glancing a header towards the net that was well stopped by Foster.

1. Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1)

Wilfried Zaha
Zaha made it 1-0 from the spot / Warren Little/GettyImages

Jack Butland (GK) - 6/10 - Came in for Vicente Guaita and had very little to do. One moment of miscommunication aside, he performed fine.

Nathaniel Clyne (RB) - 7/10 - Covered so well to deny King in the first first half. Faultless defensively - competition for places seems to be spurring him on.

Joachim Andersen (CB) - 7/10 - Distributed so well as he often does. Watford did not give him much to think about.

Marc Guehi (CB) - 7/10 - Always a threat from set pieces and did not misplace a single pass in the first half. Taken off in the second period, hopefully just as a precaution.

Joel Ward (LB) - 7/10 - Did not push forward too much, but his solidity allowed Zaha to thrive in front of him. Moved to centre-back without missing a beat after Guehi was forced off.

Conor Gallagher (CM) - 6/10 - Pushed high and picked the ball up in some good positions. His touch was just a little off.

Will Hughes (CM) - 7/10 - Left to hold down the midfield while Eze and Gallagher burst forward. Did his job efficiently, retaining possession and evading Watford's press fairly easily. Booked needlessly in the second half.

Michael Olise (RW) - 7/10 - Such a joyous player to watch. His ability to keep hold of possession and beat a man is superb. Palace may have to bat away some interest in the summer.

Eberechi Eze (AM) - 7/10 - Mucked in with the defensive side of the game well and was influential on the ball.

Wilfried Zaha (LW) - 8/10 - Converted from 12 yards to put his side in front. Created a shed load of chances for his teammates too, as his best season in recent memory continued.

Odsonne Edouard (ST) - 6/10 - A few moments of magic, none more than when he danced through the Watford defence before hitting the post. Interesting to see if Mateta returns next week.

SUB: Jeffrey Schlupp (CM) - 6/10 - Plugged the gaps and helped Palace see things out.

SUB: Tyrick Mitchell (LB) - 6/10 - Defended solidly.

SUB: Jean-Philippe Mateta (ST) - N/A

2. Watford (4-3-3)

Wilfried Zaha, Ben Foster
Foster could not save Zaha's penalty / Tom Dulat/GettyImages

Ben Foster (GK) - 7/10 - His distribution just is not good enough for this level, though he did make some decent stops - especially in the second half.

Kiko Femenia (RB) - 6/10 - His set-piece delivery was Watford's only real offensive threat. Why he is not encouraged to push forward more regularly is a mystery.

Craig Cathcart (CB) - 6/10 - More composed then the rest of his defence. An asset worth keeping hold of next season.

Samir (CB) - 5/10 - Comically shaky early on. He even tripped over Kiko at one point early on. Did manage to settle but never looked entirely comfortable with Palace's fluidity.

Hassane Kamara (LB) - 1/10 - Booked early on for hacking down Olise and then conceded a penalty. Oh dear. A red card capped off a miserable afternoon and sealed his side's relegation.

Moussa Sissoko (CM) - 4/10 - Pretty loose with the ball on more than one occasion. Hard to see him dropping into the second tier - but his displays in the second half of this season may warrant it.

Edo Kayembe (CM) - 5/10 - Did not fare so badly. He's not the most exacting operator but he did little wrong here

Tom Cleverley (CM) - 5/10 - Did some organising in midfield and enjoyed an error-free display. Taken off injured early in the second half.

Ismaila Sarr (RW) - 1/10 - Crazy that Liverpool were linked with this guy not so long ago. Miles off it this afternoon. Missing a near tap-in at the end summed up his campaign.

Joshua King (ST) - 4/10 - Starved of service but failed to deliver when it mattered.

Emmanuel Dennis (LW) - 4/10 - His drop off after a strong start this season has been remarkable - and not in a good way. Poor again.

SUB: Ken Sema (CM) - 6/10 - At least tried to push his doomed team forward.

SUB: Adam Massina (LB) - 6/10

SUB: William Trost-Ekong (CB) - N/A