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  • May 27, 2013
  • • 22:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 82025

Crystal Palace

  • K. Phillips 105'+

Watford are favourites in the Championship play-off final

Crystal Palace - Watford Preview: Championship play-off final worth £120m to winners

Watford are favourites in the Championship play-off final


Promotion to the Premier League will bring a greater windfall than ever to the victors at Wembley after the top flight agreed enormous new television rights deals



Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey
Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Garvan
Zaha, Wilbraham, Williams

Doyley, Ekstrand, Cassetti
Anya, Chalobah, Hogg, Pudil
Vydra, Deeney

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway could name an unchanged team after a 2-0 victory over Brighton in the second leg of their semi-final secured their place at Wembley.

Glenn Murray suffered a serious knee injury in the first leg at Selhurst Park and may not return until 2014, so Aaron Wilbraham is likely to start up front, although Kevin Phillips is also available.

Holloway preferred a 4-3-3 formation against Gus Poyet's team that meant that Yannick Bolasie was limited to a place on the bench, with Welsh prodigy Jonathan Williams starting opposite Wilfried Zaha.

Stephen Dobbie, a play-off final hero under Holloway at Blackpool, has returned to Brighton after the expiry of his loan deal while Jonathan Parr (ankle) and Paddy McCarthy (groin) are also out.

Watford, meanwhile, are likely to continue in a 3-5-2 formation with Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra, who combined for three goals in the second leg of their semi-final against Leicester, leading the line.

Jonathan Hogg and Cristian Battocchio will compete for the last place in central midfield alongside Nathaniel Chalobah and Almen Abdi, who are certain starters.

Gianfranco Zola may have defender Fitz Hall available for selection after nagging hamstring problems, so Lloyd Doyley could drop out or Marco Cassetti could switch to wing-back.

Defenders Tommie Hoban (ankle), Neuton (shoulder) and Nyron Nosworthy (Achilles) are all longer-term absentees.


  • Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray, who will miss the Wembley clash due to suspected cruciate ligament damage, has scored more than three times as many league goals (30) as any other Eagles player.
  • The most prolific forward whom Ian Holloway will have available for selection is Wilfried Zaha (eight goals, pictured right), the 20-year-old loaned back to Palace by Manchester United after a move worth around £15 million was agreed in January.
  • Aaron Wilbraham, who is likely to replace Murray, has not scored in the league all season and only once, in the Capital One Cup in September, in all competitions.
  • Palace last played in the Premier League in 2004-05, when they finished 18th with 33 points under the management of Iain Dowie.
  • Watford have more recent top-flight history but endured a torrid time in their last Premier League season in 2006-07, finishing bottom of the table with just 28 points under Aidy Boothroyd.
  • The Hornets are owned the Pozzo family and controversially have had as many as 10 players on loan from Udinese and Granada, who are also owned by the Italians, including Vydra and Abdi.
  • The Championship play-off final is often referred to as the most valuable game in football as the winners will pocket around £120 million, according to Deloitte, even if they are relegated from the Premier League next season.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Crystal Palace



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Crystal Palace FC CRY
Crystal Palace FC Crystal Palace
Watford FC WAT
Watford FC Watford

Top 3 Predictions

Crystal Palace FC CRY
2 - 1
Watford FC WAT
Crystal Palace FC CRY
1 - 2
Watford FC WAT
Crystal Palace FC CRY
1 - 0
Watford FC WAT