Watford vs Crystal Palace preview: Can the Eagles find their feet in the form of a cup run?
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When looking ahead to his first EFL Cup match as the Crystal Palace head coach, Patrick Vieira explained that he plans to "compete" in the clash against Premier League rivals Watford.

The Eagles have failed to make it past the second round of the competition in the last two seasons, but unlike other top-flight managers, who will be eager to rest some key players, Vieira is set to name a strong line-up. 

“I see it as important for us to win football matches,” said Vieira ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road“We are at the beginning of the season. Players are feeling strong, feeling good. There are two games before the international break, and we will play these two games with the best starting 11 that I have.

“We will play all the games with the desire to win them; I don’t think we can choose which competition we can go into. As a football club, we don’t have this privilege, we have to take one game after the other."

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It is undetermined whether the decision to field a strong starting eleven in the cup is a direct response to Palace's inability to light a spark in the opening two fixtures of the Premier League, but after failing to score against Brentford, Vieira will certainly hope he can get his team in better shape at Vicarage Road.

Watford's early signs of a weak defence may just be the catalyst to Palace's attacking returns. The newly-promoted Premier League outfit has already conceded five goals in their two openers, leaking twice against Brighton & Hove Albion last time out. 

And to add to the promising news, Palace have also got the upper hand between the two clubs in their long history, having beaten The Hornets 50 times - In contrast to losing 44 times. 

Both clubs know that they have more pressing matters when they meet on Tuesday, but nevertheless, a cup run provides the foundations of a morale and confidence booster. 

  • Team news

After this week's round of League Cup action, Watford face a daunting trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, so for Xisco Munoz, he may be keeping one eye on the weekend. 

The much-loved Ben Foster might find himself in with a chance to start between the sticks, while Danny Rose and Jeremy Ngakia will be hopeful of a start at full-back. 

Meanwhile, Vicarage Road is blessed with a deep pool of attacking options, leaving the attacking cohort chosen for Tuesday hanging high in the balance. Josh King and Troy Deeney are obvious choices for a strong frontline, but the arrival of Ozan Tufan could impact the manager's final decision. 

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As for Crystal PalaceNathan Ferguson, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise complete a trio of expected injuries. Elsewhere, Luka Milivojevic is still absent due to personal reasons.

An interesting development ahead of the clash is the heavy link between Watford's wantaway midfielder Will Hughes and the team that arrive to face The Hornets. However, the deal will not be completed in time for the Englishman to play against his current team tonight. 

Speaking on the possibility of handing more minutes to the club’s youngsters on Tuesday evening, Vieria said: “Yes, but again, the young players, they need to have a chance, but they need to earn it as well."

  • Predicted lineups

Warford: Foster; Ngakia, Cathcart, Sierralta, Rose; Cleverley, Tufan, Louza; Sarr, Deeney, Baah

Crystal Palace: Butland; Kelly, Tomkins, Guehi, Mitchell; Riedewald, Gallagher, Schlupp; Rak-Sakyi, Mateta, Zaha

  • Where & when to watch

The game will kick off at 7:45 pm BST on Tuesday 24 August at Vicarage Road. Unfortunately, the match will not be televised, but it will be available to stream on the respective club's websites for a fee.

If you are looking for analysis of the game, VAVEL UK is your best bet. 

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