How can Watford defeat Crystal Palace at Wembley?

Watford are looking to reach the FA Cup Final for just the second time in their history.

How can Watford defeat Crystal Palace at Wembley?
Watford fans will bring a sea of yellow as they did against Palace in the 2011 Championship Play-Off final (photo: Getty Images)

Quique Sanchez Flores would have been preparing his tactical route to success all week for Watford's crucial FA Cup semi-final clash with Crystal Palace, but here are five ways that Watford can ensure a first final since the Graham Taylor era.

1. Shut down the flanks

Crystal Palace love to utilise their pace in wide areas and the first port of call for central midfielders Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur and Mile Jedinak tends to be to look out wide for the likes of Wilf Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako, assisted by raiding full-backs. Alan Pardew's men spent most of their midweek attacks down the right wing in particular against Manchester United.

2. Put pressure on the Palace defenders in their penalty area

Crystal Palace centre-backs Adrian Mariappa and Damian Delaney played extremely deep against Manchester United and are not the most reliable in the air. Watford have the perfect strike force to test this element of Palace's game with the aerial ability of Odion Ighalo and strength of Troy Deeney. Scott Dann is likely to replace Mariappa but will be tested to his pinnacle if Ighalo is on his game.

3. Get men behind the ball

United worked extremely hard in the week to get their midfielders behind the ball, thus closing space for the Palace front men, causing them to play most of their passes sideways or backwards. Only three passes were successfully made into the United penalty area.

4. Avoid unnecessary fouls

One of Crystal Palace's strengths is their ability to attack set pieces. Watford will do well to avoid fouling anyone in their final third as to not heap unwanted pressure on their defence from the deadly right boot of Cabaye.

5. If all else fails, take the game to penalties

Watford already have a psychological advantage in this knockout game wih the knowledge that they now have the Premier League's best ever penalty shot stopper in Heurelho Gomes. The Brazilian made a double save from Saido Berahino in Watford's match against West Brom last weekend.