Palace wins 4-1 at Watford, pulls clear of EPL bottom 3

February 23, 2022 GMT
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)
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Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)
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Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road, Watford, England, Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)

WATFORD, England (AP) — Crystal Palace distanced itself from the Premier League’s relegation zone with a 4-1 win over next-to-last Watford at Vicarage Road on Wednesday.

The Eagles had gone into the game on the back of a six-match winless run in the league, but took a 15th-minute lead when Jean-Philippe Mateta’s shot took a deflection off a defender and into the net.

Watford struck back three minutes later through Moussa Sissoko’s header, but Conor Gallagher’s sharp strike in the 42nd retook the lead for Palace.

Wilfried Zaha then wrapped up all three points for the visitors with a low drive past goalkeeper Ben Foster, before capping it off with a curling 85th-minute strike.

Palace had been without a victory since Dec. 28 which, coupled with Newcastle’s resurgence, saw the bottom four close the gap to the others in the lower half of the table.

However, Patrick Vieira’s side looked composed and clinical in the final third as he got the better of his immediate predecessor, Roy Hodgson. Palace climbed above Leicester into 11th place, nine points above third-to-last Burnley.

The result leaves Watford four points from safety, and with just one win since the former England boss took over following Claudio Ranieri’s departure.

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