Watford and Roberto Pereyra continued their flying starts to the Premier League season as Javi Gracia’s men made it three wins out of three by beating Crystal Palace 2-1.
Argentinian attacker Pereyra was once again Watford’s inspiration, curling home a measured 20-yard finish in the 53rd minute to back up a sparkling opening-day brace against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Jose Holebas netted a fortuitous second 19 minutes from time as his cross from the left wing looped over goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and into the far corner.
It meant Palace were unable to bounce back from Monday’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool and the visitors were entitled to be aggrieved after Etienne Capoue was only booked for an ugly fourth-minute rake down Wilfried Zaha’s ankle.
Zaha thankfully escaped unscathed and steered a shot through Ben Foster’s legs in the 78th minute to set up a grandstand finish.
His team made the early running at a sodden Vicarage Road, although Christian Benteke’s dwindling confidence was on show.
The Belgium striker sent a tame diving header wide before failing to direct a second effort downwards, allowing Foster to claw away.
At the start of the second half, Hennessey spread himself to make an eye-watering save at close quarters from Will Hughes.
The hosts were in the ascendancy by the time they took the lead. The sight of Zaha being dispossessed and Capoue driving forward to set up Pereyra’s superb finish will undoubtedly have irked Roy Hodgson.
In the 70th minute, Benteke recovered some of the poise of old as brilliant chest control allowed him to whistle a shot just past the post. Holebas responded with far less precision but to much greater effect.
Zaha collected substitute Max Meyer’s pass to become Palace’s all-time Premier League top scorer and they should have claimed a point when Joel Ward planted a free header wide in the sixth minute of stoppage time.