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Despite enjoying a terrific reception from the Crystal Palace faithful, Roy Hodgson could not produce a miracle against his former club, who were in no charitable mood towards their former manager as they confirmed the Hornets’ demotion with a narrow 1-0 triumph on Saturday afternoon.
Wilfried Zaha‘s penalty with 31 minutes gone was all it took for Palace to condemn Watford to another season of Championship football, and Hassane Kamara‘s red card certainly rubbed salt into the wounds for Watford, who are already preparing for a major summer of rebuilding.
The trigger-happy board are already searching for the next man to take the poisoned chalice at Vicarage Road, and Watford’s only saving grace now will be staving off the threat of Norwich City to finish 19th, but the Canaries find themselves just one point behind their fellow second-tier returnees.
Defeat to Crystal Palace marked a sixth loss on the bounce for the hapless Hornets, who have now been relegated from the Premier League before the end of the season on three occasions and are running the risk of equalling an unwanted English football record with continued defeats at home.
Indeed, Watford have suffered a top-flight record 11 consecutive defeats on their own patch, and only Rochdale have ever lost more in English football – 14 in a row in the Third Division between 1931 and 1932 – and their chances of breaking such a streak are not all that high against a rejuvenated Everton side.
After being penalised for the handball which awarded Palace their game-winning penalty last time out, Kamara took the walk of shame for two bookable offences and will serve his suspension this week.
Tom Cleverley and Samir were both forced off with knocks in the loss to Palace and have joined a raft of absentees in Kiko Femenia, Nicolas Nkoulou, Emmanuel Dennis, Joshua King, Ismaila Sarr, Juraj Kucka and Imran Louza in the infirmary, while Cucho Hernandez is unlikely to return just yet either.
Hodgson will likely make a number of alterations with nothing left to play for this season, with 19-year-old Kwadwo Baah in particular seeking promotion from the Under-23 squad to earn some top-flight minutes, and Joao Pedro has an outside chance of featuring too.
As mentioned, Lampard was dealt two blows with Mykolenko and Yerry Mina both being forced off with injuries in the win over Leicester, but the Toffees boss is hopeful that the former is only suffering from cramp.
However, Mina lasted 18 minutes before being withdrawn with a calf problem, so Michael Keane is on standby, while Donny van de Beek, Ben Godfrey, Nathan Patterson and Andros Townsend remain out of contention.
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Jonjoe Kenny will likely come in on the flank if Mykolenko is not passed fit for the contest, but a largely similar Toffees XI should be deployed, meaning another appearance on the bench for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Ngakia, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Masina; Sissoko, Kayembe, Etebo; Kalu, Pedro, Sema
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane; Iwobi, Delph, Doucoure, Mykolenko; Gordon, Richarlison, Gray