AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

The £120 million match

CRYSTAL PALACE v WATFORD
Championship Play-Off Final, Wembley
TIME: 3pm
TV: SKY

If you’re neutral you just have to love the tension of a Championship Play-Off Final.

At 3pm this afternoon, at Wembley, Crystal Palace and Watford will make their way to a sun drenched pitch with a prize in the Premier League at stake.

It’s billed as the richest game in football and rightly so. At Star Sports we’re not sure anyone knows EXACTLY how much but a common estimate seems to suggest £120 million to the winning club. If it’s a stalement at 90 minutes that money will rollover to extra time and then to penalties.

So, plenty at stake.

Let’s look at the recent head to head records between the two teams:

08 Feb 2013 League, Watford 2-2 Crystal Palace
18 Aug 2012 League, Crystal Palace 2-3 Watford
18 Feb 2012 League, Crystal Palace 4-0 Watford
15 Oct 2011 League, Watford 0-2 Crystal Palace
01 Feb 2011 League, Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace
09 Nov 2010 League, Crystal Palace 3-2 Watford
30 Mar 2010 League, Watford 1-3 Crystal Palace
28 Nov 2009 League, Crystal Palace 3-0 Watford
28 Feb 2009 League, Watford 2-0 Crystal Palace
24 Jan 2009 FA Cup, Watford 4-3 Crystal Palace

As you can see it’s a fixture that throws up plenty of goals but more importantly generally tight encounters. We’re not sure whether there’ll be a goalfest today with so much pressure on the teams.

Palace boss Ian Holloway has received a boost with Wilfried Zaha being fit for his final match as a Crystal Palace player.

The winger completes a £15million switch to Manchester United after the game. He has been carrying an ankle knock, but played 90 minutes – and scored two goals – in the semi-final second leg at Brighton and will start at Wembley.

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola is expected to pick from an unchanged squad.

Zola took his squad to Marbella for a four-day warm weather training break last week and has reported no new injury problems ahead of the Wembley showdown.

The fear of losing could prove the greatest force – and for that reason we are going to suggest a tight game in the first 90 minutes with under 2.5 goals and a DRAW the likely options.

STAR FORECAST
(stake between 0.5 and 10 points)
6 points DRAW Crystal Palace v Watford
6 points UNDER 2.5 GOALS Crystal Palace v Watford

(LEVEL Sunday)

Agree OR disagree? Call Star Sports on 08000 521 321 to place your bet.

YOU CAN’T HURRY A MURRAY

Andy Murray remains hopeful of playing at Wimbledon but admits he has a “long way to go” before he is 100 per cent fit.

Murray is sitting out the French Open, which started today, in a bid to improve a long-standing back problem.

He announced he would miss Roland Garros a week after retiring from his clash with Marcel Granollers in Rome on May 15 but said at the time he was optimistic he would be fit enough to compete at SW19.

That remains the case but the world number two is facing a race against time with Wimbledon starting on June 24.

Asked if he would be able to compete in the season’s third grand slam, Murray told ESPN: “That’s the plan. The grass is a bit easier on my back than the clay and I am hoping that Wimbledon is going to be fine.

“I am going to try to get myself ready to play (the warm-up event) at Queen’s but I just have to wait and see.”

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