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London — Crystal Palace may have moved to six points above the Premier League relegation zone, but Saturday’s visit to Vicarage Road to face Watford could be crucial to the survival hopes of Roy Hodgson’s side.

While the Hornets are in a relatively comfortable 12th place, they are only three points above Palace and are smarting from a stoppage-time defeat at Huddersfield last week.

Javier Gracia’s team have not won since a March 3 victory over bottom club West Brom and history is against them when facing the Eagles.

Watford are winless in their last six home meetings with Palace in all competitions, losing three of those games, and they have not beaten the London side since a 2-0 victory in the second-tier Championship in 2009. All of which makes this a winnable game for Hodgson’s Palace, whose in-form winger Wilfried Zaha will pose serious questions for the Watford defence.

Palace have a relatively easy run-in with a trips to Leicester City and Stoke City before a final day home fixture with bottom club West Bromwich Albion.

West Brom, who upset Manchester United at Old Trafford last week, have another tough test when they face Liverpool on Saturday. The Reds are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League meetings with West Brom although they were held to a goalless draw at Anfield this season.

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah is only one goal away from equalling the record for the most goals scored in a 38-match season, jointly held by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez with 31.

Sunday sees a London derby with West Ham United, who have fought their way out of the relegation zone, facing an Arsenal team that may have their focus on next week’s Europa League semifinal first leg with Atletico Madrid.

Champions Manchester City host Swansea City having secured the title last week, while seventh-placed Burnley hope to continue their push towards Europa League at struggling Stoke City.

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso has been banned for three matches for his challenge on Southampton’s Shane Long, the FA announced on Thursday.

The left wing-back appeared to stand on the back of Long’s leg during a league match on Saturday and the incident went unpunished by referee Mike Dean. Alonso was found guilty on Wednesday. He missed Thursday night’s league game at Burnley, Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton and the league trip to Swansea on April 28.

"Alonso denied the charge and further submitted that if found guilty the suspension would be excessive. However, this was rejected following Wednesday’s hearing," the FA said.

The 27-year-old defender was this week named in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Premier League team of the year, the only representative from Chelsea.

Reuters, AFP

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