The Eagles picked up their fourth victory of the season to move up to sixth in the table following a 1-0 triumph away at Vicarage Road, handing the Hornets their second defeat of the campaign in process.
The game was settled by a penalty scored by big-money summer signing Yohan Cabaye, as Allan Nyom brought down Zaha.
At a second glance, Nyom had a case as he made his furious protestations to the referee, as foul had initially appeared to be outside the area…or at least borderline.
However, Cabaye made no mistake from the spot, doing enough to hand Pardew’s boys three points.
Having recently criticised Zaha—who made only two league outings for Manchester United during his unhappy sojourn at the club—following the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, the coach was full of praise for the England international’s application.
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“I told Wilf on Thursday he would not be starting today, but he took it very well and he has reacted in the best possible way,” Pardew began, speaking to the Mirror.
“Hopefully this is a lesson learned for him that he cannot let his standards slip or your are going to find yourself under pressure.
“It was a great day for me and my team – I said to the guys, ‘Let’s not retreat in any shape or form as the away team, let’s take the game to Watford.’ In the end, we found some hot pockets (of space) to exploit.”