Zola and Holloway prepare for Wembley showdown

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Wembley Stadium is the venue as Watford and Crystal Palace chase a potential £90 million windfall and a place in the Premier League.

But don’t expect this one to be a tight, cagey affair. Goals look likely as two sides with open free-flowing styles take to the hallowed turf.

Watford were the only side to out-score Palace in the Championship this year, netting 85 times to the Eagles’ 73 and it is hard to see their in-form strikers letting up here.

A price of 17/20 with Ladbrokes for there to be over 2.5 goals in 90 minutes looks very generous. Or for the more adventurous, 2/1 is offered on the sides to bag four or more times between them.

The net bulged on nine occasions during the two meetings of the sides this season, something perhaps not surprising given the style of football Gianfranco Zola and Ian Holloway like to employ.

Holloway’s words after his side drew 2-2 with the Hornets at Vicarage Road in February, criticising Watford’s use of the loan system are sure to add even more of an incentive to Zola’s team. The irony that Palace’s equaliser was scored by Kevin Phillips, on loan from Blackpool, seemingly lost on the man from the West Country.

But whether Holloway likes it or not, the use of the loan system has worked for the Hertfordshire side. Loanees Matéj Vydra and Almen Abdi have scored 22 goals and 12 goals respectively this campaign and they certainly don’t look like stopping. They can be backed at 6/4 and 3/1 to score at anytime.

And recent Championship play-off finals further back up the case for goals here, with the last three renewals seeing scorelines of 2-1, 4-2 and 3-2. It is hard to see that theme ending here.

Whichever set of fans is left celebrating on Monday evening; it is likely that they will have witnessed a number of goals under the Wembley arch.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.