First Team 1 month ago

Match Report: Norwich City 0-2 Watford

By Kevin Affleck

Blimey, doesn't that feel good?

Those three points, those long-awaited and much-needed three points finally arrived at the 12th time of asking this evening to breath renewed life into the belief there is a way out of this predicament.

As ever, there was nothing whatsoever straight forward about the win achieved at Carrow Road. It was never going to be, was it? Let's be honest.

The team lost its playmaker after a third of the game, had to play 25 minutes plus injury time after Christian Kabasele was sent off and Norwich threw absolutely everything at the Hornets in what was a lively atmosphere in East Anglia. But, by hook or by crook and with a fair degree of spirt, the Hornets stood firm to protect the lead given to them inside two minutes by Gerard Deulofeu and doubled seven minutes after half-time by Andre Gray. It wasn't the prettiest but who cares? You don't get any extra points for artistic merit. It was all about winning, however it was achieved and now the confidence should, slowly but surely, start to flow. 

The win validated what Quique Sánchez Flores is trying to achieve and confirmed that everything, as the Head Coach keeps pointing out, starts with a solid base, a platform on which to build. If you keep the back door shut, which they have done now in three of the last five games, then this team has players of high enough calibre to nick at least one at the other end. 

It wasn't a night for heroes, not here and not in a game of this significance. It was all about the collective and an all-for-one mentality. Nearly everyone ran their socks off here and it's a good job there is an international break as most of this lot will need a rest. If it requires individual performances to be picked out then Craig Dawson was a rock at the heart of the defence; Will Hughes was a pest in midfield and quickened the game up when the team needed it and slowed it down on other occasions while Daryl Janmaat played the right wing-back role to a tee. He will have been shattered after this one. You also need your 'keeper to be a reliable last line of defence on nights like this and Ben Foster never really looked like ever being beaten. 

Keeping the goals out has not really been a massive problem of late, it's been scoring them has been the issue. The goal everybody craved, the early one Sánchez Flores went to bed dreaming about arrived after 76 seconds. Deulofeu loves a game against a newly-promoted side on a Friday night (hat-trick at Cardiff, anyone?) and he was at it again here. He pick-pocketed Emiliano Buendia, advanced down the right, cut in on his left foot and then guided on into the bottom corner. It was an exercise in how to silence the home crowd and gave this team something to hang their hat on, a cause to rally round.

It wasn't pretty thereafter. In fact, at times it was grotesque. It was all hands to the pump as Sánchez Flores was happy to cede possession (58 per cent of it in the first half) and play on the break. It meant there were a few hairy moments defensively. Kabasele made several last-ditch tackles, including an unusual one in combination with José Holebas; Craig Cathcart made three in quick succession; Dawson got in a crucial toe and even Deulofeu was forced to hoof one in the stand.

Foster made some saves that fell into the routine category for a 'keeper of his calibre and was yet again smartly off his line to smother at the feet of Onel Hernandez. It had to be perfectly timed as he had he got it wrong, it was a certain red card. 

There was the customary injury before half-time, Roberto Pereyra the latest player to limp off, but the team withstood that blow on the half hour to make it safely through to the break with their narrow lead intact.

The cushion of a second goal was badly needed to give the team some breathing space and make everything a little less fraught. It arrived, thankfully, seven minutes after the break. Deulofeu was given a second bite of the cherry at delivering a cross and second time round he picked out Gray who found the back of the net with a back heel via a deflection off Jamal Lewis. 

It was a good job the second goal arrived as they needed that buffer after Kabasele was sent off for a second bookable offence. It needed everybody to dig that bit deeper, to run that bit further and jump that bit higher and nobody did that better than Étienne Capoue. He got better as the match wore on and showed real leadership qualities. It was good to have him back and back playing like this.

As a result of those throwing bodies in front of him, Foster was only really called into action once, making a flying save to deny McLean and the Hornets saw things out relatively comfortably. Let's not get carried away and believe one win makes a season. There is a heck of a lot of hard work to be done still, but this was a start, a step in the right direction. It was about time.

HORNETS: Foster; Janmaat, Kabasele, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas (Masina 88); Doucouré, Capoue, Hughes; Pereyra (Gray 30), Deulofeu (Mariappa 70).

Subs not used: Gomes, Deeney, Chalobah, Femenía.

First Team 1 month ago

Match Pack: Norwich City v Watford

As the Hornets prepare to visit Norwich City at Carrow Road in the Premier League, here is all you need to know about the fixture...


INFO

  • Norwich City v Watford
  • Premier League
  • Carrow Road
  • Friday November 8, 8.00pm GMT

TICKETS

  • Away tickets for this fixture are SOLD OUT.

HOW TO FOLLOW

  • Live commentary of the match will be available at watfordfc.com.
  • This match will be televised on Sky Sports.
  • Find live coverage and behind-the-scenes content on our social channels!

OFFICIALS

Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long
Fourth official: Keith Stroud
VAR: Andy Madley
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday


TEAM NEWS

Quique Sánchez Flores said Troy Deeney (knee) is ready to be involved with the first team again, while Étienne Capoue (back), Sebastian Prödl (hamstring), Ismaïla Sarr (hamstring) and José Holebas have also been recovering this week and could be involved. Danny Welbeck (hamstring), Tom Cleverley (heel) and Domingos Quina (groin) are still unavailable.

Daniel Farke said Grant Hanley (groin) and Christoph Zimmermann (ankle) are unlikely to return until after the international break, whereas Mario Vrancic (calf) could make his comeback against Watford. Todd Cantwell and Ibrahim Amadou have also recovered from knocks.


OPPOSITION FORM

Newly-promoted Norwich City have had a tricky start to the season but, despite losing two more games than Watford, the Canaries pulled off early wins against Newcastle United and shockingly Manchester City to earn them six of their seven Premier League points so far. A loss to Brighton at the weekend means they go into this fixture in 19th place. Daniel Farke’s team were the entertainers of the Championship last campaign, winning the league with 94 points. Teemu Pukki was the Championship’s top scorer with 29 goals and carried his form into the Premier League, scoring six goals in his first five games, but the striker has not scored in his past six outings, since September 14. Argentine Emi Buendía has also been in form with four assists, putting him joint second in the charts.


HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:

Won 27, Drawn 29, Lost 42

Last Six:

May 2016: Norwich City 4-2 Watford (Deeney, Ighalo) (Premier League)
Dec 2015: Watford 2-0 Norwich City (Deeney, Ighalo) (Premier League)
Feb 2015: Watford 0-3 Norwich City (Championship)
Aug 2014: Norwich 3-0 Watford (Championship)
Sep 2013: Watford 2-3 Norwich City (Acuna, Faraoni) (EFL Cup)
Apr 2011: Watford 2-2 Norwich City (Graham, Cowie) (Championship)


GOLDEN FLASHBACK

August 6, 2010 — Norwich City 2-3 Watford: John Eustace opened the scoring and Danny Graham added another two goals as the Hornets saw off a newly-promoted Norwich City side on the opening day of the 2010/11 Championship season. The game marked Troy Deeney’s first appearance for the club, as he came on for Marvin Sordell after signing from Walsall on the same day. Graham’s double was the start of an impressive goalscoring season, as he netted 24 goals in the league, winning the golden boot, and 27 in all competitions.


PLAYED FOR BOTH

Sébastien Bassong

Although his time at Vicarage Road was brief, Sébastien Bassong played a part in the Hornets’ most recent promotion, joining for the first half of the 2014/15 season. He made 11 first-team appearances for the club before returning to Norwich City in January 2015. As both Watford and Norwich achieved promotion come the end of the season, Bassong was presented with two medals. He returned to Vicarage Road with Norwich in the Premier League but failed to keep out Ighalo and Deeney in a 2-0 victory for the Hornets.

Malky Mackay

Mackay spent most of his playing career at Carrow Road, making 212 appearances for Norwich. After a short spell at West Ham he joined the Hornets. Mackay made 52 appearances for Watford over three years and scored three goals, including a winner against Luton Town. In 2007, Mackay joined Aidy Boothroyd’s coaching staff, becoming first-team coach, and in June 2009 he was named manager – having been caretaker manager for a short spell the year prior. He spent two successful seasons in the Hornets' hotseat before moving on to Cardiff City.

Anthony McNamee

McNamee started his career at Watford, coming through the youth ranks, and went on to make 91 appearances for the first team, scoring twice. At the end of the 2001/02 season he won the Young Player of the Season award. He heavily featured during the 2005/06 campaign, making 26 starts for Aidy Boothroyd’s side. The winger later spent a season on loan to the Canaries in 2009/10 and earned a permanent transfer to Norwich the following season, where he went on to make 32 appearances.


WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Quique Sánchez Flores:

“It's a big final for both teams. It's not the end of the season, but it's a big final. The result can change the future of both teams. It's massive.

“They are in the same situation as us. They are positive, stable and able to play very good matches. They are also suffering a little bit, like us, and we are at the same point in the season with similar feelings.

“We know we need to change this dynamic and this situation. It's about what we can do versus Norwich.”

Daniel Farke:

“It's the Premier League so there's no 'easy' game. Even tomorrow we are probably seen at having less than a 50 per cent chance of winning the game, but we need to keep fighting and get as many wins as we can against the bigger clubs to survive.

“There probably is more pressure on Watford than us, they're in a worse position than us and it's not easy as they're meant to be an experienced Premier League team. It's a game where both teams are just focusing on being the better side, I don't think the pressure will get to an experienced side like Watford.

“Deeney is a very important player for Watford, so we need to find solutions to deal with that.”