Pre-match Analysis: Watford vs Norwich City

Three points against the Toffees seem to have boosted the morale for everybody associated with Norwich, after an inspired first-half performance, Smith’s men made a real statement of intent with a vital win to lift the club off the foot of the Premier League.

Despite Everton defender Michael Keane netting into his own net, Norwich looked swift and direct as Brandon Williams made a bursting run into Everton’s final third to perfectly weighted a ball into the path of Adam Idah to poke his first Premier League goal beyond the onrushing England goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford.

Now, the Canaries sit one point below their Friday night rivals, knowing that an away win would lift Norwich out of the relegation zone for the first time all season. After an abysmal start to the campaign, three points against Ranieri’s Watford would truly highlight all of the positive work as instructed by Smith, who replaced former head coach Daniel Farke in November. 

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The Season so far… in Statistics

The Canaries come into this vital fixture with the worst goalscoring record in the Premier League. Netting 10 times from the opening 21 matches, Norwich have scored six goals less than the next worst team (Burnley). Whilst their record in front of goal certainly raises eyebrows, Smith’s men have also failed to score in 80% of their away games this season with a goal being scored every 300 minutes for the Norfolk side.

In comparison to their Friday night rivals, Watford have scored 23 goals this season, with Emmanuel Dennis leading the way in what is the Nigerian’s debut season for the Hornets. The 24-year-old will be the one to watch for this fixture as Dennis has contributed with eight goals and five assists in the opening half of the campaign.

Formerly of Club Brugge, Dennis has experience playing in the UEFA Champions League and has previously scored against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Albeit a player of excellent pedigree, Norwich will be aware that the Nigerian has failed to score in his last two outings and will hope to extend that run.

 Head-to-Head Record

Home Side

Record

Away Side

Norwich City FC

1-3
(18th September 2021)

Watford FC

Norwich City FC

0-1
(20th April 2021)

Watford FC

Watford FC

1-0
(26th December 2020)

Norwich City FC

Watford FC

2-1
(7th July 2020)

Norwich City FC

Norwich City FC

0-2
(8th November 2019)

Watford FC

 

The first thing to note when looking at the recent history is that Watford have won all of their last five meetings.

Recording an aggregate result of 9-2, the recent history of this match has been heavily one-sided, with Smith needing to rewrite history in order to gain three points come Friday evening.

The last win for the Canaries came in May 2016 during a topflight encounter back at Carrow Road. Winning on that day by a scoreline of 4-2 Nathan Redmond and Dieumerci Mbokani ruled out an early Troy Deeney opener before Craig Cathcart put the ball into his own net to double the lead for Norwich. Managed by Alex Neil at the time, the win would be sealed as Mbokani bagged a brace in the second half six minutes after Odion Ighalo gave Watford a glimmer of hope.

In the previous meeting earlier in the campaign, Watford continued their winning run over Norwich. Deadly Dennis broke the deadlock inside the first 20 minutes before Teemu Pukki levelled the game before the halftime whistle. Tied at the break, Norwich would capitulate in the second half as Ismaïla Sarr ran riot and scored twice to lead Watford to a comfortable 3-1 win in front of the Carrow Road supporters.

How Have Watford Performed this Month?

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Since the start of the New Year, the Hornets have failed to win a single game. In fact, their last win came at the end of November with a 4-1 win over Manchester United at Vicarage Road. Two months on and Ranieri’s men have had a difficult run of games which have been sandwiched in between key fixtures against relegation rivals such as Newcastle and Brentford.

It has been eight games since Watford managed to have the taste for victory, including an exit from the Emirates FA Cup. Suffering a heavy 4-1 loss to the reigning champions, Leicester City, the visit of Norwich brings a motive for the home side as they look to extend the gap from themselves to the relegation whilst ending a burdened run of games.

Their record as of late remains far from positive; however, Watford have managed to score in seven of the eight previous outings. Besides the 1-0 loss to Tottenham, Watford have scored against the likes of Chelsea, West Ham, and Manchester City – three of the best defences in the Premier League.

How to watch the game?

The action will get underway at 20:00 with the Canaries travelling to Vicarage Road, Watford live on Sky Sports 1. 

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