“I used to live in East Dulwich (or Peckham as it was then) and my parents are from Carlisle, so I would agree that is the biggest game of the night. References to the John Little derby much appreciated” writes John Little.
18 mins: Buendia opts to cross from the right-hand corner of the area, and Cathcart is there again to get a useful touch.
17 mins: Cuba’s Onel Hernandez is proving effective on the left wing, surging into space and almost picking out the lurking Pukki. Catchcart hoiks it clear, and although Watford deal with the corner, they concede a free-kick seconds later …
15 mins: McLean and Stiepermann link up nicely, causing Kabasele to slip on the edge of the box. A big shout for handball, but nothing doing.
14 mins: Norwich’s last win after going behind in the Premier League was against … Watford, in 2016. The hosts are trying, but have done nothing to trouble the visiting defence so far.
12 mins: Deulofeu slices Norwich open with an outside-of-the-foot pass out wide to Janmaat, whose tempting cross eventually falls to the Spaniard. His shot from a tight angle rolls wide, but that was a warning.
10 mins: Watford wing-back Holebas has a go from 25 yards out, but his shot is charged down by Aarons, who asks Buendia for a little help in defending that right side.
“Norwich have a goal-poaching option among their substitutes,” writes Peter Oh. “But he Cantwell score from the bench, can he?”
Now we’ve started!
8 mins: While I imagine what ‘Dulwich Hamlet’ sounds like in an American accent, Norwich try to get a foothold in the game, with Hernandez trying to make inroads down the left. He fails, but Watford have been happy to sit back since going ahead.
5 mins: Norwich win a corner, but can’t do anything with it. What a rough start that was – the crowd are understandably a little subdued.
“This isn’t even the only massive game going on right now!” writes JR in Illinois. “Dulwich Hamlet are hosting Carlisle United in hot FA Cup first round action. For some reason they are showing that game here in the US, so I’m going to keep an eye on that as well as this one.”
Indeed, JR. Carlisle have taken an early, atmosphere-sapping lead at Champion Hill.
2 mins: Emi Buendia has to take some of the blame, attempting a daft stepover in midfield and losing the ball. There’s still plenty for Gerard Deuleofeu to do, but the Norwich defence refuse to close him down and he just keeps going, sashaying into the area and slotting the ball beyond Krul!
After a minute’s remembrance, the game gets under way. Norwich are in green and gold, Watford in a navy/purple change kit.
The teams are heading out of the tunnel. Right on cue, the rain has started falling at Carrow Road.
This isn’t the only massive game on this weekend – Liverpool are playing Manchester City on Sunday, in case you hadn’t heard.
Quique Sánchez Flores, the charismatic detective to Farke’s rugged supervillain, has made three changes to his Watford team, with José Holebas, Étienne Capoue and Will Hughes replacing Adam Masina, Nathan Chalobah and Andre Gray. Troy Deeney joins Gray on the bench, with Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra forming an unusual strike duo.
Here’s Martin Laurence on what Flores needs to do to get Watford out of trouble:
This fixture has regularly delivered goals in recent years, as Simon Burnton notes in this week’s 10 things to look out for:
“This could be a barnstorming 10-10 draw, fit to make Liverpool and Arsenal blush,” writes Bill Jones, “but only if their inability to score succumbs to their failure to keep goals out.”
Who’s this beautiful man with a lovely voice? It’s
Daniel Farke, who is positively chipper despite his team’s recent struggles.
““It’s an important game, but it’s not all over whether we win or lose,” he says. “Even after Man City, we knew there would be difficult times, and we’ve had an injury crisis.”
“In football, all topics are connected. We’ve had to be more solid in defence, but now we’re not so fluent as before, so we’ve got to find that balance. To play football with the knife between your teeth, but with a smile on your face, it’s difficult.”
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Tettey, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, McLean; Buendía, Stiepermann, Hernández; Pukki.
Subs: Fährmann, Byram, Vrancic, Cantwell, Drmic, Amadou, Srbeny.
Watford (3-4-1-2): Foster; Kabasele, Dawson, Cathcart; Janmaat, Capoue, Doucouré, Holebas; Hughes; Deulofeu, Pereyra.
Subs: Gomes, Mariappa, Deeney, Masina, Chalobah, Gray, Femenía.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
It’s nights like these that make you wonder how the Premier League gets away with it. The top flight’s Friday live slate rarely captures the imagination, but this clash between the league’s bottom two looks the most unappealing prospect on paper since (insert your own Brexit joke here).
That said, nobody expected a nine-goal thriller when Southampton hosted Leicester, and this early six-pointer does have the potential to be eminently watchable. Despite both being odds-on for the drop, these two teams are still capable of playing fluid, intelligent attacking football when everything clicks.
Unfortunately, both are also waist-deep in existential crises, weeks spent in the bottom three eroding their sense of identity. Watford brought in Quique Sánchez Flores to tighten up their defence, and have scored two goals in their last six league games. As for Norwich, well, they’ll always have Manchester City.
Since that statement win, Daniel Farke’s side have lost to a host of mid-table teams (Brighton, Burnley, Palace, Villa, United) without putting up much of a fight. Like his opposite number, Farke is caught between sticking to his team’s attacking ideals and buckling down for a dogfight, and is currently doing neither well.
As a result, all bets are off tonight. We might get a feast of attacking flair, or a buffet of defensive howlers. Either team could conceivably do what Leicester did, and turn what looks a tight contest into a shooting gallery. Who knows, maybe Elton or Delia will feel compelled to intervene – and maybe the Man know’s what he’s doing after all.
Kick-off: 8pm GMT. Team news and buildup to follow …
Nguồn The Guardian