Coming into the season, few would have predicted Watford would be in such dire straits, as the hornets sit rock bottom of the Premier League table with just five points to their name. By contrast, most probably would have had Norwich down to be where they are – but after an impressive early going, it feels a little disappointing to see the canaries down in 19th.
Watford – where did things go wrong?
Watford, as I mentioned earlier, are currently bottom of the Premier League table and haven’t yet managed to pick up a win. With five draws and six losses, it seems Watford’s revolving door managerial policy seems to be coming back to bite them – and it’s already claimed one victim this season.
Javi Gracia, following on from a great season last year which saw him take the Hornets to the FA Cup final, wasn’t given long at all before the board sacked him this term. They opted instead to go in the direction of Quique Sanches Flores, a familiar name at Vicarage Road with the Spaniard having managed Watford a couple of years back.
Ultimately though, the managerial switch has done little to ease Watford’s worries, having picked up just three points so far. One or two of the performances have been nothing short of embarrassing, with an 8-0 drubbing at the Etihad the pick of the bunch.
So, where did it all go wrong? From the outside looking in, the recruitment looks good, the squad looks good and they have an experienced manager at the helm. For me, it’s the lack of stability, sacking Javi Gracia may have seemed the right option at the time after a shocking start, but I believe it was a potentially fatal error. Now, with a (kinda) new manager to get used to, the players don’t seem to even give too much of a damn.
Tonight is a vital, vital match-up for Watford – they could really do with the three points – but they won’t come easy against an equally desperate Canaries side in their own nest.
Norwich – full of promise, what happened?
At the start of the season, Norwich were entertaining everyone with their never give up desire, attacking prowess and enthralling energy. Fantastic performances against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, despite the results, showed everyone they were here to fight. Then, with a convincing win against Newcastle and a very memorable victory against champions Manchester City, Norwich looked set for a brilliant season.
However, in the six games since that brilliant win, Norwich have picked up just a single point. What is it that’s changed? Their biggest threat had been their fantastic attacking philosophy and work rate, but with just two goals in those six games, even that seems to have gone by the wayside.
I have to say, I do worry for Norwich for the rest of the season – they look devoid of any ideas, any defence and at the moment, any points. They need to win tonight but fortunately for them, Watford are the only team in the league who have started the season worse than they have.
Given that, and the fact this fixture is at Carrow Road, they have a great chance to pick up their first three points since mid-September.
Nico Vrancic is available for Daniel Farke to call upon having recovered from both the calf injury and the illnesses that have plagued him since August. As well as that, both Ibrahim Amadou and Todd Cantwell are fully fit.
Meanwhile, Etienne Capoue, Ismaila Sarr and Craig Cathcart are all back in training for Watford and could face Norwich tonight.
What’s been said?
Daniel Farke: “The results are not nice. Right now is a tough place to be in with moods and confidence of players, but we’re looking much better. There probably is more pressure on Watford than us, they are in a worse position than us and it’s not easy, they are meant to be an experienced Premier League team.
“Even tomorrow we are probably seen at having less than a 50% 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 in the Premier League.”
Quique Sanches Flores (on Troy Deeney): “If I say we miss him a lot, it sounds like an excuse. We don’t want excuses right now. We want to play, improve on everything and we want Deeney in this team as we know what he means for this club.
“He has done amazing to try reach this match. He is training very passionately and gives us this positive energy that he has always.”
For me, this is a very tough game to call and in keeping with the title, I do see this as the first six-pointer of the season. It’s so important, not just for the points available, but the momentum it could give either team that they go all out to pick up the points tonight.
I see it being hard fought and very tight throughout – but I’m backing Norwich to come out on top. At home, they shouldn’t lose this game and if either team is going to win, I think it’ll be the Canaries.
Prediction: 2-1 Norwich.