Watford vs Norwich news: Hornets eye sixth straight win against goal-shy Canaries

The Premier League weekend kicks off with a colossal battle between two clubs engaged in a desperate fight for survival.

For most neutrals, Watford against Norwich might not make for enthralling Friday night viewing. However, for supporters of both clubs, this is arguably one of the biggest fixtures of the season.

Norwich - who are 18th in the standings - come into this all-important match on the back of a 2-1 win over Everton. Question is, was that a turning point for the Canaries, or did they simply take advantage of a club in crisis?

That question will be answered on Friday night as Dean Smith's men look to land just their fourth Premier League win of the season.

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri (right) and Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe on the touchline during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Picture date: Saturday January 15, 2022.

Watford - who are currently 17th in the table and sit one point above their opponents - ended their run of six straight league defeats last weekend as they held Newcastle to a last-gasp 1-1 draw.

Claudio Ranieri's men desperately need to rediscover their winning ways if they are to keep their survival hopes alive. His side will take a lot of encouragement from the fact they won all five of their recent matches with Norwich.

When: Friday, January 21, 20:00 GMT

Where: Vicarage Road

Where to watch: Sky Sports

Follow this game via our score centre

Who is the ref for Watford vs Norwich

Mike Dean - inadvertent Liverpool assist?

Mike Dean will take charge of Friday's fixture alongside assistants Ian Hussin and Mark Scholes.

Dean's last visit to Vicarage Road came during the opening weekend of the season as Watford beat Aston Villa 3-2.

Season stats 2021/22: Premier League matches (14), yellows (49), reds (0), penalties (2)

Recent form

Norwich City's Milot Rashica, Josh Sargent and Brandon Williams celebrates and own goal by Everton's Michael Keane during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich.

Having won just one point from their last seven Premier League outings, there's very little positive you could say about Watford's recent form.

The one thing that will please Ranieri though, is the fact his side have found the back of the net in six of those seven games.

With that in mind, if Watford can somehow stop leaking goals, their chances of survival would greatly increase.

Norwich, on the other hand, have already enjoyed a couple of victories this month. As well as the aforementioned win over Everton, the Canaries also progressed in the FA Cup after edging Charlton away from home.

Dean Smith's side were on a six match Premier League losing run before that effort against Everton and unlike their upcoming opponents, they have found goals difficult to come by.

Watford vs Norwich players in form

Watford's Emmanuel Dennis celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

With the exception of two average performances against Tottenham and Man City, it's fair to say that Emmanuel Dennis has been one of Watford's few shining lights.

The 24-year-old has scored five goals in his last eight outings and represents Watford's biggest attacking threat.

With regards to Norwich, there isn't one player who has particularly stood out in recent weeks.

However, if you're looking to keep an eye on one particular player, Brandon Williams is your man. The 21-year-old produced a solid performance against Everton last weekend - arguably his best since joining the club - and bagged an assist in the process.

Last three matches

Norwich 1-3 Watford (Premier League - September 18, 2021)

The aforementioned Dennis bagged the opener when these two teams last met.

Teemu Pukki was able to level the score just before the break, but that was as good as things got for the Canaries.

In the second-half, a deadly brace from Ismaila Sarr helped Watford to a memorable victory away at Carrow Road.

Norwich 0-1 Watford (Championship - April 20, 2021)

The scoreline might have been different, but the outcome certainly was not when Watford travelled to Norwich in the early months of 2021.

A goal from Dan Gosling in the 57th minute sealed all three points for the visitors.

Watford 1-0 Norwich (Championship - December 26, 2020)

Sarr provided Watford fans with the ultimate Christmas gift as his goal in the 39th minute sealed yet another win for the Hornets over Norwich.

The visitors dominated proceedings but failed to find the back of the net despite producing 16 goal attempts.

Past ten matches

Watford wins: 6

Draws: 0

Norwich wins: 4

Watford goals: 15

Norwich goals: 15

Managers' thoughts:

Norwich City manager Dean Smith before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich.

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri on his players and the mood at the club: "I see how they work in the training session. They are very focused in what we are doing. The quality [is there] of course.

"They train with heart, with passion, they want to create a good atmosphere between us and the crowd together. To push together, to give some good satisfaction to our fans."

Norwich manager Dean Smith said: "It gives us the opportunity to try and climb out of the relegation places for however long, but it also gives Watford the opportunity to try and get away from us. It is a really important game for both teams. I think both teams will be really looking forward to it."

Predicted Watford vs Norwich teams

Watford have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Friday night as Ranieri remains without Nicolas Nkoulou, Peter Etebo, Kwadwo Baah and Ismaila Sarr who are all injured.

The Italian will also miss the trio of Imran Louza, Adam Masina and William Troost-Ekong who are all at the African Cup of Nations.

Norwich, meanwhile, will be without Tim Krul who picked up an injury in the victory over Everton.

The goalkeeper joins a lengthy injury list which consists of Billy Gilmour, Christoph Zimmermann, Mathias Normann, Lukas Rupp and Andrew Omobamidele.

Possible Watford starting line-up: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara, Kayembe, Dennis, Sissoko, Cleverley, Pedro, King

Possible Norwich starting line-up: Gunn, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, Sargent, Sorensen, Lees-Melou, Rashica Pukki, Idah

Watford vs Norwich prediction

Statistically speaking, it's hard to see anything other than a narrow Watford victory.

The Hornets have won this fixture five times in a row and are comfortably finding the back of the net.

Norwich, on the other hand, have scored just three goals in nine games and will be weakened at the back with the loss of goalkeeper Tim Krul.

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