Norwich City will host Watford with both teams hoping for promotion to the Premier League. On Saturday afternoon, the Canaries secured a point split over Queens Park Rangers. The Hornets’ concerning performance against second-tier rivals Leicester City persisted that same day.
Preview (Norwich City vs. Watford)
Norwich returned to second-tier action and performed admirably. They picked up four points from two games against relegation-threatened QPR and Coventry City. On Saturday at Loftus Road, strikes from Kenny McLean and USA international Joshua Sargent on either side of the halftime whistle erased Jack Colback’s opening goal to give the visiting Canaries a second-period lead. However, two January arrivals combined to help the R’s steal a point. Lucas Andersen helped Michael Frey score his first goal in English football.
With just one loss in their last six Championship games, David Wagner’s team is still riding high. They are currently in ninth place, two points behind sixth-place Sky Blues. Norwich crushed them in their most recent meeting at Carrow Road. On the left side of the Canaries attack, Spaniard Borja Sainz is starting to find his incredible stride. He dealing with a plethora of fitness issues since joining from Turkish team Giresunspor in the summer. In his last three appearances, the 22-year-old has contributed two goals.
Despite not being as dominant as they were during their championship-winning seasons of 2018–19 and 2020–21 when players like Teemu Pukki ruled the roost, Norwich has shown promise this season at home in East Anglia, winning nine of their fifteen Championship games at Carrow Road and accruing 29 points. Watford’s mini-slump at the start of 2024 is about to get more worrying. The team last experienced triumph in the Championship over a month ago in West London against QPR.
Leading scorer Jonathan Rowe hurt his hamstring late in the game at QPR, potentially dealing a serious injury blow to Norwich ahead of their meeting on Tuesday night. It’s unknown when the attacker will return to action until the results of a scan indicate the severity of the injury, but it’s likely that he won’t be available for Watford’s visit, so Christian Fassnacht should continue to play on the right flank. Supporters of the Canaries were expecting Sydney van Hooijdonk to come on during the second half of the match this past Saturday, but the 24-year-old was kept off the field by Wagner, who chose to throw Onel Hernandez into the Loftus Road fire instead.
After a stint on the sidelines, Grant Hanley is looking to play alongside Ben Gibson at center-back. The Scotsman will start just his third league game of the year. Ismael, who will start Rajovic in attack at Carrow Road, claims that Dennis is not yet ready for his second full appearance as a Watford player, even though he scored against Leicester. The injury of Vakoun Bayo, who was substituted after just three minutes of play the last time out, has expedited the Dane’s return to the starting lineup. After impressing his head coach by playing at right-back against the Foxes, Tom Dele-Bashiru could once again start in that unusual position.
Norwich City 2-1 Watford
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