Report and highlights as Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray goals lift Watford despite Christian Kabasele's red card
Saturday 9 November 2019 08:39, UK
Watford's first win in 16 league games lifted them off the bottom of the Premier League at the expense of Norwich after a 2-0 victory at Carrow Road.
Gerard Deulofeu fired the visitors ahead after just 76 seconds but Norwich squandered numerous chances to score before half-time against a Watford side who had kept only one clean sheet on the road in 2019.
Andre Gray doubled the lead seven minutes after the break, getting a heel to Deulofeu's cross with an effort that deflected off Jamal Lewis and beyond Tim Krul.
Norwich were given hope when Christian Kabasele was sent off for a second booking, but found Ben Foster in fine form to deny Lewis with a fine save, before turning Kenny McLean's effort over too.
Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (5), Tettey (5), Godfrey (6), Lewis (5), Trybull (5), McLean (5), Buendia (5), Stiepermann (5), Hernandez (4), Pukki (5).
Subs: Cantwell (6), Drmic (6), Vrancic (n/a).
Away Team: Foster (8), Janmaat (6), Dawson (7), Cathcart (6), Kabasele (4), Holebas (6), Capoue (6), Doucoure (6), Hughes (7), Pereyra (7), Deulofeu (8).
Subs: Gray (7), Mariappa (7), Masina (n/a).
Man of the match: Gerard Deulofeu
An increasingly frustrated Carrow Road watched on as Watford ended the game in control as Norwich squandered their man advantage, leaving them 20th in the Premier League while their visitors jump above Southampton, who host Everton on Saturday, into 18th.
Games between sides lacking confidence can often fail to ignite but it took barely a minute for Watford to spark into life, as Deulofeu caught Emiliano Buendia in possession and danced through the home defence before placing the ball in the bottom corner.
A stunned Norwich backline soon had more problems when Watford's flying Spanish winger turned Will Hughes' cross wide before they finally threatened an equaliser as Teemu Pukki looked to capitalise on Foster's venture into no man's land, but Kabasele made a crucial block.
With both sides much more comfortable with the ball than without it, chances were exchanged before the break but the next goal did not arrive until the 52nd minute.
Norwich named an unchanged side despite losing 2-0 to Brighton in their previous game.
There were three changes for Watford, who brought in Jose Holebas, Etienne Capoue and Will Hughes for Adam Masina, Nathaniel Chalobah and Andre Gray.
Deulofeu showed his tricky feet again to drift past Alexandre Tettey's wild challenge on the left before lifting in a cross which left Gray with work to do, but the first-half substitute met it with a deft backheel flick to leave Krul helpless.
Foster was at full stretch to stop Lewis halving the deficit moments before Kabasele received a second yellow card of the night for a needless shove on Josip Drmic in midfield, with the Belgian leaving Watford's hopes of a first league win since April in serious jeopardy.
But aside from a hopeful effort from McLean which Foster helped on its way over the bar, the hosts offered little and nearly conceded a third when Gray caught them on the break, but his attempt to chip Krul landed well over the bar.
Norwich manager Daniel Farke: "We're disappointed, and annoyed. It was not necessary to lose this game, we dominated possession, had more shots, created more chances, but you need to play without mistakes. When you have mistakes in front of the goal, it's an annoying day.
"If you start in such an important game with a nursery mistake, it doesn't help with the confidence or mood. We were struggling for 10 minutes or so after that, but I'm pretty annoyed with the mistake."
Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores: "I know what it means for the players and club, they deserve to have won before and they've been working hard. We've not been getting results, but we deserved more. To play 11 against 10 is not easy either.
"It's a big difference, scoring early. We did the same against Tottenham, the team has become more strong and solid though."
Deulofeu doesn't always come good but he does seem to perform when it really matters. It wasn't quite his FA Cup semi-final heroics at Carrow Road but it might prove just as important that his goal and assist got Watford up and running at the 12th time of asking.
He was just too good for the Norwich defence. His technical ability was on another level and left them chasing shadows in the build-up to both Watford goals.
Norwich face the long trip to Liverpool to face Everton on November 23 at 3pm. At the same time, Watford will be hosting former manager Sean Dyche's Burnley at Vicarage Road.