Danny Welbeck’s stunning overhead kick sent Norwich a step closer to relegation from the Premier League as Watford boosted their own survival chances with a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road.
Norwich, who remain bottom of the table with only four games left to play, did take the lead in the fourth minute through Emiliano Buendia but Craig Dawson’s header (10) quickly brought the scores level.
It then took something special from Welbeck early in the second half to seal all three points for the hosts, who move 10 points ahead of Norwich and four clear of the relegation places.
The defeat leaves Norwich’s top-flight status hanging by a thread. Daniel Farke’s side are 10 points adrift of safety with only 12 points left to play for. A loss against West Ham at Carrow Road at the weekend would confirm their relegation to the Championship.
How Watford boosted their survival chances
Norwich looked to make an immediate impact as Buendia’s free-kick forced Ben Foster into an early save. and it was not long before the visitors then scored their first Premier League goal since the restart.
In the fourth minute, Onel Hernandez drove at the heart of the Watford defence before playing in Buendia, who cut inside Adam Masina and curled the ball into the far corner.
Watford: Foster (6), Femenia (7), Kabasele (7), Dawson (8), Sarr (8), Capoue (7), Doucoure (7), Hughes (6), Masina (6), Welbeck (8), Deeney (7).
Subs: Cleverley (6), Chalobah (n/a).
Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (5), Godfrey (6), Klose (6), Lewis (5), Tettey (5), Vrancic (6), Stiepermann (6), Buendia (7), Hernandez (7), Pukki (5).
Subs: McLean (6), Idah (6), Drmic (n/a), Martin (n/a).
Man of the match: Danny Welbeck
It was the perfect start for the Premier League’s bottom club, however, Farke’s side did not hold onto their lead for long.
Dawson headed home at the far post from an Etienne Capoue free-kick to level the game with less than 10 minutes played.
Norwich looked to get on the front foot as the first half wore on but they nearly caught out when Tim Krul had to keep out Welbeck’s glancing header at the near post.
Watford went close to taking the lead again just before half-time, but this time Ismaila Sarr’s cross was headed just over the Norwich bar by Welbeck.
- Watford manager Nigel Pearson made two changes from the side which was beaten 3-0 at Chelsea, as his team looked for their first win since the Premier League restart against Norwich. Adam Masina and Danny Welbeck replaced Adrian Mariappa and Nathaniel Chalobah in the starting line-up.
- Norwich recalled striker Teemu Pukki in one of three changes from their defeat to Brighton on Saturday as they continued their search for their first point since the resumption. Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann also started, with Kenny McLean, Ondrej Duda and Josip Drmic rested by Daniel Farke.
After the break, the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession, but they could not make a similar breakthrough, although Dawson had to block Hernandez’s powerful effort before Foster had to stretch out his leg to deny Max Aarons his first goal of the season.
However, the Canaries were eventually caught out by a quick break from the home side, and Sarr’s cross was deflected before the ball looped to Welbeck, who scored his first Premier League goal for the club with a spectacular overhead kick.
The home side were nearly caught out in the final stages, but Adam Idah directed a flick from Josip Drmic just wide of Foster’s goal.
Although Norwich tried to force their way back into the game and claim a point, Nigel Pearson’s side were able to hold out for their first win since their shock victory over Premier League champions Liverpool in February.
Man of the Match – Danny Welbeck
His goal was a strike worthy of winning the man-of-the-match award.
And it will be a goal remembered for a long time by the Watford fans if it helps their side secure their top-flight status for next season.
Welbeck’s crucial strike
Welbeck scored his first Premier League goal since August 2018, when he scored for Arsenal against West Ham; it was his ninth attempt at goal for Watford in the Premier League this season.
Opta stats – Watford back to winning ways
- Watford registered only their second win in their last 12 Premier League matches (D3 L7) and their first since beating champions Liverpool 3-0 in February.
- The Hornets came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time since January 2019 away at Crystal Palace.
- Norwich have lost six consecutive league matches for the first time since May 1995, when they lost seven in a row in the Premier League.
- Farke’s side ended a run of seven hours and 53 minutes without a Premier League goal, with Emiliano Buendía’s strike after four minutes their first since February against Leicester City. Buendía scored his first Premier League goal with his 37th shot in the competition.
Watford host Newcastle on Saturday at 12.30pm in the Premier League, while Norwich welcome West Ham to Carrow Road at the same time.