Norwich v Watford
Friday 8 November 20:00
Live on Sky Sports
Out of form Norwich in big trouble
After Norwich's stunning 3-2 win at home to the champions, Manchester City, in the middle of September, few would have envisaged the Canaries current precarious plight.
Sitting in 13th place after five games and ahead of both the other promoted teams in the table – Sheffield United and Aston Villa – Norwich fans must have been confident of a relatively successful season but eight weeks and six games later they've added just one more point to their tally, they're sitting in 19th place in the table, trailing Villa by four points and the Blades by nine, and they're the long odds-on jollies to get relegated.
Having scored five in his first five in the Premier League, Norwich's Teemu Pukki has gone from red-hot to ice cold and the only two goals the Canaries have bagged since their win against City have been late consolations at Carrow Road. Josip Drmic scored in the 87th minute when they lost 5-1 at home to Villa and Onel Hernandez netted in the 88th minute when Manchester United won there 3-1. A 0-0 draw at Bournemouth last month has been the only time they've avoided defeat since the City success and Norwich have now lost eight of their first 11 games. They're in big trouble.
Watford yet to win but proving harder to beat
Norwich are poor but it's very hard to make a strong case for Friday night's visitors being any better. The Hornets are rooted to the bottom of the table having failed to win any of their first 11 matches. Like Norwich, Watford are odds-on to be relegated but there have been signs of hope since Quique Sanchez Flores was reappointed, four games in to the new Premier League season.
Watford were walloped 8-0 at Manchester City in Flores' second game back at the helm but that has to be viewed as a bit of a freak result. City started ferociously, as they so often do at home, but everything went their way.
Having been at the match, I witnessed every bobble and deflection fall to the home side and every attempt found the net in an incredible opening 15 minutes. The Citizens raced to a record-breaking 5-0 lead but Watford weren't the first, and they won't be the last, to be put to the sword by City at the Etihad so it's not a result to read too much into.
Even including that hammering, Watford have only lost three of their last eight in the Premier League and but for this dramatic last gasp save by the Chelsea keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, on Saturday, from the head of Watford goalkeeper, Ben Foster, that would have read two of their last eight.
? Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 3, 2019
Had Watford equalised it would have been a travesty. Chelsea should have been out of sight way before Gerard Deulofeu scored an 80th minute VAR awarded penalty but they are proving harder to beat and before the Chelsea loss, they'd drawn their previous three-in-a-row, conceding just once – away at Spurs.
Visitors fancied to edge low-scoring affair
This is a huge game for both teams and defeat for either could have catastrophic consequences. Norwich's lack of Premier League experience is really starting to tell and they look like a team in freefall.
The Watford side has been woefully out of form but it's an experienced Premier League outfit and if there's going to be a winner on Friday night, it's marginally more likely to be them but they'll be nervous. Their tentative recovery could be irrevocably halted if they get beat here but given Norwich haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine home Premier League games, this looks like a great opportunity for a first win.
All five of Norwich's Premier League games this season have seen at least four goals scored so at first glance, it's clear why over 2.5 Goals is odds-on but given both sides have scored just twice in their last six matches, the chances of a goal-fest breaking out look slim.
A cautious start could be on the cards by both teams and there's a strong possibility that the game develops into a faltering affair with little in the way of drama or excitement.
I can see this being a very cagey affair and I'm tempted to play under at odds-against in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market and I'm also tempted to play Watford at around the [2.6] mark in the outright market so after a bit of deliberation, keeping stakes to a minimum and playing Watford to win and Under 3.5 Goals on the Same Game Multi with the Sportsbook looks the way to go. Combining the Watford win and Under 3.5 Goals pays £3.83 for £1 stake and that looks more than fair.