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Watford 2-1 Norwich: Danny Welbeck's overhead kick gives Hornets vital victory

Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck's goal was his first in the Premier League for Watford since joining on a free transfer in August

Danny Welbeck scored the winner with a spectacular overhead kick as Watford came from behind to beat Norwich and move four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Norwich, who remain bottom of the table and are now 10 points behind the 17th-placed Hornets, will be relegated if they lose to West Ham on Saturday.

Emiliano Buendia's curled effort gave Norwich an early lead before Craig Dawson equalised with a close-range header.

The home side won it through Welbeck's wonderful goal, after the ball looped up following a poor clearance by Max Aarons.

Former Manchester United and Arsenal striker Welbeck, who has played for England 40 times, was making only his fifth start in the league for Watford since joining them on a free transfer in August after a hamstring injury in October kept him out for more than three months.

"It's been frustrating for Danny because he came with a big reputation but was injured so early," said Hornets manager Nigel Pearson. "He's been patient and his desire to get back has been really big.

"When I've not played him he's been disappointed but he has to trust us to look after him."

Welbeck described the match-winning goal as a "very important one and one that means a lot to me and the whole club".

He added: "We've got four games left and we will give it our all. I've done that [an overhead kick] a lot of times in training and it paid off - I kept my eye on the ball and it went into top bins so it was perfect.

"That was a great goal and I'm very pleased with that one."

Norwich had a late chance to grab an equaliser, but 19-year-old Adam Idah shot wide from five yards out when sliding in at the back post.

Defensive errors again cost doomed Norwich

After their 1-0 home loss to Brighton on Saturday, Canaries boss Daniel Farke seemed resigned to relegation, saying that game had been their "last chance" and any talk of them staying up was "unrealistic".

The German called for his side to show some pride and he will have been pleased with how they began at Vicarage Road.

Buendia, who had earlier seen a free-kick tipped over by Ben Foster, scored his first Premier League goal when he collected the ball from Onel Hernandez's fine run, cut inside defender Adam Masina and curled the ball into the net from 15 yards out.

Norwich first goal
Norwich's goal was only their seventh away from home in the Premier League all season

Norwich have received plaudits for their style of football since winning promotion from the Championship last season, and gained some impressive results, including wins over Manchester City, Leicester and Everton and draws with Arsenal and Tottenham.

But the key reason they look destined for an instant return to the second tier has been their poor defensive record. And true to form their lead only lasted six minutes before they conceded a soft equaliser.

Dawson lost his marker and was too strong for Alexander Tettey to head into the net from close range from Etienne Capoue's delivery.

Farke will also be unhappy with Watford's second, as Aarons should have done much better with his clearance before Welbeck's overhead kick.

Norwich have now conceded more goals than any other team in the Premier League this season (63).

Pearson close to completing remarkable turnaround

While Norwich, who still have to play both Chelsea and Manchester City away from home, will be preparing for Championship football next season, Nigel Pearson's Watford still have their fate in their own hands.

This victory takes them on to 31 points, four more than Aston Villa and Bournemouth, with the Hornets also having a better goal difference than those two sides.

They take on a Newcastle side in mid-table on Saturday, before an away match at another team looking to stay up, West Ham, on 17 July, before ending the season with games against Manchester City and Arsenal.

If Watford can survive in the top flight it will complete a remarkable turnaround under Pearson - their third manager of the season after Javi Gracia was sacked in September and Quique Sanchez Flores was dismissed in December.

When Pearson took over, Watford had only eight points from 14 games and were six points adrift of safety, but have now gained 23 points from 20 matches since Pearson's appointment.

Man of the match - Danny Welbeck (Watford)

Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck's only other goal for Watford came in their 2-1 Carabao Cup third-round win over Swansea in September

'We're going to do everything we can' - what they said

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Watford found strength to claim huge win - Pearson

Watford boss Nigel Pearson to Sky Sports: "I thought we showed a lot of character - not always composure - but the result was more important than the performance. I feel for Norwich because they played pretty well and we've had to fight very hard. Their ability to keep the ball made it difficult.

"We desperately needed three points and we got it. It's only us who can keep us up, we've got to win enough points.

"Sometimes clubs are in a position like this is because there's not enough care. I know that's not the case here. We're going to do everything we can to stay up."

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Norwich left their hearts out on the pitch - Farke

Norwich City boss Daniel Farke to BBC Sport: "We knew, we're not naive, we're in a difficult situation and it's not likely we will stay in the league. I feel sorry for the lads, they left their hearts on the pitch. We won more or less all statistics but the one that matters is goals.

"I can't accuse the players too much. If you always feel unlucky it's not luck, it's a bit of quality missing.

"We're the underdog each game, even before the season started we were favourites for position 20. We have seven academy products, we're the only self-funding club in this division so we can't spend money."

Welbeck's first Premier League goal since August 2018 - the stats

  • Watford registered only their second win in their last 12 Premier League matches (drew three, lost seven) and their first since beating champions Liverpool 3-0 in February.
  • 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.
  • Watford came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time since January 2019 away at Crystal Palace
  • Norwich City ended a run of seven hours and 53 minutes without a Premier League goal, with Emiliano Buendia's strike after four minutes their first since February against Leicester City.
  • Danny 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.
  • Norwich's Emiliano Buendía scored his first Premier League goal with his 37th shot in the competition.
  • Watford defender Craig Dawson has scored two goals in five Premier League appearances since the June restart - beforehand, he had not found the net in 20 league appearances for the Hornets this season.
  • Norwich scored first and lost for a third time in the Premier League this season (also at home to Sheffield United and Wolves in December), while the Canaries remain the only side yet to recover a point from a losing position in Europe's top five leagues this season.

What's next?

Both sides have home matches starting at 12:30 BST on Saturday, 11 July, with Watford entertaining Newcastle and Norwich taking on West Ham.

Norwich then play Chelsea away on 14 July (20:15), before Watford play at West Ham on Friday, 17 July (20:00)

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 27Kabasele
  • 4Dawson
  • 11Masina
  • 29CapoueSubstituted forChalobahat 87'minutes
  • 19HughesBooked at 23minsSubstituted forCleverleyat 59'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 23Sarr
  • 16Doucouré
  • 10Welbeck
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 6Mariappa
  • 8Cleverley
  • 14Chalobah
  • 15Cathcart
  • 17João Pedro
  • 18Gray
  • 33Pussetto
  • 37Pereyra

Norwich

  • 1Krul
  • 2Aarons
  • 4GodfreyBooked at 88mins
  • 15Klose
  • 12LewisBooked at 9mins
  • 8Vrancic
  • 27TetteyBooked at 11minsSubstituted forMcLeanat 55'minutes
  • 17BuendíaBooked at 90mins
  • 18StiepermannSubstituted forIdahat 76'minutes
  • 11HernándezSubstituted forMartinat 83'minutes
  • 22PukkiSubstituted forDrmicat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Rupp
  • 19Trybull
  • 20Drmic
  • 23McLean
  • 25Duda
  • 33McGovern
  • 35Idah
  • 41Thomas
  • 56Martin
Referee:
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home9
Away12
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away3
Fouls
Home11
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 2, Norwich City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 2, Norwich City 1.

  3. Booking

    Tom Cleverley (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Max Aarons (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

  6. Booking

    Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Emiliano Buendía (Norwich City).

  8. Post update

    Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Emiliano Buendía.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Max Aarons (Norwich City).

  11. Post update

    Adam Masina (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Booking

    Ben Godfrey (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ben Godfrey (Norwich City).

  14. Post update

    Tom Cleverley (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Etienne Capoue.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adam Idah (Norwich City) right footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Josip Drmic.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Josip Drmic (Norwich City) header from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jamal Lewis with a cross.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Josh Martin replaces Onel Hernández.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Josip Drmic replaces Teemu Pukki.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Adam Idah (Norwich City).

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool33292272254789
2Man City33213981344766
3Chelsea341861063461760
4Leicester34178964323259
5Man Utd331510856332355
6Wolves33131374536952
7Arsenal34121485042850
8Tottenham33139115244848
9Sheff Utd33121293433148
10Burnley33137133746-946
11Everton33128134048-844
12Newcastle331110123545-1043
13Southampton33134164255-1343
14Crystal Palace34119143043-1342
15Brighton33812133544-936
16West Ham3387184058-1831
17Watford34710173153-2231
18Aston Villa3376203662-2627
19Bournemouth3376203259-2727
20Norwich3456232663-3721
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