Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo fire Watford to victory over Norwich City
Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo helped Watford move back into the top half of the Premier League table as they each scored to see off Norwich City 2-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
A first half of few chances was brought to life on 30 minutes when Ighalo’s powerful run into the box was unfairly halted by Alexander Tetty, with Deeney making no mistake in converting the resulting penalty, becoming the first Watford player to score in four consecutive Premier League games.
Ighalo saw a header disallowed for offside just before half-time, before squandering a number of second-half chances as Norwich tried to hold on.
But he was eventually rewarded for his sparkling performance in stoppage time, bursting through a ragged visiting defence to coolly slot home.
A sixth win of the season for Quique Sanchez Flores’s men sees them climb to ninth, with the form of strike partners Deeney and Ighalo sure to boost their increasingly strong hopes for survival.
In contrast, the result will have done little to ease Norwich’s relegation worries with the Canaries having now claimed just one win in their last 10 Premier League games, keeping them 16th.
Alex Neil’s side rarely looked likely to threaten, having been pegged back early in the contest, Nathan Ake drilling an effort that deflected off Andre Wisdom, with referee Mike Dean quick to wave away appeals for handball.
Watford, who made two changes from the win at Villa Park last week, continued to grow into the game but were met by an impressive Norwich rear-guard, meaning visiting goalkeeper Declan Rudd was left to enjoy a quiet start to his first top flight appearance in four years.
But Norwich’s defensive efforts were undone with half an hour played as Tettey, making his return to the side from injury, recklessly scythed down Ighalo inside the area, allowing strike partner Deeney to coolly fire home from 12 yards.
Watford’s top scorer Ighalo thought he had added a second seven minutes before half-time, although he was denied by the linesman’s flag, despite appearing well onside.
The Nigerian was spurned again six minutes later by Rudd’s smart near-post save following a scampering run down the left, before Sebastien Bassong headed over in a rare Norwich attack.
Robbie Brady dragged a half-volley wide just after the break, but Watford remained on top with Ighalo at the centre of their attacking efforts, showing great strength to outmuscle Bassong on 56 minutes inside the area before finding the side-netting.
A fine stop from Rudd just after the hour denied Ighalo again following Etienne Capoue’s defence-splitting pass, with the keeper also equal to a tame effort inside the box moments later.
Ighalo’s strength continued to cause problems and, after flashing an angled half-volley across goal, he finally had his goal in stoppage time, racing clear to seal the victory by slipping a neat finish under Rudd.
Key Opta stats:
– The Hornets have score three penalty goals this season, only Leicester have netted more (5).
– Odion Ighalo has been directly involved in six goals in his last six top-flight appearances (4 goals, 2 assists).
– Ighalho has also scored more goals than any other player in the top four tiers in 2015 (25).
– Norwich have managed just one clean sheet in the Premier League this season (no team has no clean sheets).
– The Canaries have enjoyed just one win in their last 10 Premier League games, drawing three and losing six.
– Watford now have six victories in the league this season, equalling the most they have ever enjoyed in a full Premier League season (99/00).