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Watford boss Claudio Ranieri
Free soccer tips, best bets and analysis for Watford v Norwich City in the Premier League on Friday.
where to watch
Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event, 8 p.m. Friday
2pts 21-20 general
Ismaila Sarr, Imran Louza, William Troost-Ekong and Adam Masina are on international duty. Peter Etebo, Nicolas N’koulou and Kwadwo Baah are injured.
Max Aarons rocked a jab but Billy Gilmour (ankle) and Mathias Normann (pelvis) stay out and Tim Krul (shoulder) misses.
Watford manager Claudio Ranieri is the new favorite in the Premier League sack race following the departure of Rafael Benitez from Everton, but the Italian can strengthen his position by guiding the Hornets to a vital win over their club rivals. relegation Norwich to Vicarage Road.
Given Watford’s reputation as a gatekeeper – they have employed 13 permanent managers in less than a decade – and their recent struggles, it’s understandable why another change in management is expected.
However, they ended a six-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw at Newcastle last Saturday and better times could be on the horizon.
Ranieri couldn’t have had a much tougher start with seven of his first 12 matches against the top seven sides.
His job has been complicated by injuries and recent African Cup of Nations call-ups, but the transfer window has allowed him to solve some of the club’s problems.
Three new signings – left-back Hassane Kamara, centre-back Samir and midfielder Edo Kayembe – made their debuts at St James’ Park and have all impressed.
Ranieri was further boosted by the return of first-choice goalkeeper Ben Foster from injury and there were clear signs that Watford were finally starting to close their defensive gaps.
While Watford have had problems preventing goals, Norwich are struggling to score them.
The Canaries took their Premier League goal tally to ten with Saturday’s 2-1 home win against ailing Everton, but they scored six fewer than basement boys Burnley and 13 fewer than the Hornets.
Dean Smith has opted for a more attacking formation in the last two matches using Adam Idah and Teemu Pukki in the first two. The partnership worked well enough against Everton with the lively Idah scoring his first goal of the season, although it was less successful three days earlier when the Canaries lost 2-0 at West Ham.
By toppling the Toffees, Norwich moved up to a point of safety, but they are 1-10 down and these negative market perceptions could be confirmed over the next four months.
Smith’s team likely needs to find six more wins to have any real chance of staying on their feet and it’s hard to see that happening unless more firepower is added by the end of the month.
Watford, meanwhile, look much better equipped to score the goals needed to survive.
Emmanuel Dennis has led the way with eight goals and five assists, five-goal striker Joshua King is a decent number nine, Joao Pedro is gaining confidence after scoring in each of the last two games and Ismaila Sarr should eventually come into the mix on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations.
Poor defending has often ruined much of Watford’s good attacking work, but they were much safer at Newcastle and, if they build on that promising performance, they can seal a vital three points.
Watford have won their last five games against Norwich.
Penalty taker king joshua
Free kick assistant Juraj Kucka
Aerial threat on set piece samir
card magnet Emmanuel Dennis
Penalty taker Teemu Pukki
Free kick assistant milot rachica
Aerial threat on set piece Grant Hanley
card magnet Max Aaron
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 2:00 PM, JANUARY 20, 2022