Premier League
WatfordWatford2NorwichNorwich City0

Watford 2-0 Norwich City

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Troy Deeney scores for Watford
Troy Deeney scored his fourth successive league match

Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo both scored as Watford earned a deserved win over struggling Norwich.

Captain Deeney smashed home from the spot after strike partner Ighalo had been fouled by Alex Tettey.

Nigeria's Ighalo, who gave Norwich's defence huge problems, added a second in stoppage time when he slotted in.

Norwich keeper Declan Rudd also twice denied Ighalo with good blocks as well as producing a great save to push away his close-range toe-poked shot.

Relive the action from Vicarage Road.

All the action and reaction from Saturday's Premier League games.

The ideal combination

Watford improving every time - Flores

Managers can go throughout their careers without finding the perfect partnership in attack. But not Quique Sanchez Flores.

In Deeney and Ighalo, the Spanish coach has statistically the most creative pairing in the league.

Both are incredibly hard working, and interchange where they play in attack. When Ighalo is furthest forward, the skipper plays behind him and vice versa.

It is a tactic that works because both have the physical strength to challenge the last defender with balls played through and over the top, and both can hold the ball up in deep positions before releasing the other.

The duo have now combined to create 24 goal-scoring chances for each other in the Premier League this campaign - more than any other pair.

Immense Ighalo

Odion Ighalo and Lewis Grabban touch map
The Odion Ighalo and Lewis Grabban touch map shows who was involved in more goalmouth action - ineffective Norwich forward Grabban was taken off in the 67th minute

Deeney grabbed his fifth in six Premier League games on Saturday, but today it was Ighalo who deserved the plaudits after he gave the Canaries defence a tough workout.

The 26 year old was 'shifted' to Hertfordshire in 2014 from Udinese - a club run by the Pozzo family, external-linkwho also own Watford. He has been one of the players of the Premier League season so far.

Sebastian Bassong was asked to mark the Nigerian today. It was a battle the Cameroonian looked set to win having put him off his stride during two goalscoring chances.

But Ighalo never gave up, and in the 91st minute the Nigeria international outmuscled his shadow to fire home. The assist? Deeney once again.

Huff and puff but no bite

First goal absolutely crucial - Neil

Of their six defeats in the last eight games, in only one match have Norwich conceded more than two goals. That was the 6-2 defeat at Newcastle, which was not a fair reflection of the way the Canaries performed.

Despite conceding twice, Alex Neil should have no qualms about his side defended. His problems are at the other end.

Lewis Grabban failed to have a shot on target and was substituted midway through the second half. Dieumerci Mbokani was brought on at half-time to provide more of an aerial and physical threat but made little contribution. Midfielder Robbie Brady had the best effort for his side with a shot that went three yards wide.

Four goals in the last eight league games tells the tale.

Man of the match - Odion Ighalo (Watford)

Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo scored his ninth goal of the season, won the penalty and had a hatful of chances

What the managers said

Watford boss Quique Flores, speaking to BBC Sport:

"It was difficult to play Norwich. They put a lot of strikers on the pitch and played the long ball. We tried to keep calm until the last moment and still counter attack. Finally I think the result is clear because we had a lot of chances - especially in the second half.

"The wind was very hard for both teams. But in the second half we protected the ball better. I think we played a good match.

"Ighalo is not just scoring goals but he is also supporting the offensive system with Deeney, who is creating chances too.

"The players here have been really focused since the beginning of the season. They are very positive, and it's true that we have a lot of new players, but they are very good professionals. We are still improving."

Norwich manager Alex Neil, speaking to BBC Sport:

"The conditions didn't make for a great game and they dealt with them better. There wasn't anything between the teams. At this level the first goal is absolutely crucial. To give it away in the manner we did, it didn't do us any favours.

"To lose 2-0 is extremely disappointing. As the game opened up we left more space at the back, but that is the price you pay when you concede the first goal.

"Robbie Brady had a couple of good chances, there was a bad touch and a bad finish. There were wee bits and bobs throughout the game, but I don't think we did enough."

The stats you need to know

  • Deeney is the first Watford player to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances.
  • The Hornets have score three penalty goals this season, only Leicester have netted more (five).
  • Ighalo has been directly involved in six goals in his last six top-flight appearances (4 goals, 2 assists).
  • Ighalo 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).

What next?

The Hornets travel to Sunderland, another struggling team, next Saturday. Alex Neil's Norwich, with six defeats in their last eight league matches, host Everton.

Line-ups

Watford

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Nyom
  • 15Cathcart
  • 3Britos
  • 16Aké
  • 21AnyaSubstituted forParedesat 74'minutes
  • 23WatsonBooked at 60mins
  • 29Capoue
  • 7JuradoSubstituted forAbdiat 77'minutes
  • 24IghaloBooked at 90minsSubstituted forGuédiouraat 90+4'minutes
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 56mins

Substitutes

  • 10Oularé
  • 14Paredes
  • 17Guédioura
  • 22Abdi
  • 25Holebas
  • 32Diamanti
  • 34Arlauskis

Norwich

Formation 4-5-1

  • 13Rudd
  • 3Wisdom
  • 24BennettBooked at 76mins
  • 6Bassong
  • 23Olsson
  • 22RedmondSubstituted forMbokaniat 45'minutes
  • 18Dorrans
  • 27TetteyBooked at 29mins
  • 8HowsonSubstituted forOdjidja-Ofoeat 78'minutes
  • 12BradyBooked at 87mins
  • 7GrabbanSubstituted forJeromeat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Ruddy
  • 5Martin
  • 9Mbokani
  • 10Jerome
  • 21Mulumbu
  • 28O'Neil
  • 32Odjidja-Ofoe
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
20,422

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home14
Away7
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away1
Fouls
Home11
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Watford 2, Norwich City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Watford 2, Norwich City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Watford).

  4. Post update

    Dieumerci Mbokani (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Watford) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Adlène Guédioura replaces Odion Ighalo.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).

  8. Post update

    Martin Olsson (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Booking

    Odion Ighalo (Watford) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

  10. Goal!

    Goal! Watford 2, Norwich City 0. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

  11. Post update

    Offside, Norwich City. Alexander Tettey tries a through ball, but Cameron Jerome is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

  13. Post update

    Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Graham Dorrans (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  15. Booking

    Robbie Brady (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Almen Abdi (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Robbie Brady (Norwich City).

  18. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Almen Abdi.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Robbie Brady (Norwich City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Martin Olsson.

  20. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.