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Andre Gray celebrates after doubling Watford

Norwich 0-2 Watford: Visitors climb off the bottom of the table with their first victory of the season after goals from Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray

  • Watford claimed their first victory of the season to climb off the bottom of table
  • Gerard Deulofeu got the visitors off to the perfect start in the second minute
  • Andre Gray doubled the Hornets’ advantage with an improvised finish
  • Christian Kabasele was sent off in second-half after picking up a second booking
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Seventy-six seconds was all it took to inject some positivity into what has been a troubled start to Quique Sanchez Flores’ second spell at Watford. 

No doubt this was better than what has gone before but more wins and points need to be accumulated before Flores can begin to get comfortable.

Players haven’t bought into his ideas as much as he would like and that has caused difficulties. Thankfully Gerard Deulofeu is the type of player who has the ability to influence a match even when others around him can’t. 

Andre Gray celebrates after doubling Watford's lead away at Norwich on Friday night

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Andre Gray celebrates after doubling Watford’s lead away at Norwich on Friday night

The Watford striker flicks a cross with the outside of his boot into the back of the net

The Watford striker flicks a cross with the outside of his boot into the back of the net

The Watford striker flicks a cross with the outside of his boot into the back of the net

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Will Hughes congratulate Watford goalscorer Gerard Deulofeu

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Will Hughes congratulate Watford goalscorer Gerard Deulofeu

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Will Hughes congratulate Watford goalscorer Gerard Deulofeu

Deulofeu celebrates after striking for the visitors in just the second minute at Carrow Road

Deulofeu celebrates after striking for the visitors in just the second minute at Carrow Road

Deulofeu celebrates after striking for the visitors in just the second minute at Carrow Road

MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE 

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NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul 6; Aarons 6, Tettey 6, Godfrey 6, Lewis 6 (Vrancic 82); Trybull 6, McLean 6; Buendia 6 (Cantwell 62, 6), Stiepermann 6 (Drmic 62, 6), Hernandez 6.5; Pukki 6

Subs not used: Fahrmann, Byram, Vrancic, Amadou, Srbeny

Booked: Vrancic 

Manager: Daniel Farke 6

WATFORD (5-3-2): Foster 6; Janmaat 6.5, Kabasele 6, Dawson 6, Cathcart 6.5, Holebas 6.5 (Masina 88); Hughes 6, Capoue 6, Doucoure 6; Deulofeu 7.5 (Mariappa 70, 6), Pereyra 6 (Gray 31, 7)

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Subs not used: Gomes, Deeney, Chalobah, Femenia

Goalscorers: Deulofeu 2, Gray 52 

Booked: Kabasele, Hughes, Masina

Sent off: Kabasele 

Manager: Quique Sanchez Flores 7

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Referee: Andre Marriner 6

Attendance: 27,074 

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His clever strike in the opening stages was followed up by a delicate chip that Andre Gray converted with his heel. 

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Agony for Daniel Farke who must wonder how he will rediscover the formula that gave them all the answers in the Championship last season.

This was the battle at the bottom. Both sides had expected to be faring better than this by now. Norwich’s remarkable victory here over Manchester City demonstrated their potency but losing five of their last six before this one with 14 goals conceded told the story of a side struggling to cope defensively.

Most alarming is their form at home. Nine matches had passed without a clean sheet at Carrow Road and Watford wasted no time in making that 10.

Inside two minutes, Emiliano Buendia dawdled on the ball, Deulofeu nicked it off him and made his way into the Norwich penalty area. Without any attempt by a Norwich player to win the ball, he continued and eventually placed a shot into the far corner beyond the outstretched Tim Krul. 

The opener left Norwich dazed and confused. They tried to up the tempo but that led to misplaced passes and cheaply conceding possession.  

Norwich's Onel Hernandez crosses into the box as Daryl Janmaat tries to cover

Norwich's Onel Hernandez crosses into the box as Daryl Janmaat tries to cover

Norwich’s Onel Hernandez crosses into the box as Daryl Janmaat tries to cover

Watford's Jose Holebas battles for possession with Kenny McLean during the first half

Watford's Jose Holebas battles for possession with Kenny McLean during the first half

Watford’s Jose Holebas battles for possession with Kenny McLean during the first half

Watford defender Christian Kabsele gestures during Friday night's Premier League clash

Watford defender Christian Kabsele gestures during Friday night's Premier League clash

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Watford defender Christian Kabsele gestures during Friday night’s Premier League clash

Last season Watford would have punished teams for such mistakes but remember this is a side that takes on average 23 shots at goal before scoring. Daryl Janmaat and Deulofeu both lacked composure with a header over before a shot wide from close range.

There is, of course, reason why the Pozzo family even at this early stage have concerns over Flores in his second spell in charge. That 8-0 humiliation at Manchester City set the tone for the next five league games in which they took just three points all without winning.

Five at the back doesn’t guarantee stability as Watford showed when Onel Hernandez ran through the middle and picked out Teemu Pukki only for Craig Cathcart to clear. Hernandez was proving difficult to stop with both Janmaat and Christian Kabasele unable to keep up with him.

Two penalty appeals also came and went with Kenny McLean going down too easily although there was a case when Kabasele appeared to impede Hernandez although the fact the winger didn’t go down went against him.

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The trouble Norwich have is they seem to have lost that intensity. The same intensity that helped turn over Pep Guardiola’s champions. Deulofeu can’t be allowed room to roam yet that’s what happened time and time again. 

Teemu Pukki reacts by holding his face after a challenge with an opposition player

Teemu Pukki reacts by holding his face after a challenge with an opposition player

Teemu Pukki reacts by holding his face after a challenge with an opposition player

Referee Andre Marriner chats with Norwich's Emiliano Buendia during the match

Referee Andre Marriner chats with Norwich's Emiliano Buendia during the match

Referee Andre Marriner chats with Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia during the match

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He should not have been able to get his cross in at the second attempt for Gray to flick past Krul courtesy of Jamal Lewis’ deflection.

Flores looked relieved and so he should have. A little bit of insurance he had so desperately craved. He will also thank Foster who pulled off two incredible stops to deny Lewis and McLean. 

He won’t, however, thank Kabasele who was sent off for a second yellow card when he bundled over Josip Drmic. Gray’s attempted lob from 25 yards would have added gloss but over it went. Indeed, it really wouldn’t matter. 

Watford formed a strong backline towards the end. Yes, they gave away a couple of needless fouls but did what was necessary to stop Farke’s side finding any possible way back.