Troy Deeney

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Premier League Preview: Norwich City v. Watford

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Two teams more than a result away from safety hope to get a season-changing win at Carrow Road on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET, online at NBCSports.com).

Hosts Norwich City enter the match with seven points, the second worst total in the league to its visitors: basement-dwelling, winless Watford.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

“This will be like a big, big final for both teams,” said Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores.

Watford’s performances have improved dramatically, but the Hornets are six points back of 17th. Norwich has two more points, but their performances have been a far cry from the team that beat Man City and took Chelsea to the limit.


Injuries/suspensions

Norwich City: OUT — Timm Klose, Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley. QUESTIONABLE — Mario Vrancic.

Watford: OUT — Domingos Quina, Danny Welbeck. QUESTIONABLE — Craig Cathcart.


Probable lineups

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Tettey, Godfrey, Lewis, Cantwell, McLean, Buendia, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki.

Watford: Foster, Masina, Kabasele, Dawson, Janmaat, Doucoure, Chalobah, Hughes, Pereyra, Deulofeu, Gray.


What they’re saying

Norwich boss Daniel Farke on the mood: “I think it’s important as a coach to face reality, you can’t make jokes and have fun, you’ve got to address the elephant in the room to help them regain confidence. I don’t punish my players, it’s about helping them improve and believe in themselves.”

The Hornets’ Flores on why this match matters: “It is not the end of the season but it is a big final for both of us and the way the game and result can change the future for both teams will be massive.”


Prediction

Troy Deeney comes off the bench to make a difference in his return from injury, and Watford wins 2-1.

Watford’s Troy Deeney undergoes knee surgery

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Watford’s poor start to the season just got worse.

Captain and star striker Troy Deeney has had a knee operation and will be out for “several weeks” as he recovers,

Deeney, 31, has been Watford’s leading goalscorer in six of their past eight seasons and he continues to lead their line. But after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Everton to open up the new season, the Hornets will have to do without him until mid-September at the earliest.

Manager Javi Gracia didn’t sound overjoyed by that prospect.

“We will miss Troy because he is a very important player for us but I know he will be supporting us in the next games. I am looking forward to seeing him back as soon as possible,” Gracia said.

Watford face West Ham and Newcastle before the international break and they will be desperate to get points on the board after two defeats which saw them fail to score.

The Hornets not starting the season well comes on the back of their poor finish to last season. They were in the hunt for seventh place but faded badly and ended up finishing in 11th as well as being hammered 6-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Danny Welbeck, Andre Gray and Stefano Okaka are now likely to battle for minutes up top in the central role, while there will be more emphasis on Roberto Pereyra, Gerard Deulofeu and club-record signing Ismaila Sarr to chip in.

That being said, Deeney will need to come back fit and firing on all cylinders after the break as Watford face Arsenal, Man City, Wolves and Tottenham in a horror run of five games.

From bad to worse: Watford give up rare goal, then Deeney is sent off

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In a one-minute, 38-second span, Watford’s expectations for its match against Arsenal were completely flipped on their head.

[WATCH LIVE: Watford v. Arsenal]

First, goalkeeper Ben Foster‘s lackadaisical touch in the six-yard box allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to close him down, resulting in a block that saw the ball ricochet into the net. Then, 98 seconds later, Watford captain Troy Deeney was shown a straight-red card after an assistant referee spotted Deeney leave an elbow into the head of Arsenal central midfielder Lucas Torreira.

That left Watford down a man and down a goal. Perhaps to make matters worse, Watford manager Javi Gracia doesn’t have a star like Gerard Deulofeu available on the bench to add that attacking spark that Watford will need without Deeney on the pitch.

Watford’s Deeney: “There’s not a ceiling on us yet”

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Watford’s climb up the Premier League table may have caught teams off guard, but Manchester City would be foolish not to appreciate what their opponents in the FA Cup Final can do over 90 (and then 120) minutes.

[ RECAP: Watford 3-2 (aet) Wolves ]

Down 2-0 with under 10 minutes to play in Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Wolves at Wembley Stadium, Gerard Deulofeu sandwiched a brace around Troy Deeney‘s stoppage time penalty to clinch their second spot in an FA Cup Final.

The Hornets are in the middle of a surprising fight for seventh in the Premier League, but could earn a Europa League spot regardless of where they finish by upsetting Manchester City back at Wembley on May 18.

Here’s Deeney, who’s been with the club for 123 goals and nine seasons, from the Championship to the top flight and an upcoming final.

From the BBC:

“I’ve said on many occasions that this team has something special. We’re not the most talented, we’re not all that, but the hard work and desire at 2-0 down… many teams would’ve called it a day but we kept fighting and kept going and brought the little man on, who produced a bit of magic.

“We’ve got room to grow, there’s not a ceiling on us yet a a team. For a club of this size, let’s enjoy this moment.”

Deeney is just one feel-good story in the bunch, as 38-year-old backup goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes made a number of fine saves in what could be the final run of his long career.

“The boys kept so cool,” Gomes said. “Troy Deeney can deal with any pressure, once more he did that for us. It was amazing and he deserves it as well. … It’s about the group, the team. I will not knock on the manager’s door to play in the final. If he needs me I will be there, if not we are well served by Ben Foster.”

A big task awaits the Hornets, but they’ll be ready and know that a comeback is always possible.

Watford smashes Cardiff through Deulofeu magic (video)

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  • Deulofeu puts Watford ahead early
  • Murphy denied 1st half penalty shout
  • Spaniard scores twice more in 2nd half
  • Deeney bags brace

Gerard Deulofeu scored his first Premier League hat trick and added an assist on Troy Deeney 73rd minute goal as Watford hammered Cardiff City 5-1 at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

Deulofeu went from 9 to 12 PL goals in one afternoon, hitting a skittering shot home in the first half before using his electric pace to carve up the Cardiff back line and put together his hat trick.

Deeney scored a second in stoppage time, as Watford reclaimed seventh in the Premier League table with 40 points.

Cardiff stays 17th with 25 points, with Sol Bamba scoring the Bluebirds’ goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Deulofeu’s first goal was a grounder through traffic from atop the 18, but his next two required more engine.

The Spaniard raced down the pitch and cut around Neil Etheridge to slot his second goal on a laser-precise counter, and the third goal looked similar as he slotted into an open goal.

He then worked a defender on the left of the box before cutting back for Deeney in a place the big striker enjoys.

Bamba’s finish of a goal-mouth scramble was Cardiff’s only answer, and Deeney swept up the scoring in stoppage.

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