Welbeck’s Goal of Year candidate sends Watford past Norwich City

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Danny Welbeck’s incredible overhead goal gave Watford three huge points and likely sealed Norwich City’s fate in the bottom three as the Hornets picked up a huge 2-1 win at Vicarage Road on Tuesday.

Craig Dawson also scored for Watford, who joins West Ham four points above the bottom three on 31 points.

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Emiliano Buendia put Norwich ahead early but the Canaries couldn’t find the end product on a day they arguably deserved a point.

WATFORD – NORWICH CITY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Norwich now sits 10 points back of safety with only 12 available in its remaining fixtures, a perilous path at that considering West Ham-Watford and West Ham-Aston Villa will see teams ahead of it catch points.


Three things we learned

1. Hornets safe(r), Canaries almost done: The rate that the bottom five have been winning lately means Watford’s 31 points feel a lot safer than they probably should. Conversely, Norwich City needed this one. The Canaries still have West Ham and Burnley but will also need to beat Chelsea and Man City away to beat the drop. Sorry, Norwich faithful, but that would be the greatest escape in the history of great escapes.

2. Welbeck’s still got something special in his locker: The former Arsenal and Manchester United forward has endured a lot of struggles, most of them injury-related, but he reminded us of his special talent with a terrific bit of improvisation to produce his first PL goal with Watford. Welbeck’s overhead kick came with tremendous athleticism from 15 yards or so after a cross from Ismaila Sarr was deflected to him at the back post. Stunning stuff, and his first PL goal since scoring for Arsenal on Aug. 25, 2018, versus West Ham.

2. Canaries don’t quit: There’s something admirable about Norwich continuing to scrap despite clearly possessing the least depth in the league following big injuries to defenders. Norwich had more of the ball but couldn’t find a way through, which isn’t a new problem. Emiliano Buendia is a special talent, Teemu Pukki a good finisher, and there are quality pieces in Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons, but Norwich doesn’t have enough to produce goals; Buendia’s beauty was the Canaries’ fifth in PL play in 2020.

Man of the Match

Etienne Capoue — The ex-Spurs man is such a good ball mover, even apart from his assist on Dawson’s opener. Capoue completed 95 percent of his passes including a pristine 5-of-5 on long balls (SofaScore). He won duels and made two interceptions in helping the Hornets come closer to safety.


Watford – Norwich City recap

Watford’s Ben Foster made a flying save on a 3rd minute free kick.

It was a warning, and Buendia delivered on the warning with a well-hit left-footed shot across goal after Onel Hernandez dribbled from left to right to find the Argentine.

It was level within moments, as Dawson got the back post to meet Etienne Capoue’s cross and power a header off Tim Krul and into the goal.

Danny Welbeck was on the doorstep in the 42nd minute but couldn’t keep his header from sailing over the bar.

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Foster made a great save to deny Max Aarons and Buendia in quick succession nine minutes after halftime.

Welbeck put the Hornets ahead with a sensational bicycle kick goal when Ismaila Sarr’s cross was deflected into the air.

Transfer news: Saint-Maximin in demand, Norwich back to German giants

Saint-Maximin to PSG
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
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The Sunday morning papers are helping the transfer rumor mill buzz after a weekend of matches in Europe.

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Newcastle is mentioned as a home for several players but the biggest Magpies name is one linked with a departure to big, big clubs.

Saint-Maximin to PSG, PL big boys

Newcastle supporters, avert your eyes and trust Steve Bruce (What a sentence and maybe a mantra).

Magpies talisman Allan Saint-Maximin has caught the eye of everyone on Tyneside and most of the Premier League but is being linked with a big money move back home.

Steve Bruce is flat-out denying there’s any chance of selling the Frenchman, 23, who is being linked with Paris Saint-Germain and “all of England’s current top six sides.”

“ASM” has four goals and seven assists in 25 appearances entering Sunday morning’s match versus West Ham and is one of just three players to average more than four dribbles per game, his 4.7 sandwiched between Adama Traore (5) and Wilfried Zaha (4.5).

It’s not just about the numbers with Saint-Maximin, though, whose magnetic dribbling and personality keep both a defense off-balance and a team hopeful and happy. Newcastle is 1W-3D-7L in the Premier League when Saint-Maximin plays, 10-6-5 when he’s out there.

Any sale, especially with Newcastle’s takeover looming, would have to be well over the approximately $20 million paid by the Magpies last summer.

Schick to Newcastle (amongst others)

The same report lays out a more realistic shopping list for the Magpies than many of the rumors since reports emerged of a big money takeover at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle is being linked with Roma’s Patrik Schick, Nice’s Arnaud Lusamba, Benfica’s Florentino Luis, Penarol’s Facundo Pellistri, and Norwich City’s Ben Godfrey.

Let’s focus on Schick and Lusamba.

Patrick Schick Leipzig Bundesliga
DORTMUND, GERMANY – DECEMBER 17: Patrik Schick (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Schick was once among the most sought-after names in the game. The 24-year-old Czech striker has nine goals in 22 caps for his country.

Three seasons removed from his breakout season at Sampdoria, Schick has profound his footing on loan to RB Leipzig from Roma. The center forward has 10 goals in 22 matches despite Timo Werner carrying the water in fine fashion for Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig.

Like Saint-Maximin last season, Lusamba has been in- and out-of-favor with Nice boss Patrick Vieira. But it’s worth noting that the manager has tried to find a place on the pitch for the 23-year-old center midfielder, deploying him at center forward and right mid at times.

Lusamba averaged 1.2 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per Ligue 1 appearances this season.

Godfrey to Borussia Dortmund

Speaking of Godfrey, could he be going from the bottom of the Premier League table to the upper reaches of Germany? For close to $30 million, to boot?

Two of the Bundesliga’s top clubs continue to monitor top young Premier League talent including the aforementioned Godfrey, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig eyeing the 22-year-old.

A center back in Norwich’s maligned and injury-battered defense, England youth international Godfrey has played the seventh-most minutes for Daniel Farke’s Canaries.

Relegation victims have often yielded incredible value for bigger clubs, two great cases in point being ex-Hull City man Andrew Robertson and former Aston Villa force Idrissa Gana Gueye. We don’t need to tell you where they wound up.

Norwich boss Farke accepts relegation is inevitable

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Norwich boss Daniel Farke has accepted relegation is inevitable.

Farke, who worked wonders on a shoestring budget to get Norwich promoted as champions of the Championship last season, looked a beaten man after their 1-0 defeat at home to Brighton on Saturday.

That result leaves them seven points from safety with five games to go, although they do play relegation rivals West Ham and Watford in their next two games.

Norwich’s players looked despondent after the Brighton defeat, with several staying out on the pitch for many minutes without going into the locker rooms. Todd Cantwell, Timm Klose and Onel Hernandez were just some of the dejected Norwich players who now look all but resigned to relegation.

These comments from Daniel Farke suggests their coach agrees with them.

“It is the story of our season,” Farke told BT Sport. “Started quite well but didn’t find the cutting edge. Then one crucial mistake when we were too over excited with the pass. Brighton were able to punish us, we dominated the second half, had several chances but the cutting edge was missing. We deserved more. We didn’t show the final quality to score the goal. I can’t ask for more passion, or workload.

“It is a disappointing day for us because we knew it was more or less the last chance. It is important we learn for the future. I will pick them up. After five losses in a row it is no time for a fighting message. We don’t have the right, it is important to stay humble. We want to show our pride.”

This is quite odd. Yes, Norwich have spent next to nothing and Farke has been okay with that as they don’t want the club to mismanaged financially.

Pretty much all season long Farke has said it would be a miracle if they stayed up and even though they’ve lost all four games since the Premier League restart, if they win the next two they have a chance of survival.

Farke and Norwich seem to have given up and it’s tough to understand why.

They are losing games 1-0 after not quite finding a finishing touch and making defensive errors but they are fun to watch and full of skill and creativity. The margins are so small but Norwich are acting like they are 27 points from safety instead of seven.

Brighton edge Norwich closer to relegation

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Brighton beat Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road on Saturday to all but secure their Premier League safety and push Norwich closer towards a prompt return to the second-tier.

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Leandro Trossard swept home the only goal of the game in the first half as Brighton defended well and Norwich had plenty of possession, as always, but couldn’t make it count.

With the win Brighton move on to 36 points, while Norwich have lost all four of their games since the restart and remain bottom of the table on 21 points, seven points from safety with five games to go.


Three things we learned

1. Same old story for Norwich: Lovely flicks, patient build up and then, well, nothing. Norwich are good to watch, their full backs bomb on in support of attacks but they had no cutting edge at all. Then they were hit on the counter time and time again as Brighton just had to connect a few passes out wide to be down the other end of the pitch in moments. Norwich have tried to play the right way but since December there’s be no cutting edge up top and that is why they are likely to be relegated. Norwich have lost six-straight games in all competitions and they just haven’t been good enough this season.

2. Brighton solid and safe: This win means Brighton are all but safe from relegation as they sit nine points above the bottom three with five games to go. Brighton have Man City and Liverpool to play in their next two but Graham Potter’s side have picked up seven points from the first 12 available since the restart and they were solid defensively, kept mistakes to a minimum and were dangerous on the break. Job done for the Seagulls and Potter’s first season in charge has been a big success in terms of staying up (pretty much) and their new style of play.

3. Next two games crucial for Canaries: All is not lost. They have to play relegation rivals Watford and West Ham in their next two games and they just have to win both. They have to. That will be a tall order but if they play the way they did in the first half against Brighton, they can get results. Their final three games of the season are against Burnley, Chelsea and Man City. Time is running out, though, as they try to stop a fifth relegation from the Premier League.

Man of the Match

Tariq Lamptey – The youngster was a January addition from Chelsea and he’s slotted in really well out wide. Lamptey offers an outlet at right back and works hard defensively. Brighton look like they’ve got themselves a bargain.


After a free kick found him at the back post, Aaron Connolly smashed a shot just over the bar as Brighton had the first big chance but Norwich started the better of the two teams.

Onel Hernandez had a shot blocked after cutting inside and the Canaries had plenty of possession as they tried to force the issue in the first half. Hernandez went close again soon after but just after the water break Brighton took the lead against the run of play.

Maupay played in Aaron Mooy down the right as his cross was perfect for the arriving Trossard to steer home and put Brighton 1-0 up.

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In the second half Brighton went close through Connolly as his shot was blocked, while at the other end Emiliano Buendia had his shot blocked by Lewis Dunk.

Norwich huffed and puffed as they tried to get back in the game but despite bringing on Pukki, Cantwell and Adam Idah.

Idah flicked an effort past Mat Ryan in stoppage time but it hit the post and came back out as Farke’s side ran out of ideas and are now surely heading straight back to the Championship.

Norwich – Brighton stream: How to watch, start time, odds, team news

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Norwich – Brighton kicks off the action on Saturday (start time, 7:30am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and this is a huge game in the relegation scrap.

The Canaries simply have to win to have any change of staying up, while Brighton know a win could all but secure safety and give them a nine-point cushion above the bottom three.

NORWICH – BRIGHTON STREAM LIVE

Both teams love to play open, attractive soccer and this should be a very exciting clash, especially as Norwich will be pushing for all three points to try and kick-start their battle against the drop.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Norwich – Brighton.

Team news

Norwich make several changes as Daniel Farke continues to search for the right starting lineup. Onel Hernandez comes in, while Timm Klose is back from suspension and both Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki drop to the bench.

Brighton start Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard after they came off the bench against Man United and made a big difference. Aaron Mooy also comes into the starting lineup.

Odds and ends

(+245) Norwich v. Brighton (+120), Tie: +230

No surprise that Norwich are the underdogs given their woeful start to the restart. Brighton are the clear favorites and they would probably take a draw too. Norwich will go all-out for the win and that should make for an interesting spectacle, at least for the neutral.

Prediction

I actually think Norwich could pull this off. They just have to win and if they do then somehow they are just four points off safety with five games to go. They could still stay up and I think they will sneak a 2-1 win.