Watford and Norwich City meet tonight in what is a huge game at the bottom end of the Premier League table.
You often hear the cliché ‘6 pointer’ wheeled out on a number of occasions during a season, but this evening’s contest between Watford and Norwich at Vicarage Road is befitting of that moniker.
Relegation rivals Newcastle United and Burnley will be keeping a close eye on the result with 3 points splitting the four sides in the battle to beat the drop.
Currently, it’s Burnley who prop up the table on 11 points and with just a single win to brag of this term – but the Clarets have as many as 4 games in hand on those around them in the standings.
Bottom spot was occupied by Norwich City until last weekend’s dominant 2-0 win over Everton, a result which dragged the Toffees closer to the dotted line as well as costing manager Rafa Benitez his job.
With that victory, Dean Smith’s side have engineered a 2 point gap between themselves and the foot of the table, whilst also being 2 points from safety.
As for Watford, they can put distance between themselves and the drop zone with 3 points tonight, a further boost considering the Hornets too have games in hand.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have an excellent recent record against Norwich, too, having won their last 5 league games against the Canaries, whilst the Italian himself has never lost a competitive game against the East Anglian club.
The Hornets are the only side in England’s top four divisions yet to register a clean sheet this season, but with Norwich City’s dismal away record this term, this may be their best opportunity yet.
The Canaries record on the road reads three goals scored and 25 conceded, the fewest and the most in the division respectively.
In fact, it has been a remarkable 300+ weeks since Norwich last recorded back-to-back Premier League victories, but a win here in the 100th league meeting between the two sides would be a monumental boost to their survival hopes.
Any result they do get will need to be achieved without first choice goalkeeper Tim Krul who is ruled out with a shoulder injury, whilst doubts remain over the fitness of Billy Gilmour, Lukas Rupp, Andrew Omobamidele and Mathias Normann.
Watford are also depleted tonight, with Claudio Ranieri unable to call upon Adam Masina, Imran Louza and Will Troost-Ekong due to their Africa Cup of Nations involvement.
The influential Ismaila Sarr remains missing until next month, so too is Nicolas Nkoulou who won’t return until March at the earliest.
Watford v Norwich kicks off at 8pm on Friday 21st January.
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