Three changes for Norwich, who bring Teemu Pukki back into the starting line-up after a three-game absence, along with Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann, while McLean, Duda and Drmic drop out. Watford bring Adam Masina and Danny Welbeck in, and take Mariappa and Chalobah out.
The team sheets have been handed in, and these were the names upon them:
Watford: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina, Capoue, Hughes, Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck, Deeney. Subs: Gomes, Mariappa, Cleverley, Chalobah, Cathcart, Joao Pedro, Gray, Pussetto, Pereyra.
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis, Vrancic, Tettey, Emi, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki. Subs: Rupp, Trybull, Drmic, McLean, Duda, McGovern, Idah, Thomas, Martin.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Norwich first hit the bottom of the Premier League in November, and it was Watford who put them there. The hours after their 2-0 win at Carrow Road, the Canaries’ sixth defeat in seven, were also the first time since August that Watford had not occupied 20th place themselves. A season of struggle looked inevitable for both of them at the time, and so it has proved (while Southampton, who back then sat 19th, have forged a different path). At the moment the only question about these two teams’ imminent future is whether only one of them will go down, or both.
Watford’s form since the restart has been wretched, and has seen them miss several passable opportunities to claim a desperately-needed victory. There aren’t very many left, and anything but a win here might leave their morale, such as it is, terminally damaged. Some kind of rejuvenation of their forward line seems to be required: they simply aren’t creating chances, and it is telling that their two goals since the restart have both been scored by centre-backs – and one of them plays for Southampton.
As for Norwich, they need to win four of their five remaining games to have the remotest chance of staying up and must be eyeing Watford’s recent scoring issues with jealousy, not having scored at all in their four league games since the restart. To make matters worse, Todd Cantwell, one of few bright spots this season who did manage to find the net against Manchester United in the FA Cup, misses this game with a hamstring injury.
In short, this promises to be desperate stuff, but also desperately important. Welcome!