Watford had been beaten in three successive Premier League games, but they were facing an even more hapless side in Norwich City, so there was some hope at least.
Dennis and Troost-Ekong: Remarkable stats from Watford pair in their defeat of NorwichCity
The Nigerians played prominent roles as the Hornets returned to winning ways in the Premier League
The Canaries had lost their opening four games, conceding 11 times with only one scored and last year’s Championship winners are already tipped to go down. The Hornets were also on a three-game losing run, failing to score since that encouraging 3- 2 success over Aston Villa in gameweek one.
On Saturday, Xisco Munoz’s team triumphed 3-1 at Carrow Road, and it was thoroughly deserved.
Emmanuel Dennis, one of the heroes against Villa, netted a history-matching goal to open the scoring, while William Troost-Ekong was mostly solid at the heart of the defence.
- Emmanuel Dennis is the second player to score Watford’s first home and away goals in a Premier League season after he struck at Carrow Road, matching Etienne Capoue’s feat in the 2016-17 campaign.
- The forward’s goal materialised from Expected Goals of 0.2, highlighting good finishing on the forward’s part.
- Dennis received six progressive passes in his 72 minutes spent on the pitch. Only Joshua King received more forward-thinking passes.
- Only Ismaila Sarr (seven) had more touches in the penalty area than Dennis (five).
- William Troost-Ekong (seven) made more clearances than any player on the pitch.
- Only Danny Rose attempted more pressures in the defensive third of the pitch than the centre-back.
- The defender completed more long-range passes (17) than any outfield teammate at Carrow Road.
Rose praised Dennis post-match, citing the forward’s impressive goal and believed the West African could have scored more.
“Not only that, but Dennis has also got in and beaten his man and it was a great finish. He could have possibly had two and Ismaila [Sarr] could have had three or four,” Rose told the club’s official website.
“If we’re going to do well this season, Ismaila and Dennis, and [Joshua] Kingy or [Ashley] Fletcher, the offensive players, are going to be vital for us.
“Dennis’ opening goal came from a well-weighted delivery by Kiko Femenia, and Rose believes it was no fluke that the goal started from a move out wide.
“Throughout the week we do a lot of crossing and finishing and Kiko’s first game back in a while, it shows the quality he possesses in the final third.”
Watford’s latest win over Norwich was their fifth straight success over the Canaries in domestic football and their Nigerians played important roles in the triumph.
The Hornets face a winless Newcastle United at Vicarage Road on Saturday and Xisco will hope his West African stars produce repeat performances.
Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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