Xisco Muñoz’s reign at Watford got off to the perfect start last night at Vicarage Road, with a tight victory over Championship leaders Norwich City, thanks to a single goal from Ismaila Sarr.
The Boxing Day clash was Muñoz’s first game in charge of the Hornets, after it was confirmed that Vladimir Ivic had been sacked following the Huddersfield defeat last weekend.
The new boss named three changes to that side, bringing in Francisco Sierralta, Kiko Femenia and Troy Deeney.
The first big opportunity of the game came to the way of the Hornets after Sarr’s cutback found Andre Gray in the box, but his volley went narrowly wide.
Kieran Dowell almost gave the visitors the lead on the 20th minute mark after his free kick looked to be curling beyond Foster, but the former England international managed to tip the ball wide.
Five minutes before half time, Watford did manage to take the lead after Ken Sema showed how dangerous he can be when running at defenders. The Swede got to the byline and put in a dangerous low cross which went beyond every Norwich defender, allowing Sarr to tap home from just a couple of yards out.
The Hornets almost doubled their advantage just before half time, this time after good link-up play between Femenia and Sarr, which allowed Gray to get a shot away, but this time it went just over the bar.
Sarr was constantly looking dangerous at the start of the second half and could have made it 2-0 just before the hour mark but decided to pass to Gray instead of shooting from a decent position.
Arguably Norwich’s best chance to get the equaliser came just 10 minutes before the final whistle when Teemu Pukki was played through on goal, but a magnificent last-ditch challenge from Adam Masina denied the Finland international from scoring what looked like a certain goal.
The Hornets managed to hold on for all three points, and crucially cuts the gap between themselves and Norwich, who remain the league’s leaders, to just six points.
Watford were due to be back in action on Tuesday against Millwall, but the game has been forced to be postponed due to coronavirus infections at the London club.
Instead, Muñoz’s second game in charge will come on January 2, with a trip to South Wales to face second placed Swansea City.
Picture credit Watford FC