Tag Archives: Norwich City

Norwich 0 Watford 2: Match Report

Carrow Road was the host to a game that, by the end of the season, could prove decisive in terms of Premier League survival.

Before the game, Norwich sat in nineteenth, losing six of their last eight games whilst the visitors were propping up the table but were on slightly better form. Three draws in their last five games meant the Vicarage Road faithful had something to cheer about.

The Canaries were unchanged from their 2-0 loss to Brighton which meant they still had clumsy defensive midfielder Tettey partnering Godfrey in defence.

As for Watford, they made three changes to the team that lost to Chelsea. The disappointing Masina was dropped and versatile Holebas came in. As for the Hornets other two changes, Gray and Chalobah were taken out of the side and in their place Capoue and Hughes.

Watford, boosted by the presence of Deeney on the bench after over a month out, took an early lead through former Barcelona fringe player Deulofeu.

Godfrey made an early burst forward, passed to Pukki who toe poked the ball to Buendia just inside the Canaries half. Buendia tried to Cruyff turn Deulofeu but he nicked the ball and the Spaniard had acres of green space for him to exploit, which he did. Once in the box, the winger come striker cut inside and shot past the despairing Krul.

The Hornets got off to the best possible start – silencing the nervous home crowd. The Canaries responded well with most of the play being inside the Hornets half.

Through ball after through ball fed Hernandez who was causing the Hornets defence havoc all night.

Despite all their dominance, the home side struggled to create chances in the opening half but did create one. Steipermann pushed the ball through to Hernandez who couldn’t quite get to it and Foster smothered the ball but it landed at the feet of Pukki who shot but Kabasele blocked.

The Canaries were pushing and pushing which was leaving huge wholes in the defence which the Hornets exploited on occasions.

The half ended 1-0 so a response was needed by the home side, the game went the other way though and Watford killed the game of just a few minutes after the restart.

Deulofeu skipped past Tettey who dived in and he put in a ball which initially got blocked. The ball rebounded straight back to him, he had another go and this time he was on the money putting in a delightful ball for substitute Gray to attack. Gray, who’s struggled for form in recent months backed heeled the ball bottom corner from six yards out. Krul was completely flat footed.

Wave after wave of disappointing Norwich attacks came and went without them creating any meaningful chances. Long shots from Lewis and McLean tested Foster but that’s about as much as they could muster.

The before mentioned havoc that Hernandez was causing the Hornets defence proved to be fatal for Kabasele as it meant the end of his night.

The defender kept fouling the winger and finally in the second half Kabasele got a yellow card for holding the pacy winger back with his shirt. Then twenty minutes later, Drmic and the Belgium found themselves in a race for the ball, a race which the fresher legged substitute won and in an attenpt to reach the ball fist, the clumsy centre back brought down Drmic for his second yellow.

The red card will matter more in the coming matches than it did against the Canaries as they still couldn’t create anything.

The match ended 2-0. A damaging loss for the already confidence lacking Canaries but a huge first win of the season for the visitors.

(Photo – Daily Mail)

Preview: Norwich City v Watford

Preview ahead of the Premier League clash on Friday evening…

NORWICH City host Watford in the Premier League clash on Friday evening, kick-off 8:00pm, live on Sky Sports.

The Canaries, who were promoted to the Premier League last season, will be hoping to return to winning ways following a 2-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

The Canaries are currently on a four game winless run and will be hoping to gain their first victory since  beating Manchester City on 14th September.

Watford, on the other hand, will be looking to gain their first league win of the season in Norfolk against a very tough Canaries outfit.

The Hornets, who recently hired a new manager, haven’t seen the bounce that often happens with a change of manager. They will be hoping their fortunes change soon…

Manager/head coach:

Norwich City: Daniel Farke

Watford: Enrique “Quique” Sanchez Flores

League position:

Norwich City: 19th

Watford: 20th

Top scorer:

Norwich City: Teemu Pukki (6)

Watford: Roberto Pereyra (2)

Head to head:

Norwich City Wins: 42

Draws: 29

Watford Wins: 27

Last five results (League Unless Stated):

11th May 2016: Norwich 4-2 Watford

5th December 2015: Watford 2-0 Norwich

21st February 2015: Watford 0-3 Norwich

16th August 2014: Norwich 3-0 Watford

24th September 2013: Watford 2-3 Norwich [League Cup]

Team News:

Norwich City: Midfielder Mario Vrancic is available for the first time since August after recovering from injury and then illness, whilst, Ibrahim Amadou and Todd Cantwell are now both fully fit and could start.

Watford: Troy Deeney (knee) is under consideration to face the Canaries after having a operation which kept him out of action since mid-August. Both Etienne Capoue and Ismaila Sarr have also returned to training after injury, while Craig Cathcart has recovered from a back spasm.

Who, What, Where, When, Channel:

Who: Norwich City v Watford

What: Premier League

Where: Carrow Road

When: 20:00

Channel: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Ultra HD

Match Officials:

Referee: Andre Marriner

Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long

Fourth Official: Keith Stroud

Video Assistant Referee: Andrew Madley

Additional Video Assistant Referee: Andrew Halliday

Bournemouth vs Norwich – Match Review

Before kick off, neither Bournemouth or Norwich had a clean sheet all season but somehow both teams found some form of defensive stability and it ended 0-0.

The visitors, rejuvenated by the return of many key players, started with a different line up to their past games. Normally 4-2-3-1, the Canaries changed to 4-1-4-1 with centre midfielder Moritz Leitner playing further forward than normal. As for Bournemouth, they were boosted by the return of right back Adam Smith and Scotland international Ryan Fraser.

The Cherries came out the better team, not giving Norwich any time on the ball. However, when Bournemouth were on the ball, they lacked the clinical touch and could only manage two shots on target the entire game. As the game went on though, the Canaries grew into it but couldn’t break Bournemouth’s resolute defence.

The first notable shot did come from the home side with Callum Wilson sliding in Solanke, only for the former Chelsea and Liverpool academy star to shoot straight at Krul, allowing him to make the save.

After that, the first half petered out with both teams normally impressive strike forces not finding form.

In the second period, it turned into a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to create opportunities. Late on however, Norwich did start to create chances and finally tested young keeper Aaron Ramsdale through Finish striker Teemu Pukki. Aarons intercepted a poor pass from Cook and passed to Buendia who dodged a few tackles. Then, he put it on a plate for Pukki to shoot twenty five yards from goal but Ramsdale punched it past the post. After netting twice in the international break to all but seal second place in the group for his country, Pukki was lively again on the South Coast. The striker, who’s already grabbed six goals this season, didn’t give the Bournemouth defenders a moments peace and was always latching onto loose balls.

Then, as the clock ticked on towards ninety minutes, substitute Arnaut Danjuma wriggled through Norwich’s defence only to put his shot straight into the gloves of Tim Krul. After that, chances for Tom Trybull and Kenny McLean went begging and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

Not the most entertaining encounter of the weekend but a vital point on the road for the Canaries. Daniel Farke was extremely delighted with the point saying ‘Off the mark for away games and to be there with the first clean sheet of the season is difficult but always important’ but adding ‘Bit disappointed that we were not able to win this game’

As for Bournemouth, it wasn’t such a good point with most of the Dean Court faithful wanting all three.

Amongst all the positives, there was one negative for the Canaries, their last fit centre back Ben Godfrey hobbled off injured five minutes after the restart. Farke said in all his years of managing that he’d never had all his centre backs injured at the same time.

Premier League Review

I am starting this week’s review with the match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night because it had a big talking point.

The game finished 1-1 with goals from Anthony Martial and a trademark long range effort by Ruben Neves. The result itself was interesting enough as its evidence that Wolves aren’t far away from the top six.

The talking point came when United were awarded a penalty with the score at 1-1 and last week’s scorer of a penalty Marcus Rashford went into conversation with Paul Pogba. The result of the chat resulted in Pogba taking the penalty and then subsequently having the spot kick well saved.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed after the game that the penalty duties are being shared between Rashford and Pogba and that “whoever feels confident on the day” should take it. This for me is a risky and strange policy as it adds an unnecessary seed of doubt and pressure to the taker, which showed its force again in United’s next match on Saturday, More on that later.

Moving onto Saturday’s roundup which I am starting at Anfield where the only two teams with 100% records in the league went head to head as Liverpool faced Arsenal.

Liverpool were controlling much of the possession and territory but Arsenal created good openings on the break from record signing Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

In the process, interestingly, Pepe became the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil Van Dijk breaking a record that has stood for well over a year, no mean feat. It has also become more evident that Liverpool are not performing as well in defence without Allison in goal and his deputy Adrian almost cost them another goal, as just like last weekend, one of his clearances went straight to the Gunners but luckily for him, Aubameyang, uncharacteristically, lacked composure.

Despite all of this, Liverpool’s territorial advantage paid off with them taking the lead through a Joel Matip’s header just before half-time.

After the break, David Luiz cost Arsenal any hopes, by first tugging Mohammad Salah’s shirt in the penalty area, with Salah himself scoring the penalty. It was the Egyptian once again who embarrassed Luiz by the touchline as the Brazilian needlessly dived in and Salah chipped the ball over him before running to the edge of the box and superbly curling into the bottom corner just before the hour. This ended the contest, although Arsenal did get a late consolation through Lucas Torreira.

The result means Liverpool are the only side in England with a 100% record and continues Arsenals poor record at Liverpool, however they can take something from the chances they created.

Now back to Manchester United who were playing Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, a venue where Palace hadn’t won since 1989.

United were dominant as expected, but couldn’t find the break through and Palace broke after 32 minutes which left Jordan Ayew one-on-one with David De Gea, who silenced the crowd by coolly slotting home.

There was yet more United penalty drama in the second-half when they were awarded a spot kick when Scott McTominay was bundled over. Everyone waited to see who would take the kick following Monday’s drama and this time it was back to Marcus Rashford.

However, he suffered the same fate as Pogba seeing his penalty cannon off the inside of the post. This only further strengthens my argument that Solskjaer’s method is an incorrect one. United continued to push and found an equaliser through summer signing Daniel James, who scored in consecutive home matches by curling in a delightful equaliser in the 89th minute following Pogba’s good tackle on Wilfred Zaha and with a neat build-up from Rashford and Anthony Martial.

The Red Devil’s thought they could still win it but were caught with too many players forward allowing Zaha to burst forward and find full-back, Patrick van Aanholt, who netted the winner in the 93rd minute, thumping in as the ball broke loose.

The result means United have picked up just one point from the last two matches and are showing they may struggle to get into the top four once again, a thought I had in pre-season.

Chelsea and Frank Lampard headed to Carrow Road to face a vibrant and confident Norwich side following their 3-1 win over Newcastle United looking for their first win of the season and Lampard’s first as a Premier League manager. Lampard continued to show faith in striker, Tammy Abraham and his decision paid off with the youngster scoring two excellent goals to open his Chelsea account. The first came after just three minutes, however, it didn’t take long for Norwich to hit back though, as just three minutes later, Todd Cantwell latched onto Teemu Pukki’s cut back.

Chelsea restored their lead 11 minutes after Cantwell’s equaliser for Norwich, Mount – cut inside the hosts’ defence and unleashed an unstoppable shot high into the net for his second goal of the season.

In a frantic first half Norwich equalised again and it was no surprise that it was Pukki, who scored his fifth goal of the season. Despite Norwich’s second leveller, Chelsea continued to pressure their opponents’ shaky defence; Mount and Christian Pulisic both saw efforts go wide within moments of the second half getting under way.

Abraham’s second goal saw him become the youngest Chelsea player to score twice in a Premier League fixture since 1998, twisting and turning and tying Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in knots before firing an unstoppable drive past Tim Krul.

The Blues thought they had scored again when Kurt Zouma poked a loose ball home, but it was ruled out by the video assistant referee after substitute Olivier Giroud was judged to have fouled the Norwich keeper, Tim Krul.

Lampard now has his all-important first win as Chelsea boss and will be looking to build on this victory.

Watford against West Ham is a match between two sides hoping to challenge in the top half of the league table.

However, only one of the two sides looked like they had that in them in this match at Vicarage Road and that was West Ham.

They have some terrific creative midfielders and their record signing striker, Sebastien Haller scored his first two goals for the Hammers as they ran out 3-1 winners.

Mark Noble’s third-minute penalty set West Ham on their way to their first win of the season after Manuel Lanzini had been fouled by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Watford responded with a well-worked Andre Gray goal, with the forward drilling home a right-foot shot from Will Hughes’ pass.

It was then Haller who took centre stage as he led the line in exemplary fashion and contributed to all three West Ham goals. He displayed his predatory instincts that allowed him to comfortably claim his first goal for Manuel Pellegrini’s side before acrobatically doubling his tally.

Watford did create plenty of chances mainly through Gerard Deulofeu who had seven shots on goal, with only a close-range strike that hit the West Ham crossbar finding the target, alongside Hughes’ extraordinary miss from a yard out after Gray had squared the ball with the score at 1-1, that summed up the hosts’ lack of potency in attack.

At the other end the presence of Haller, Anderson and Lanzini provided too much power, pace and guile for the Watford defence to cope with. Gracia’s side now face a challenging sequence of fixtures – with a home game against Arsenal sandwiched between trips to Newcastle and reigning champions Manchester City – having shipped 41 goals in their last 18 matches.

At the same stage last term Watford had collected nine points after an impressive start, but a pointless return this time around represents a complete reversal of fortune.

Sheffield United were looking to back up their first win back in the top flight but came up against a Leicester City side that were just too good for them on the day.

Ayoze Perez robbed defender Chris Basham before James Maddison played a deft pass with the outside of his foot into space, allowing Jamie Vardy to race in and power home left footed. Vardy – a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan – had been booed throughout and duly cupped his ears in celebration. Billy Sharp and McBurnie’s second half introduction seemed to raise home spirits and suddenly Leicester’s midfield seemed unable to close spaces as quickly. It was Oliver McBurnie, who scored the equaliser from Sam Baldock’s pin-point delivery – proving why the Blades paid Swansea £20m for the striker.

They were level for just eight minutes, however, as substitute, Harvey Barnes, scored a marvellous winner six minutes after coming on, Barnes fired a half-volley from the edge of the box which flew past home keeper Dean Henderson.

Saturday’s final match saw a south coast derby as Brighton met Southampton, Brighton have started the season impressively, whilst Southampton headed into the encounter pointless and this showed in the early stages as Neil Maupay and Martin Montoya both had chances.

However, the game swung the visitors’ way when Florin Andone was dismissed following a rash challenge that left Yan Valery withering in agony near the halfway line. A challenge that Brighton manager Graham Potter said he “can’t defend”.

The Seagulls responded well, initially, with Lewis Dunk’s header chalked off by VAR, but the Saints capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half. They took the lead through Moussa Djenepo, who came on as a substitute eight minutes into the second half and his impact was almost instant, cutting in from the left and curling into the top corner just two minutes after entering the fray.

A late Nathan Redmond goal secured the points for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Onto Sunday’s matches and a Tottenham Hotspur side buoyed by gaining a point at Manchester City took on a Newcastle United side with no points and were embarrassed by Norwich last weekend, surely this could only end one way. In fact, Newcastle looked like a completely different team from last weekend, credit to Steve Bruce for that, they were superb in defence and caused Spurs problems on the counter attack.

It was from one of these counters that they took a surprise lead through record signing Joelinton, this his first goal since joining. Spurs were caught with too many players forward and Joelinton controlled Christian Atsu’s through pass beautifully before drilling past Hugo Lloris.

Spurs enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but couldn’t find the creativity to unlock an excellent back five of Newcastle.

Cristian Eriksen and Giovani lo Celso, both started on the bench and came on together after an hours to try and add this creativity.

Lo Celso, nearly made the difference with a pass to Harry Kane in the penalty area and Kane went down under a challenge by Jamal Lascelles.

The Newcastle defender appeared to slip and dive across Kane, as he knew he had no chance of getting to the ball, clever or reckless the referee and the VAR decided it wasn’t a penalty.

Spurs created more opportunities the best of which fell to Lucas Moira, who shot over from eight yards after being found by former Newcastle player Moussa Sissoko, who was unsurprisingly roundly booed throughout by the toon army crowd.

Spurs couldn’t find a way through and from evidence of this and other weekend results we could be heading towards another two horse race for the title.

There was a meeting between the last two sides to finish 7th in the league at Molineux, where Burnley were the visitors to Wolves.

It was the Clarets who were the more effective side and eventually took the lead through an excellent strike from Ashley Barnes, his fourth goal in three Premier League games this season.

Burnley were denied a second goal when Rui Patricio produced an excellent save to keep out Chris Wood, while Ben Mee headed against the bar with the rebound coming off Wolves defender Ryan Bennett and hitting the post.

However, Wolves were awarded a penalty in the dying moments when Erik Pieters fouled Raul Jimenez.

After a video assistant referee check, Jimenez stepped up to calmly roll the ball past Nick Pope and earn Wolves a third successive Premier League draw.

Despite this lacklustre performance from Wolves, I wouldn’t be worried that they are set to suffer like Burnley did last season in the league due to being in European Competition.

The Final Match of the weekend was a routine win for champions Man City away at Bournemouth. Another goal apiece for Aguero and Sterling meant they lead 2-0 at half time. Bournemouth rallied and substitute Harry Wilson’s superb 25-yard free-kick raised hopes of a fight-back, However Aguero pounced for City’s third after good work from Silva. Wilsons strike means he has scored two stunners in his two first premier league matches.

Sky Bet Championship: The Race for Promotion

The race for promotion to the Premier League is hotting up with only eight games remaining of the regular Sky Bet Championship campaign starting this Saturday.

It’s a three-horse race for the automatic promotion spots with Norwich City, Sheffield United and Leeds United all battling it out for the top two spots in the division.

Leeds and Norwich have been the top two for most of the campaign this year, however, Leeds fell down to third prior to the international break following a 1-0 home defeat to Sheffield United which leaves Marcelo Bielsa’s side one point off the Blades heading into the final eight games of the regular season.

Here I analyse each of the teams chances of automatic promotion this season

Norwich City
The Canaries currently sit five points clear at the top of the table following the win over relegation threatened Rotherham United prior to the break.

Daniel Farke’s worked tremendously well throughout the campaign with a squad which finished 14th in the table last season and he lost key players from that season in the likes of James Maddison, Wes Hoolahan, Josh Murphy and Russell Martin who all played a big part.

Coming into the club is Finland striker Teemu Pukki, signed on a free from Danish outfit Brøndby on a three-year deal, Pukki has really took to life in the Championship scoring 25 goals in the division this season and for me if Norwich are to gain automatic promotion from the Championship the Finnish striker needs to find his scoring boots again towards the end of the campaign.

Remaining Games
30/3 Middlesbrough (A)
6/4 QPR (H)
10/4 Reading (H)
14/4 Wigan (A)
19/4 Sheffield Wednesday (H)
22/4 Stoke City (A)
27/4 Blackburn Rovers (H)
5/5 Aston Villa (A)

Out of their remaining fixtures I believe if Teemu Pukki finds his goalscoring boots and Norwich win four or more they’ve secured automatic promotion.

Sheffield United
The Blades are currently in second spot behind Norwich City and one point above Leeds United in the table so far following a surprise 1-0 triumph over Leeds United at Elland Road prior to the internationals.

Chris Wilder has got his side well-drilled and organised this season and the Blades have impressed me quite a lot this season when I’ve seen them, however, I still feel that they lack quality in the midfield and parts of that showed against Leeds prior to the international break.

A number of players have played really well and Wilder has worked his magic as his side finished 14th last season and are now in a three-way battle for automatic promotion.

Wilder has brough in some good players in the summer and January transfer windows including Oliver Norwood and John Egan, however, I believe that Billy Sharp is the Blades key man this season.

The former Doncaster and Leeds striker has netted on 22 occasions this season and has worked brilliantly with either David McGoldrick or Gary Madine alongside him in attack this season.

Remaining Games
30/3 Bristol City (H)
6/4 Preston (A)
10/4 Birmingham (A)
13/4 Millwall (H)
19/4 Nottingham Forest (H)
22/4 Hull City (A)
27/4 Ipswich (H)
5/5 Stoke City (A)

I believe Sheffield United have a chance of promotion, they need to match Leeds United’s results if they have any chance of promotion from the division.

Leeds United
The Whites are currently one point behind Sheffield United in third in the table so far following a surprise 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United at Elland Road prior to the internationals.

Marcelo Bielsa has got his side play high intensity football and this season it seems to have helped the players who were already at the club from last year and he’s worked tiredlessly to get them playing with the high pressing game for the full 90 minutes.

Bielsa’s sides are known for burning out, however, the Whites don’t seem to be showing this yet this season and it would normally start to show at this point of the season with his previous clubs.

Out of the squad that Bielsa has only Macedonian International Gjanni Alioski has played every minute of games that the club has played in and he’s still going right to the last minute for both club and country this season.

The player of the year so far at Leeds United, for me, is Kalvin Phillips. Phillips is dubbed as the “Yorkshire Pirlo” amongst the Elland Road faithful and has been impressive in his performances in defensive midfield or at centre back in which Bielsa has transformed him into this season.

The Whites have struggled with injuries this campaign otherwise I firmly believe they would be already in the automatic promotion spots heading into the final eight games.

Remaining Games
30/3 Millwall (H)
6/4 Birmingham (A)
9/4 Preston (A)
13/4 Sheffield Wednesday (H)
19/4 Wigan (H)
22/4 Brentford (A)
27/4 Aston Villa (H)
5/5 Ipswich (A)

I believe that Leeds will just pip Sheffield United to second spot in the table and go up automatically.

Automatic Promotion Predictions: Norwich City and Leeds United
Play-Off Winner Prediction: Sheffield United