Alex Tettey

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Wolves’ red-hot Jota too much for Norwich City

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Diogo Jota scored twice and helped produce the third goal of Wolves 3-0 battering of Norwich City at the Molineux Stadium on Sunday.

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Mexican star Raul Jimenez scored the other goal for Wolves.

Wolves rise eighth with 39 points, five points off fourth and two back of fifth-place Manchester United.

Norwich City remains seven points back of 17th place with a league-worst goal differential sinking to minus-27.


Three things we learned

1. Red-hot JotaWolves’ 23-year-old attacker was coming off a hat trick versus Espanyol in Europa League play, and had two goals by the half-hour mark at the Molineux. That gives him five PL goals amongst his 14 in all competitions as Wolves threaten both the Europa League and, somehow, remain alive in the top four race.

2. Abject Norwich defending: Daniel Farke‘s men have been praised for continuing their forward-thinking, attack-minded football in the Premier League, but maybe they simply didn’t have the protectors to bunker down in front of Tim Krul. That’s a bit unfair, because it’s admirable that Farke wishes to entertain, but there’s no debating the mess that is the Canaries defense this year.

3. Jimenez is Mexico’s best: Club Leon’s coach made headlines this week when he called LAFC’s Carlos Vela the best Mexican player, and perhaps he’s No. 2, but there’s no North American in the world doing what Raul is doing in Europe. Jimenez went over 3,300 season minutes on Sunday, adding another goal to give him 22 with 10 assists. Only Rui Patricio, Conor Coady, and Joao Moutinho have played more than the El Tri star.

Man of the Match: Jota


Norwich City had two promising moments in the first seven minutes, as Max Aarons hit a terrific through ball that died with a Teemu Pukki extra touch. Then Pukki forced Rui Patricio into a save.

Kenny McLean cranked a shot to Patricio off a Puuki pass in the 11th minute.

A Norwich giveaway allowed Diogo Jota to dance into the 18, but he instead dribbled himself out of room and was tackled.

Jota made amends in the 19th minute, lashing home after a terrific team goal.

It might’ve been 2-0 had Alex Tettey not darted between Jota’s 23rd-minute pass to Raul Jimenez.

Jota got his second in the 30th off a corner kick, as Romain Saiss slashed a pass across the six that any of three Wolves would’ve put in for a two-goal lead.

Tim Krul made a great save on a Ruben Neves free kick after Jota was injured drawing the set piece atop the 18.

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Jota smashed the post moments before Jimenez deposited Wolves’ third goal of the game, a 3-0 lead arriving in the 50th minute.

Super sub Mane gives Liverpool win at Norwich City

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Sadio Mane’s late winner off the bench withstood VAR to keep Liverpool’s unbeaten league season in tact with a 1-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

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The goal, Mane’s 100th in England, gives Liverpool a 25-point lead atop the Premier League table, second-place Man City holding a game-in-hand.

Liverpool will tie the English top-flight record for most consecutive wins if it claims a win on Feb. 24 versus West Ham United.

Last place Norwich City remains seven points back of safety, though their performance will keep hope alive for its supporters.


Three things we learned

1. Super sub Sadio winner withstands VAR review: Mane used a small shove — but a shove nonetheless –of a Norwich City defender to get himself a bit of space, and slotted past Krul in the 78th minute. The Video Assistant Referee did not see enough to overturn the goal, assisted by Jordan Henderson‘s able long ball.

2. Carrow Road feeds the desperate Canaries: The hosts were up for this one from Moment No. 1. Daniel Farke‘s men were very sound in the first half and opened up zero chances of real danger, and would’ve been ahead 1-0 had they converted an early opportunity. Liverpool could not take advantage of the chances earned by their pressing high up the field, and needed to go their bench for a look.

3. Norwich the latest to waste a gilt-edge chance provided by Liverpool: Maybe it was winter break rust, but the Reds back line fell asleep but lived to tell the story thanks to Lukas Rupp‘s soft pass and Alisson Becker’s quick hands.

Man of the Match: Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold were Liverpool’s best players on the day, but it can’t be taken away from Mane.


A lively Carrow Road saw Liverpool with the ball in the early stages, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hitting a low shot to Tim Krul in the seventh minute.

Despite a wealth of possession for Liverpool, Norwich got a glorious chance. Lukas Rupp had Alisson Becker beaten when he laid off for Teemu Pukki, but the pass was weak and the Liverpool goalkeeper snared it.

That was really it for first half danger. Liverpool had all nine of the match’s shots but only Oxlade-Chamberlain’s early attempt went to Krul.

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The Reds threatened in the second half, with Krul denying Mohamed Salah then getting back into position to make a fine save on Naby Keita.

Alex Tettey hit the outside of the post in the 73rd minute, though it looked like Alisson had the angle covered if the effort was accurate.

That’s when Mane got his goal.

Pukki belted a shot into the chest of Alisson in the 89th minute.

PL Preview: Norwich City v. Liverpool

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  • Mohamed Salah has scored or assisted a goal in 4 of the last 5 PL games
  • Norwich City has just 1 victory since December 1
  • Liverpool has kept 9 clean sheets in its last 10 PL matches

Good ol’ top versus bottom in the table. Predictable…right? But that’s why they play the games.

Norwich City is right on the cusp. The Canaries can feel how close they are to turning things around. Since the start of December, every single loss but one – that would be five of the six total – has come by a one-goal margin. Tack on five draws in that span as well, and the Canaries are right in the thick of things, even seven points adrift of safety.

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They’re also afforded the opportunity to shock the world.

Norwich City hosts leaders Liverpool at Carrow Road on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com. With the Reds hitting the road having dropped two points all season, any Norwich City result would be hailed by the home fans as a success.

Liverpool, meanwhile, could go 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 17th successive Premier League victory. Those numbers never get less astonishing as Liverpool piles up the plaudits. The Reds will expect to have both Sadio Mane and James Milner back from hamstring injuries, but both are still listed as game-time decisions as Jurgen Klopp may decide it’s not worth risking one or both.

Injuries/suspensions

Norwich City: OUT – Timm Klose (knee), Ben Godfrey (red card suspension).

Liverpool: OUT – Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Yasser Larouci (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE – Xherdan Shaqiri (foot), Sadio Mane (hamstring), James Milner (hamstring).


Probable Lineups

Norwich City: Krul; Byram, Hanley, Zimmerman, Aarons; Tettey, McLean, Cantwell, Duda, Rupp; Pukki.

Liverpool: Alisson; Robertson, Gomez, van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.


What they’re saying

Norwich City boss Daniel Farke on midfielder Alex Tettey signing an extension: “Alex is a bit like a good red wine. The older he gets, the better he gets!”

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold on the title chances: “That’s the message the manager drills into us on a daily basis: that nothing’s over yet, there’s still a long way to go. We’re just over halfway through the season, so it’s important for us to keep our heads, keep focused and keep our mentality the same. That’s what’s been working for us, so nothing should change.”


Prediction

Norwich City should put up a better fight than some may give them credit for, but Liverpool is too big a juggernaut to fall in this match. A hard-fought 2-0 win with a late goal to seal it should be enough to see the Reds through to an 18th straight victory and see Liverpool head into Champions League play on a high note.

Palace grab VAR-assisted draw at Norwich

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Norwich City were pegged back late on by Crystal Palace to draw 1-1 as VAR once again denied the Canaries victory in the Premier League.

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Todd Cantwell gave them a deserved lead but they squandered several chances and Connor Wickham then had a goal awarded via VAR after it was initially given offside on the pitch.

With the point Norwich stay bottom of the table on 14 points and are seven points from safety, while Palace are on 28 points and remain in the hunt for Europe.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha wins superb battle with Aarons: This was a great battle between a winger and full back as Aarons got the better of Zaha in the first half but Zaha’s quality shone through late on to create the equalizer. Aarons caught Zaha with a meaty challenge in the second half and that showed that he was getting tired. Zaha got better the longer the game went on and as rumors circulate that Chelsea want to push hard to sign him in January, his recent form proves he is one of the best out-and-out wingers in the PL. If not the best. Aarons, just 19 years, will also be a man in demand at the end of this season as a price tag of $55 million has been slapped on his head. On this viewing it is easy to understand why.

2. VAR hits Norwich again: They had decisions go against them in their 2-2 draw against Tottenham and Norwich were again hit by VAR. Wickham was onside by an outstretched kneecap and the Canaries will be cursing their luck as they had ample chances to put the game to bed when they were 1-0 up. VAR correctly ruled the goal onside and it denied Norwich a big win on a day when plenty of other teams around them at the bottom secured victories.

3. Canaries cut adrift: Norwich are now seven points adrift at the bottom and Daniel Farke‘s side are starting to show that they have the lowest budget in the Premier League. They’ve now gone eight games without a win and they are so close to turning draws into victories but that extra bit of quality just isn’t there. Do they spend big in January to try and stay up? Or do they call it quits and build for another promotion push? Probably the latter as they are becoming the ultimate yo-yo team.

Man of the Match: Emiliano Buendia – Set up the first goal, made Norwich tick and although he faded a little, he has real quality on the ball. He will be in the PL next season, but maybe not with Norwich.


Norwich got off to a perfect start as Emiliano Buendia and Cantwell combined and after the former had a shock blocked, the ball fell to the latter who finished to send Carrow Road wild.

Pukki then had a goal correctly chalked off for being offside as the Canaries were slick in attack and causing Crystal Palace’s banged up defense plenty of problems with their movement.

The Eagles played their way into the game with Wilfried Zaha their main target but he was involved in a tough battle with young Norwich right back Max Aarons.

Palace had a huge chance to equalize just before half time as Jairo Riedewald was played in but decided to pass instead of having a shot and James McArthur‘s shot was superbly blocked with Tim Krul out of his goal.

Zaha was a growing influence in the game but Norwich almost doubled their lead but James Tomkins defended Pukki well and Aarons then pulled a shot wide.

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In the second half Palace dominated the play as Norwich sat back and tried to manage the game.

Vicente Guaita saved superbly from Buendia’s free kick ahead of a tense final 30 minutes in Norfolk. Max Meyer turned well but his low shot lacked the power to concern Tim Krul.

Alex Tettey‘s shot was deflected wide and Mario Vrancic couldn’t convert at the near post as the game turned into an end-to-end encounter, as Jordan Ayew‘s cross somehow evaded everyone as Palace pushed hard for a late equalizer.

Norwich hit the crossbar through Kenny McLean as they poured forward but at the other end Luka Milivojevic‘s free kick was flicked on by a Norwich defender and somehow missed every single Palace player as it went out for a corner.

Zaha flashed a few wild efforts off target and he then got the better of Aarons and whipped in a superb cross which substitute Wickham tapped home but the offside flag went up.

However, VAR was used and after a lengthy delay the goal was awarded as Wickham was kept onside by a Norwich kneecap as the former Ipswich Town striker scored against their fierce rivals to make it 1-1.

Aston Villa snatch win against Norwich

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Aston Villa beat Norwich City 1-0 at Villa Park on Boxing Day as the hosts secured a massive victory against their relegation rivals in the Premier League.

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Substitute Conor Hourihane‘s strike won it for Villa as Norwich wasted several great chances and the hosts pounced to snatch a massive three points.

The win was Villa’s first in six in the Premier League and moves them on to 18 points for the season, while Norwich stay on 12 points.


3 things we learned

1. Pukki, Norwich left frustrated: Norwich hit the bar, Pukki was denied twice just as he was about to shoot and Villa somehow kept a clean sheet as the Canaries weren’t rewarded for their attacking endeavors. That has been the case on so many occasions this season for Norwich.

2. Villa rally but confidence remains fragile: This was a huge win for Villa in their battle against relegation but they didn’t play well and will be thankful for Tom Heaton who was superb in goal and made three top class saves. Dean Smith‘s side will take the win but their confidence remains extremely low as Grealish’s quick feet and Hourihane’s finish won them the game.

3. Both teams set for relegation scrap: Norwich are now in real trouble at the bottom of the table and Daniel Farke has said all season they know they will be up against it. As for Villa, they are still in trouble despite this win and they now face another monstrous game at the bottom as they play at Watford on Dec. 28.

Man of the Match: Tom Heaton – Pulled off several fine saves to keep a clean sheet, Villa’s first in a month.


In a tense start at Villa Park it was the away side who had an early chance with Todd Cantwell‘s shot on target easy for Tom Heaton to handle.

Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz lashed towards goal as the hosts struggled to get into the game in the first half.

But Norwich should have taken the lead as Teemu Pukki was played in behind Villa’s defense but took too long to get his shot off and VAR checked for a penalty kick but nothing was given.

Sam Byram then hit the crossbar as his header from a corner almost snuck in, while at the other end Anwar El Ghazi flashed a shot just wide.

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In the second half Alex Tettey thought he had given Norwich the lead but his shot was blocked superbly by Luiz on the line and from the resulting corner Heaton saved Tom Trybull‘s header as Villa survived.

Byram then headed wide at the back post after great work from Max Aarons as Norwich continued to spurn glorious chances.

At the other end Grant Hanley was holding Norwich’s defense together as Villa finally got their act together going forward with Jack Grealish forcing Tim Krul into a save.

Grealish then worked his way into the box and teed up Hourihane who slotted home to send Villa Park wild.

That goal knocked the stuffing out of Norwich as Kortney Hause almost scored a header at the back post.

Norwich did rally late on but Heaton denied them once again as Villa held on for a massive three points even though they were second best for much of the game.