Ben Godfrey

Norwich City shock struggling Leicester at Carrow Road

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Leicester City clearly missed the injured Jamie Vardy, pummeling the Canaries time and again with shots but none had the killer instinct of the absent striker. That was critical as the Foxes had no response once Jamal Lewis put Norwich City in front as the Canaries worked a crucial 1-0 victory at Carrow Road.

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The game was goalless until the 71st minute when Lewis received a cross from Max Aarons that skittered through the area to the opposite side where the left-back ripped an absolute rocket that tucked inside the right post.

Vardy and his 17 goals were missing through a calf problem that may have cost the Foxes points on the road. With Leicester City looking to push Manchester City for second in the Premier League table, this loss saw them slog seven points back of the Citizens. Norwich City, meanwhile, will relish the victory as they draw just three back of the other two relegation-threatened sides.

The closest Leicester City came to a goal was a cancelled strike from Kelechi Iheanacho – Vardy’s replacement – who has a goal cancelled by VAR on a dicey handball call. It was a spotty performance at best for the Foxes who created few solid chances and were soundly beaten.


Three things we learned

1. How is Norwich City bottom of the table?

Seriously, how? Watching the first half, this Canaries squad is capable of dangerous forward play and solid defending that can only be undone by quality attacking moves. It’s true that as the first half waned on, they conceded heavy possession to the Foxes, but the hosts still threatened Leicester City multiple times and looked up for the match at Carrow Road. They are clearly missing a consistency indicative of an established Premier League side, but they look far from the worst team in the top flight. In fact, even when the game was goalless, Kasper Schmeichel was the busier of the two goalkeepers, with Tim Krul not truly threatened.

The goal was Norwich City’s first goal from open play in nearly 11 hours, an unbelievable total if you only watched this 90 minutes. If the Canaries are going to climb the mountain and stay up, they will need to channel this performance through the rest of the season.

2. Kelechi Iheanachi is no Jamie Vardy

Leicester City ripped off 12 shots in the first half, but only managed three on target. Once halftime had come and gone, Leicester City had just four more shots in the tank, with 16 total but just four on target and none with a mark of over 0.21 xG.

Vardy’s exquisite finishing ability was sorely missed as the Foxes created plenty of chances but couldn’t finish many dangerously. The 23-year-old Nigerian was hardly involved in the game, seeing a goal ruled out but also contributing little else. With Vardy at 33 years of age, the Foxes clearly need a Plan B should he end up missing any more time in the near future or down the road, because they had nothing to aim at with the talisman sidelined.

3. Leicester City is in a rut

Iheanacho was not the only on who struggled against the Premier League’s bottom side. James Maddison had very few touches in the attacking third, creating four chances but two of them came off corners and two were miles from the net. Dennis Praet and Ricardo Pereira were probably the Foxes’ most creative player but even they popped up few and far between, producing just 1.44 xG on a whopping 19 shots. Jonny Evans was constantly screaming at his fellow defenders for their loss of shape. The Foxes challenged for Man City’s second position lasted a few weeks, but they have fallen off the table and now just hope to solidify third before they fall any further in what could be a precarious home stretch.

Man of the Match: Ben Godfrey


The two teams were both bright in an entertaining start with Norwich threatening down the right on the overlap and Leicester City pressing hard. Teemu Pukki had an opportunity from the right edge on 22 minutes but Caglar Soyuncu made an acrobatic last-gasp block. That started a lengthy spell of pressure from the Canaries, but the hosts couldn’t cash in.

Leicester City’s best chance of the first half-hour came on 25 minutes as Dennis Praet found himself in a dangerous area, but he could only clip Ricardo Pereira’s delivery off the outside of the right post. Ayoze Perez also put a shot into a precarious position moments later which cannoned dangerously off the leg of Norwich City defender Grant Hanley, but went wide instead of into the gaping net.

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The Foxes began to assert their dominance past the half-hour mark and Perez found Kelechi Iheanacho right in front of net, but he disappointingly fired over.

Minutes into the second half Iheanacho found the ball in the back of the net but saw it ruled out by VAR thanks to a handball on the buildup. That was Leicester City’s biggest moment as they were toothless up front otherwise. Norwich City capitalized with 19 minutes to go as Lewis pounced on a Max Aarons delivery clean across the box and delivered a cannon blast into the back of the net. Norwich nearly had a second a few minutes from full time but Kasper Schmeichel came up to save a quality effort from substitute Josip Drmic.

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.

Pukki leads 10-man Norwich City win over 10-man Bournemouth

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Both teams finished with 10 men but only one found a goal when Norwich City beat Bournemouth in a relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road on Saturday.

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Teemu Pukki scored from the spot to give the Canaries some hope and increase the Cherries’ despair.

Steve Cook was sent off for Bournemouth in the 31st minute, with Ben Godfrey leveling the field in the 76th.

Norwich now has 17 points, six back of the safe places, while 19th place Bournemouth stays level on 20.


Three things we learned

1. Pitch side monitor used to upgrade card: The Premier League told the refs to check the pitch side monitors on possible red card offenses, and it worked. Ben Godfrey cleverly disguised his ugly tackle by looking away from the contact, only earning a yellow card. The video monitors told the story, though, and Paul Tierney wasn’t shy to make the right call and turn the yellow into a red.

2. Bournemouth in the worst of ways: Eddie Howe‘s slumping Cherries played down a man for 45 minutes, and couldn’t make anything of the reprieve handed them by Godfrey’s awful tackle. There was proper desperation from the Cherries, but also never a feeling that Bournemouth would come back.

3. Steve Cook at full stretch is pretty impressive (and illegal): Referee Paul Tierney was almost laughing as he gave Cook a red card for his excellent “save” to push a ball off the post.

 

Man of the Match: Emiliano Buendia is Norwich City’s shining light. If the Canaries go down, he’s going to be the subject of a recruitment more like relegated stars Idrissa Gana Gueye and Andrew Robertson before him.


Pukki couldn’t get purchase on an earlier chance, but got the job done from the spot.

Cook handled a ball in the box and was shown red, with VAR holding up the clear penalty.

The Finnish striker had no problem making it 1-0.

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Todd Cantwell was very busy as usual for the Canaries, passing well but also blasting a shot into the upper reaches of the stadium.

Norwich was dominant, outshooting Bournemouth 15-3 when another moment of madness had both teams with 10 players. Godfrey’s late challenge on Callum Wilson sent Tierney to the monitor for a VAR-aided straight red card.

Bournemouth and Norwich in stalemate

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Bournemouth and Norwich City played out a tense 0-0 draw at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as the Canaries dug deep for a point on the road as both teams secured their first clean sheet of the season.

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The Cherries and Canaries both had decent chances in the game but neither were clinical and both Aaron Ramsdale and Tim Krul had some decent outings in goal.

Bournemouth sit in ninth on 12 points, while Norwich are 19th on seven points.


3 things we learned

1. Teemu Pukki is struggling for support: He scored twice for Finland over the international break, but he hasn’t scored for Norwich since that big win agains Man City on Sept. 14. Pukki didn’t get much support and Norwich have scored just once in their last four PL games. He smashed one on goal in the second half which was saved and he was feeding off scraps.

2. Norwich much happier with the point: Daniel Farke has been plagued with injuries all season long, especially defensively, so he will be delighted his side kept a clean sheet on the road against a very dangerous Bournemouth side. At times Norwich rode their luck, but they looked solid enough and Todd Cantwell kept things ticking over in midfield. Tim Krul stood tall too, as the Canaries head home happy.

3. Bournemouth improving defensively: Every could has a silver lining, and for Eddie Howe that will be another decent day defensively for the Cherries. Going forward they disappointed but at the back they’ve only conceded five times in their last five PL outings. That is very good for Bournemouth. Ake and Cook have a strong partnership and Ramsdale is finding his feet. Yes, Bournemouth will have hoped to score three or four against this Norwich defense, but at least they’ve improved at the back and have their first clean sheet of the season.

Man of the Match: Tim Krul – Tough to pick a player of the game but Krul was solid when called upon and organized this banged up Norwich defense well. Used all of his experience.


Bournemouth pressed Norwich back early on and Tim Krul then denied Dominic Solanke.

Norwich had a half chance as Teemu Pukki delayed his effort and Steve Cook cleared, with neither side taking the game by the scruff of the neck.

In a tight, tense game both cancelled one another out in an uneventful first half.

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At the start of the second half Norwich lost yet another defensive player to injury as Ben Godfrey, just back from a hernia operation, was replaced by Tom Trybull.

Pukki’s shot was deflected by Cook as it looped up close to the goal, while at the other end Bournemouth went close as Wilson and Adam Smith combined but the ball was just off target.

Aaron Ramsdale then denied Pukki’s low shot from distance.

Both teams tried to push for the win late on but held back a little as Norwich in particular were happy with the shutout and point on the road given all of their defensive issues.

Chelsea beat Norwich in thriller

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“Super, Super Frank, Super Frankie Lampard!” sang the Chelsea fans at Norwich.

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Frank Lampard is off and running as Chelsea boss, as he grabbed his first win as a Premier League manager in a wild encounter at Carrow Road.

Chelsea beat Norwich City 3-2 after a wild first half gave way to a measured second half display for the Blues, with Tammy Abraham scoring his first two PL goals for Chelsea and playing the hero.

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Norwich battled back to equalize twice in the first half through Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki after Abraham and Mason Mount had twice given Chelsea the lead. But Abraham’s strike in the second half capped off a fine Chelsea display, as their youngest PL starting lineup since 1994 did Lampard proud.

Chelsea are off and running for the season.


Three things we learned

1. Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic take their chance: This was a big moment for two of Chelsea’s young stars. Abraham was favored ahead of Giroud up top and scored his first Premier League goals for his boyhood club. Pulisic grabbed an assist on Mount’s goal and had a hand in Abraham’s first and was a constant menace on the right. With Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi returning to fitness, this was a big day for Pulisic. His displays have been up and down but this was a solid outing on the right, and he was only playing there because Pedro was injured in the warm up. The American will have earned another start based on this display.

2. Defensive issues continue for young Chelsea: This team was the youngest Chelsea XI in the PL since Feb. 1994, and it is clear they are still learning under first-year coach Lampard. Norwich scored twice very easily in the first half and the manner of their equalizers will upset Lampard. Quick passing and movement took Zouma and Christensen out of the game and that lack of pace and positioning is a reoccurring theme at the center back position. Lampard’s young side did manage the game well late on and didn’t fade as they’ve done in the second half of games recently. The young bucks are learning, but there are still going to be plenty of speed bumps along the way.

3. Cavalier Norwich growing in confidence: Yes, they lost the game, but the way Norwich kept pouring forward, especially in the first half, sums up their style under Daniel Farke. They are comfortable playing in an attacking manner and won’t change that against the big boys this season. They couldn’t drag themselves back into the game a third time but Farke can be proud of the way his team approached this game. They gave the ball away an awful lot, but they did so trying to set the tone and launch attacks.

Man of the match: Tammy Abraham – The English youngster scored his first two PL goals for Chelsea and led the line superbly with plenty of runs behind the defense which created space for Pulisic, Kovacic and Barkley. This is just the start for Abraham.


It took Chelsea just four minutes to open the scoring as Christian Pulisic played in Cesar Azpilicueta and his cross was rifled home by Abraham for his first Blues goal.

Seconds later Norwich were level. Cantwell picked up the ball in the box, played it to Pukki and got on the end of the cross to tap home and send Carrow Road wild with less than six minutes on the clock.

The fast start continued as Mount was played in by Pulisic and slotted home after 17 minutes to score his second goal in as many PL games. Tim Krul then brilliantly denied Andreas Christensen‘s header as Chelsea pinned the Canaries back in the first half.

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But just when it looked like Chelsea would runaway with things, Norwich equalizer. Pukki was played in down the right and he finished calmly across goal for his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-2.

Chelsea dominated the second half as Pulisic fired wide in the box, Emerson was denied by Krul and Mount flashed an effort wide.

Abraham then latched onto a nice pass from Kovacic and beat two Norwich defenders before firing home his second and Chelsea’s third of the game. The Canaries finished strongly as Ben Godfrey hit the crossbar with a header but Chelsea eased to their first victory of the season.