Tim Krul

Dele drives Spurs past Norwich City

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A win is a win, even if Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 home defeat of Norwich City was anything but convincing in London.

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Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son scored as Spurs climbed sixth in the table with 34 points.

Teemu Pukki scored for the spot for the Canaries, who remain dead last and six points off the safe spaces.


Three things we learned

1. Spurs can score in 2020: The Premier League had not been kind to Jose Mourinho’s men since a they twice came back in a 2-2 draw with these same Canaries at Carrow Road. In fact, Spurs went 315 Premier League minutes without a goal before Dele got his first half marker on Wednesday. Losses to Saints and Liverpool were joined by a weekend draw at Watford, so this win was vital (Spurs thrice scored over two FA Cup matches versus Middlesbrough).

2. Bounces go the way of Spurs: Norwich can forgive itself for feeling a bit snakebit considering how poor Spurs looked for most of the day. Dele’s shot or cross was deflected high toward the back post, where Heung-min Son was able to nod it over the line from extreme close-up range.

3. Serge Aurier shines: Bad Serge Aurier shows up quite a bit, but the full back had a great day on Wednesday. Aurier had an assist to go with two interceptions and three tackles. He was a menace and stuck into 50-50 battles, earning plaudits on the day.


Erik Lamela was lively early for Spurs, seeing a free kick deflected out for a corner and another chance saved by Tim Krul.

Dele put Spurs ahead when he lunged past Christoph Zimmermann to poke a Serge Aurier cross past Krul. Heung-min Son set up the play with a lay-off to the Ivorian.

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VAR was kind to Todd Cantwell early in the second half, as the sliding midfielder put his studs into Lamela and it was worth only a yellow card.

Spurs youngster Ryan Sessegnon fouled Max Aarons in the 68th to give Norwich a chance from the spot, and a long review did not lead to a reprieve. Pukki beat Lloris low and to the right for 1-1.

But Dele’s cross floated to Son for a back post winner and blushes were spared for Mourinho.

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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.

Tottenham peg back Norwich amid VAR drama

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Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a wild 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, as VAR drama, own goals, penalty kicks and general madness took center stage.

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Mario Vranic gave Norwich the lead before VAR drama denied Teemu Pukki a second and then Christian Eriksen made it 1-1. Serge Aurier‘s own goal put Norwich back in front but Harry Kane‘s late penalty set up a wild finish, but Spurs couldn’t complete the comeback.

With the point, Norwich sit bottom on 13 points and Tottenham are in fifth on 30 points, two points off the top four.


3 things we learned

1. Norwich unluckiest team in PL: Yep, it’s official, Norwich are the unluckiest team in the Premier League. Week after week Daniel Farke‘s side pour their heart out and VAR calls go against them, they cough up leads, deflections don’t go their way and they are generally unlucky. They sit bottom of the table with the smallest budget in the league, so perhaps no surprise there, but Norwich deserve to be further up the the table.

2. 3-5-2 not the way forward for Spurs: Mourinho changed it up at half time as Spurs were struggling to keep the ball and couldn’t get out of their own half in a 3-5-2 formation. Tottenham aren’t great defensively and they’ve conceded 12 goals in Mourinho’s first eight PL games in charge, so they might as well play a 4-2-3-1 formation and be an attack-minded team.

3. Kane’s quality shines through: He won the penalty kick and drove Spurs on, and without Kane Spurs would be nowhere near the top four. Kane has scored four goals in his last five games but aside from that his leadership has dragged Spurs back into the top four hunt.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki – Didn’t stop running, had a goal chalked off and bullied the Spurs defense into conceding a second goal. Pukki didn’t score, but he is the main reason Norwich got something out of this game.


Norwich started well as Stiepermann forced Paulo Gazzaniga into a fine stop down low.

At the other end Spurs were dangerous on the break as Kane set up Alli but he blazed over the bar and then Kane himself was clean through but Tim Krul saved well as he stood tall.

Ryan Sessegnon had a shot blocked well but then Norwich hit Tottenham with a sucker-punch.

Vrancic surged into the box and slotted home after a superb tackle Emiliano Buendia, as Norwich took a shock lead.

It looked as though the Canaries had doubled their lead as Pukki raced and clear and sent a trademark finish into the far corner, but VAR intervened and the Finnish striker was judged to be offside by half a shoulder as it remained 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At half time Mourinho brought on Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura for Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth as Spurs went to a back four and ditched their 3-5-2 system.

A moment of huge controversy arrived early in the second half as Jamal Lewis was adjudged to have handled as the last man right on the edge of the box and only a yellow card was given.

But from the resulting free kick Eriksen’s deflected free kick flew in to make it 1-1 as Spurs were rampant in the second half.

Alli then hooked home from a tight angle but he was clearly offside and just when it looked like Spurs would surge towards victory, Serge gave Norwich the lead…

With Pukki in on goal, Toby Alderweireld cleared and the ball hit Aurier and went into his own net to make it 2-1 as Tottenham’s players, coaching staff and fans held their heads in disbelief.

Spurs did draw level though, as Kane was set free on the break and he won a penalty kick by cutting inside as Christoph Zimmermann brought him down. Kane slotted home the penalty kick to make it 2-2 and then sub Erik Lamela tested Krul from distance with a powerful effort.

In the end Spurs couldn’t break through as Norwich held on for a point in their battle against the drop.

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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.

Leicester held by stubborn Norwich

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Leicester City’s run of Premier League wins came to an end at eight, as second from bottom Norwich City drew 1-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

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Teemu Pukki gave the Canaries the lead but an own goal from Tim Krul (which was originally given to Jamie Vardy) snatched a point for the Foxes who never got going.

With the point Leicester move on to 39 points for the season and remain in second place, while Norwich move on to 12 points and remain second from bottom.


3 things we learned

1. Unlikely title race probably over: They probably weren’t going to win the Premier League title, and now it’s all but over. Leicester are now 10 points behind leaders Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers‘ focus will be all about one thing: finishing in the top four. Leicester didn’t get going in attack at all but they remain unbeaten at home. This is still going to be a glorious season for the Foxes but they seemed lacking in energy against Norwich.

2. Pukki continues to have a party: If you watch Norwich regularly then you’ll now that Pukki hasn’t been getting too many chances to score. He’s scored in three of his last four games to take his PL tally to nine for the season and if Norwich do go down, plenty of other PL clubs will be lining up to take Pukki in the summer.

3. Vardy sharp as ever: He thought he had extended his scoring streak but Leicester’s goal went down as a Krul own goal. Vardy was sharp on Saturday, hitting the outside of the post after rounding Krul and nearly capitalizing on an error from the Norwich goalkeeper. His goalscoring streak is over but Vardy continues to bring the heat.

Man of the Match: Emiliano Buendia – At the heart of everything good about Norwich, played the ball through to Pukki for his goal and the Argentine midfielder has so much quality on the ball.


The Foxes went close to scoring early on as Kelechi Iheanacho tested Tim Krul and then Youri Tielemans hit the woodwork.

Tielemans cut inside and his shot looked like a routine save for Krul but Norwich’s goalkeeper spilled the ball onto his own post and then collected it before Vardy flew in.

But then Norwich took the lead as Emiliano Buendia drove towards goal and played in top goalscorer Pukki, who kept his composure to slot home past Kasper Schmeichel.

VAR then checked out an incident as Todd Cantwell was annoyed with Iheanacho after a fiery exchange between the Canaries and Foxes players after poor sportsmanship from the Leicester forward who failed to put the ball out of play.

Cantwell then went close as Norwich but Leicester equalized before the break from a corner. James Maddison whipped in a corner to the near post which Vardy flicked on and Krul pushed the ball into his own net to make it 1-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Vardy rounded Krul in the second half but his shot from a tight angle hit the post as the Foxes huffed and puffed against a stubborn Norwich side.

Leicester’s leading goalscorer almost guided an effort into the far corner from Chilwell’s cross.

Maddison then whipped in a free kick which Wilfred Ndidi headed off target.

Late on Norwich poured forward in search of a winner as Pukkie was denied by Ricardo Pereira who timed his tackle to perfection, and from the resulting corner Christoph Zimmermann‘s header was blocked.

Substitute Harvey Barnes spurned a great chance late as the Foxes saw their run of wins end.