Tom Trybull

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.

Southampton secure crucial win, beat Norwich

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SOUTHAMPTON — Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Southampton beat Norwich City 2-1 at St Mary’s Stadium as the hosts held on for a vital win in a proper relegation battle.

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Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand put Saints 2-0 up and they totally dominated the game until Teemu Pukki struck to set up a nervy finish.

Southampton did hold on to secure back-to-backs wins for the first time since March, which have propelled Southampton out of the relegation zone as they now have 15 points. Norwich remain in 19th are now four points below Southampton.


3 things we learned

1. Local lad Ings on fire: Danny Ings is one of their own, and he is their best hope of staying up this season. Ings has scored 10 goals this season and after a terrible run of injuries, he is fit and firing. Ings grew up a few miles from St Mary’s and he has now scored in Saints’ last four PL games, as they face Newcastle, Villa and West Ham next. If he can keep this run going, Saints can start looking up the table and away from the bottom three.

2. Hasenhuttl’s anniversary celebrated with high press: It has been one year since Hasenhuttl took charge of Southampton and there have been lots of ups and downs. His anniversary was celebrated with the way he wanted to play, as Saints pressed Norwich high in the first half and that won them the game. Hasenhuttl then made smart subs, just like he did in the big win against Watford, to see out the game. The Austrian continues to learn how to do get it done as Saints’ back-to-back wins marked his one-year in charge in style.

3. Cantwell and Pukki are Norwich’s best hope: Cantwell’s runs caused Saints problems and the one decent chance Pukki had he finished it. Norwich’s two stars from this season almost grabbed them a point, but it was too little too late for Daniel Farke‘s men who played without the attacking panache they’ve showed throughout this season.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings – He ran Norwich ragged in the first half and set the tone for Saints’ front line. Ings is on fire, is clinical and aside from his scoring he sets the trap for their high-press. He is Southampton’s talisman.


Southampton started well as they pinned Norwich back but Kenny McLean had the first real chance of the game but he dragged a shot just wide.

At the other end Shane Long was causing problems as his header was on target and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took an age to shoot when running through on goal.

Southampton took the lead as James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick was flicked in at the near post by red-hot Ings to send St Mary’s wild.

Before the break Norwich tried to get back into the game with Todd Cantwell pulling the strings but at the other end Moussa Djenepo fired just over for Saints. Ings had a shot deflected wide for a corner before the break as the home side continued to look the more dangerous. They doubled their lead from that corner as Long flicked the ball on to Bertrand who made it 2-0.

Hojbjerg forced Tim Krul into a fine stop before the break as the hosts dominated the first half.

At half time Norwich made a double change with Marco Stiepermann and Alex Tettey coming on for Ibrahim Amadou and Tom Trybull as Canaries boss Daniel Farke try to spring his side into life.

A massive moment in the game arrived as Shane Long was clearly pushed in the back by Max Aarons but no penalty kick was given and VAR wasn’t used.

Norwich improved as Pukki came into the game and forced Alex McCarthy to save, then Ings smashed a volley inches wide of the far post.

Pukki then buried his first chance of the game as one ball from Tettey carved open the Southampton defense and the Canaries were back in it.

Cedric smashed a shot on goal which Krul saved as Saints tried to hit Norwich on the break with Nathan Redmond also going close, but the Canaries were dominant in the final minutes of the game.

Sam Byram lashed wide late on as Southampton held on for a vital three points which secured wild scenes at the final whistle.

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.

Premier League Preview: Norwich City v. Man City

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  • Man City unbeaten, but 2nd in the PL
  • Norwich, behind Pukki’s production, a tough team to beat
  • First meeting since a 0-0 draw on March 3, 2016

While very little has been surprising about Manchester City’s start to the 2019-20 Premier League campaign, the same can’t be said of Norwich City’s first four games since returning to England’s top flight — particularly the goal-scoring exploits of Teemu Pukki. The two-time defending champions visit the newly promoted Canaries on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com).

Man City enter Matchweek 5 in second place, two points behind leaders Liverpool, and have conceded just three goals in four games (two came in one game, their lone draw of the season, against Tottenham Hotspur). Sergio Aguero (six) and Raheem Sterling (five) have combined to score 11 of City’s 13 goals thus far. Arguably the most lethal attacking duo in the world at the moment, Aguero and Sterling will be anxious to face the PL’s worst defensive record (10 goals conceded) on Saturday. In red-hot form, Sterling scored one and assisted on three others in England’s 5-3 victory over Kosovo on Tuesday.

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Though Norwich enter Sunday’s clash at Carrow in 19th place, the route by which they arrived in the relegation zone has surprised many. Thrashed by Liverpool on the opening day, the general consensus was that Daniel Farke‘s side acquitted itself well. Then came a resounding 3-1 victory over Newcastle United, highlighted by Pukki’s hat trick. Again, Norwich were hardly dominated in a loss to Chelsea before finally being comprehensively outplayed by West Ham United just before the international break. Pukki has five goals of Norwich’s six goals and was named the PL Player of the Month for August, leaving many to wonder how much longer he can keep up the magic, and whether or not they can survive if his well of goals dries up.

Injuries/suspensions

Norwich: OUT – Tom Trybull (ankle), Christoph Zimmermann (foot), Onel Hernandez (knee), Timm Klose (knee)

Man City: OUT – Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Benjamin Mendy (fitness); QUESTIONABLE – John Stones (thigh), Ilkay Gundogan (illness)


Projected lineups

Norwich: Krul – Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis – Drmic Leitner – Buendia, Stieperman, Cantwell – Pukki

Man City: Ederson – Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko – Rodrigo, Silva, De Bruyne – Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on Sterling reaching the level of Messi and Ronaldo: “They scored 50 or 60 goals a season in the last decade, and have won the Ballon d’Or and prizes every year except this one. They are legends, something unique in world football. If Raheem can target that level, wow. Of course, he can do it and I won’t be the guy to tell him his limits. But right now, nobody — at any club — can compare with these two guys what they do every week for a decade. Nobody can compare.”

Daniel Farke, on the challenge of facing Man City: “Some lads are nervous, you can tell. It’s normal and it’s up to me to give them some trust and confidence. We should go into the game with nothing to lose. I will back my lads whatever happens tomorrow. I want them to be brave. They should have no regrets.”


Prediction

All 11 Norwich players could turn in the performance of their lives, and City could still win 3-1. The gap between “two-time defending champions” and “just arrived in the big time” is massive, and Saturday’s clash should highlight the disparity. 3-1, Man City.