This weekend sees two of the promoted sides come head-to-head in a match that both will have targeted three points from. The early stages of a season are crucial for promoted sides as they are still riding the winning mentality from the previous campaign, which has been evident in the opening weeks of the Premier League. The relegation battle will be intense this year, with every side having quality players in their ranks and this match is an early six-pointer. It will be interesting to see how the international break has affected both sides.
Norwich have had a mixed start to the season picking up four points to date. Their performances against Crystal Palace, Stoke and Sunderland were all excellent, but they did disappoint against Southampton. Their attacking play has been really positive, as they have played with width and pace, which will trouble teams in this division. Robbie Brady and Nathan Redmond are both dangerous in this division and will win the Canaries a lot of points this season. The experience that they have in their squad will be a huge positive and will give them an edge over Bournemouth and Watford in the long run.
As newcomers to the Premier League, Bournemouth have a huge task ahead of them if they are to stay in the division. A win against West Ham gave the supporters something to be excited about, especially given the fashion of the victory. However, over the international break, both Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel have suffered long term injuries, which is a huge blow for the club. Bournemouth spent the majority of their transfer budget on these two players and they won’t be able to use either of them for several months. Eddie Howe will have to use all of his motivational abilities to get the best out of a squad lacking in Premier League experience.
In this fixture last season in the Championship, the teams shared the points. Former Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban scored the first goal, before his replacement Callum Wilson secured a point for the Cherries. In the match at Bournemouth, Norwich took the three points in Alex Neil’s first game in charge of the club. Matt Ritchie scored to give the hosts an early lead, before Gary Hooper equalised late in the first half. Jonny Howson was sent off in the second half, which left Norwich with ten men. However, the ten men took the points with a late Cameron Jerome winner.
- Nathan Redmond has already scored twice in the Premier League, which is double the amount he managed to get in Norwich’s relegation season.
- Bournemouth have been tackled 98 times which is more than any other side in the division.
Nathan Redmond has already emerged as the key player in the Norwich side, showing himself to be more consistent and wiser in the final third than he was during the 2013/14 campaign. After breaking through as a teenager at Birmingham, Redmond has had to deal with a lot of pressure being put on him, but he is now emerging as a Premier League quality player. Redmond was linked to a lot of top clubs while he was at Birmingham. However, he made the decision to join Norwich, which is looking to be an excellent decision as he is getting first team football and developing as a result. Some English teenagers opt to join big clubs at a young age and disappear into the system. Now at the age of 21, Redmond is being linked with an England call up, while he could even gatecrash the Euro 2016 squad if he continues to perform like he is currently. He is also a player who will be attracting interest from other Premier League clubs as he has pace, power and quality in the final third. He will be a problem for Bournemouth on Saturday as the Cherries don’t have a lot of pace in their defence, especially now Tyrone Mings is injured. At Carrow Road, Norwich should have the majority of possession and if they give the ball to Redmond, he will create chances for the side.
Callum Wilson has had a quick rise to the top of the game after breaking into the Coventry side during the 2013/14 season. After one prolific season in League 1, he earned a move to Bournemouth and fired them to promotion. Since moving to the Cherries, he has scored a goal every two games, which is an incredible record. It is difficult to see him maintaining that over the coming months, but he has started the season well, with his hat-trick at West Ham showing that he can perform in the top flight. Bournemouth need a goalscorer and if Wilson can score upwards of 12 goals this season, the club have a fighting chance of staying up. The striker will be using Charlie Austin and Danny Ings as examples of how a lower league striker can have instant success in the Premier League. Wilson is a good finisher when chances come his way. Moreover, he is an accomplished dribbler, who can create chances for himself and his team-mates. Bournemouth need to be clinical in front of goal this season, and Wilson will be central to that.
Martin Olsson featured for Sweden over the international break, therefore he should be fit to feature for Norwich at the weekend. Youssouf Mulumbu is still a week or two away from making his debut for the Canaries. Dieumerci Mbokani and Matt Jarvis could make their debuts after their loan moves to the club.
Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are both out for a significant amount of time after both picked up knee injuries over the international break. Josh King could feature this weekend, but both Harry Arter and Charlie Daniels are set to be missing with knocks. The three deadline day signings Glenn Murray, Joe Bennett and Tomas Andrade could all make their debuts at Carrow Road.
The meeting between two of this season’s promoted sides will be interesting to see how both have adapted to the Premier League. Both have made some good additions, but Norwich appear better suited to the top flight than Bournemouth due to the experience in their squad. The pace and quality in the Norwich attack sees them go into this weekend as favourites to pick up the three points. Also the injuries that Bournemouth have suffered over the last two weeks could see them go into this weekend somewhat deflated. I think Norwich will win this weekend allowing them to put the Southampton result behind them.
Norwich City 3-1 Bournemouth