The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW30): Norwich 0-3 Southampton
Norwich host Southampton in a fixture that could define the battle the Canaries have to retain their Premier League status for next season. Southampton sit comfortably above the relegation pack, with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side thirteen points clear of their opponents.
The first half was a very low-quality affair, with both teams trying to figure each other out after the lengthy lockdown break. There were some chances of note in this half. Drmic had a great opportunity in the 7th minute, and should have struck first time, instead he played himself into trouble and the Saints defence mopped up. The first moment that would wake up nappers up from their seats was in the 29th minute when Ward-Prowse got on the end of a training ground corner which nearly caught Norwich out.
The second big chance fell to Danny Ings who hit the bar after Jack Stephens intercepts the ball and drives into the Norwich defence and laying it off to the England international who is unlucky and hits the bar. Norwich’s Kenny McLean has a tame shot saved by Krul from the outside of the box in the 41st minute. The closest Norwich came to having the ball came in the 45th minute, Pukki is brought down outside the box, and a Buendia freekick from a dangerous area is found by the head of Timm Klose who doesn’t find the power to direct it towards goal. Just before half time Ward-Prowse fires a freekick directly at Krul.
Pukki didn’t have a single touch in the Southampton box in the first half which really told the tale of how poor Norwich were in this half.
The second half was a completely different half of football, with the Saints immediately transitioning into the next gear with Danny Ings finding the back of the net. Good interplay from the Saints saw it hit a pinball of players, and then Norwich can’t clear the ball as it falls to Ings who bends the ball round Tim Krul to give the Saints a lead, and Ings’ sixteenth goal this season.
- Redmond had a chance that was deflected, with Saints now in the upward momentum in the second half. Southampton found their ascendancy in this game with Redmond also having a shot moments after. The South Coast team didn’t have to wait long for another goal, this time scored by Stuart Armstrong who up until the goal had a quiet match. Southampton robbed the ball from Norwich who then quickly countered, Ings played the ball to Armstrong who expertly picked out the corner of the goal to double the Saints lead. By now it appears game over for Norwich after just ten minutes of the second half.
James Ward-Prowse had a shot blocked off the goal line after a Canaries corner triggered another Saints counterattack. Southampton should have been 3-0 up. Southampton have found Norwich’s vulnerability and are now exploiting the spaces opening in the Canaries team. Ward-Prowse had another clear chance but was blocked. Pukki had his first real chance on goal in the 64th minute, but the shot is blocked by an aware Bednarek and out for the corner, of which Norwich had the ball in the back of the net by Vrancic was clearly offside.
Despite an attempt to rally an offensive against Southampton, they were once again allowing Southampton a chance to walk through their team. Another counterattack sees Ings drive with the play and giving it to Obafemi who plays in Nathan Redmond, the winger uses his pace to work an angle for a well driven shot that Krul has no chance of saving. This contest is well and truly over, and even in the body language of the Norwich players they have lost any confidence they had.
Man of the Match: Danny Ings (Southampton)
No surprise here as to who picks up our Man of the Match. Danny Ings was involved in every goal that Southampton scored today. Ings scored the first, assisted the second, and got the second assist/key pass to Obafemi for Redmond’s goal. The one thing that is becoming clear is that the most gifted and naturally talented players have shone brightest in the restart. Kevin De Bruyne for City, Dean Henderson for Sheffield United, and now Ings for Southampton have picked up the MOTM’s for the first three games and that isn’t surprising. As all players work up to fitness, the best players will be needed to carry teams through, and that player for Southampton is Danny Ings.
The only thing that can be criticised of Ing’s performance was the yellow card he picked up, but that is muted out by a display of leadership on the pitch. Ings was brought to Southampton to contribute to goals, and after the lengthy break the Englishman proved why he is one of the most underrated forwards in the league.
NOR 0-3 SOU - Insight and Analysis:
Norwich needed to close a gap of six points to be in with a chance to stay in the Premier League, whilst Southampton look relatively safe this season and they are only fighting for the best finish possible now. Norwich had everything to play for, and they had an opportunity to seize in this fixture. This however looked like a game that would be limited to its big chances.
I am thankful to be proven wrong, even if the first half was extremely hard to watch. Southampton came back onto the field a different side, and Norwich made it easy for the Saints to walk through their team. Southampton were peppering Krul’s goal who is the only player that can hold their head high as it was the entire Canaries team that not only failed to keep hold of the ball, but looked weak and second best in trying to win it back.
Norwich came into this match with the leagues worst defence, and they restarted their campaign with no indicator of how they might prove people wrong in their attempts of staying in the Premier League. No team with 21pts at this stage of the season have ever stayed up, and this was an opportunity to make a statement of intent. It is safe to say that Norwich will be immediately heading back down to the Championship next season.
Southampton are now a few points away from a mid-table position, and with Danny Ings starting strong in the restart they have a good chance of a strong finish to the season.
Venue: Carrow Road
Manager: Daniel Farke
GK: Tim Krul
LB: Jamal Lewis
CB: Ben Godfrey
CB: Timm Kruse
RB: Max Aarons
LM: Todd Cantwell (Hernandez 62')
CM: Kenny McLean
CM: Tom Trybull (Vrancic 62')
RM: Emi Buendia (Idah 80')
ST: Teemu Pukki (Duda 80')
ST: Josip Drmic (Martin 89')
Rupp, Vrancic, Leitner, Hernandez, Duda, Tettey, McGovern, Idah, Martin
Manager: Ralph Hassenhuttl
LB: Ryan Bertrand
CB: Jan Bednarek
CB: Jack Stephens
RB: Jan Valery (Walker-Peters '90)
LM: Nathan Redmond (Boufal '82)
CM: Pierre-Emil Højbjerg
CM: James Ward-Prowse
RM: Stuart Armstrong (Smallbone '82)
ST: Obafemi (Adams 82')
ST: Danny Ings (Tella '88)
Vestergaard, Adams, Romeu, Boufal, Walker-Peters, Smallbone, Gunn, Danso, Tella
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