The English Premier League’s newly promoted Aston Villa and Norwich went head-to-head in the battle of survival on Boxing Day.
Aston Villa held the bragging rights after demolishing Norwich 1-5 on Carrow Road back in early October and were three points ahead in the race for surviving the drop, although still in the relegation zone. Both teams were in dire need of points, Aston Villa going four games without a single point and Norwich’s streak reaching six games with only two points to show.
As has been typical this season, Norwich managed to create the chances and take control of the game, but failed to utilize their possession. Aston Villa held on to the draw and then surgically took the win from one of their rare chances. The narrow 1-0 victory left Norwich once again feeling hard done, but such is the life in the English Premier League.
Norwich was the more dangerous side to start the game. Teemu Pukki was a constant threat, but was marked tightly by two Aston Villa defenders. The offensive set-pieces almost took the visitors ahead, but twice the Canaries rattled the woodwork.
Sam Byram also had a wide open net to head the ball into, but his nod went far and wide. In the other end, Tim Krul had little to do but parried nicely the long range efforts sent his way. It took 64 minutes into the game before the home team scored their go-ahead goal. Conor Hourihane was left unmarked on the edge of the box and after receiving the ball to his feet from Jack Grealish, the Irish sub slotted the ball past Krul.
Norwich’s chase was tame at best and Villa strolled to a rather comfortable victory despite the narrow numbers. A draw would’ve not been an unfair result, but Norwich lacked the sharpness to take advantage of their goal scoring chances.
The battle for survival seems more and more like a lost cause for Norwich and the opponents like Aston Villa should be beaten in order to achieve that.
Next up for Norwich is a visit by Tottenham Hotspur on the 28th, so don’t forget Dafabet’s Norwich City Prediction Challenge in order to win weekly bets.
Norwich vs Tottenham (1×2): 4.75 – 4.00 – 1.67