West Ham United v Norwich City – Premier League – London Stadium – Report
West Ham United 2-0 Norwich City
Jarrod Bowen scored twice as West Ham United recorded a routine victory over Norwich City to rocket into the Premier League’s top four.
The stakes couldn’t be more different for the two sides: “They’re in a fight to stay up, but I don’t think any of the teams have been cut adrift yet and I think there’s a chance for the bottom five teams,” Hammers boss, David Moyes explained.
“There’s a fight on and Norwich will see every game as an opportunity, but I see it here at West Ham as an opportunity to challenge the teams at the top and try to keep ourselves around them, annoying them, and make them think that we’re not going away,” the Scotsman added.
Hammers were almost ahead inside the opening two minutes. Norwich stopper, Tim Krul produced a superb reaction save to deny the red-hot Bowen. Meanwhile, Manuel Lanzini was wayward after the former Hull City man had fashioned an opening from the right.
Kenny McLean swept over as Norwich – with only eight league goals to their name ahead of the game – attacked tentatively. Meanwhile, Bowen again troubled the visitors. Krul and a trio of defenders somehow averted the danger after Pablo Fornals, Lanzini and the returning Aaron Cresswell combined to create an opportunity.
The home side enjoyed plenty of possession but came up against a Norwich side short on confidence, points and prepared to defend in numbers. Lanzini was again horribly off-target as a little frustration appeared to creep into the home side. Bowen’s celebrations were cut short after Nikola Vlasic was adjudged to have come from an off-side position. But when Bowen was provided with a close-range header by Vladimir Coufal’s pin-point centre, the Hammers leading marksman made no mistake in breaking the deadlock.
With the wind in their sails, the East Londoners were able to play with a little more freedom. Michail Antonio fired over from close range shortly after the interval. Meanwhile, Bowen clipped the top of the bar after Lanzini had threaded through the eye of a needle to play him in.
Bowen’s deflected effort struck the foot of an upright. But at times, the home side was guilty of over-playing as they probed for a second goal. And that almost proved costly when only a combination of Lukasz Fabianski and the post denied Adam Idah.
But with six minutes remaining, West Ham killed the contest. Initially, an assistants’ flag had denied Bowen his eighth goal of the season. However, a swift VAR check reversed the decision – substitute, Arthur Masuaku having orchestrated from the left.
Substitute, Andriy Yarmolenko drew a smart save from Krul as the hosts finished the game strongly. They return to Premier League action on Sunday, January 16, when Leeds United are the visitors to the London Stadium (2pm).
West Ham United: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Rice (Capt), Lanzini, Fornals, Vlasic (Masuaku 78′), Bowen; Antonio
Subs not used: Areola, Johnson, Alese, Ashby, Ekwah, Kral, Yarmolenko, Okoflex
Goals: Jarrod Bowen 43′, 84′
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Gibson, Hanley (Capt), Williams; Lees-Melou, Rashica (Tzolis 72′), Placheta (Dowell 66′), McLean, Idah (Rowe 75′), Pukki Subs not used: Gunn, Byram, Kabak, Sorensen, Giannoulis, Gibbs
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Harry Lennard and Simon Beck
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend
VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies