MX23RW : Thursday, April 18 19:04:03| >> :600:102733944:102733944:
Jan 16, 2016 at 3pm UK at ​Dean Court
NorwichNorwich City
Gosling (10'), Daniels (54' pen.), Afobe (75')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Bournemouth vs. Norwich City

Sports Mole looks ahead to the Premier League clash at the Vitality Stadium between Bournemouth and fellow strugglers Norwich City.

There are plenty of big Premier League encounters scheduled for this weekend, one of which will be played at the Vitality Stadium.

Sixteenth-placed Bournemouth will host Norwich City, who sit two points above the home team. With the likes of Sunderland and Newcastle United picking up points in midweek, both of these sides are in need of a victory to put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.


Eddie Howe Manager of Bournemouth looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Newcastle United at Vitality Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Bournemouth, England.© Getty Images

If the Cherries lose their battle to stay in the Premier League, it will not be through a lack of financial muscle.

Since the transfer window opened at the start of the month, Bournemouth have shelled out almost £20m to sign strikers Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban, the latter of whom arrived from Saturday's opponents. Juan Iturbe has also joined on loan from Serie A outfit Roma.

While Eddie Howe has been quick to bolster his attacking ranks, he could also do with reinforcements in defence. After all, the 37 goals that Bournemouth have shipped this season is worrying, particularly when considering that only Sunderland and Newcastle have conceded more.

The new additions brought with them plenty of optimism ahead of West Ham United's visit on Tuesday, and that was only enhanced when Harry Arter gave Howe's men the lead heading into the break.

However, three goals of real quality after the restart secured the victory for the Hammers, meaning that just three points now separates Bournemouth and the drop zone.

The result also saw the South Coast outfit extend the number of points that they have thrown away from leading positions to 12 - a division-high along with Newcastle.

Recent form: WWDLDL
Recent form (all competitions): LDLDWL


Alex Neil manager of Norwich City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Norwich City at St James' Park on October 18, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.© Getty Images

It is often said that footballers are not exactly the brightest bunch of individuals on the planet.

While there will be those involved in the game that believe it is a harsh opinion, Norwich midfielder Gary O'Neil did little to help his fellow professionals' cause against Stoke City on Wednesday night.

With the score locked at 0-0 and the visiting Canaries holding their own at the Britannia Stadium, O'Neil needlessly chopped down Stoke winger Ibrahim Afellay from behind and was handed his marching orders. Left to play almost an hour with 10 men, Norwich eventually slumped to a 3-1 defeat.

All games when you are battling at the wrong end of the table are big, but that one had particular significance for manager Alex Neil.

The Scot had insisted that he made numerous changes to his side for the FA Cup tie against Manchester City last weekend to ensure that his key players were fresh for Stoke. Yet, thanks to O'Neil, we will never know if his decision was vindicated.

If ever there was a game that summed up Norwich's luck on the road this season, it was the clash in the Potteries. O'Neil became the third Canary to see red away from home - more than any other Premier League club. On top of that, Neil's men remain the only side in the division to have not kept a clean sheet on their travels.

Recent form: DWLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWLL

Team News

Lewis Grabban of Norwich City in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Crystal Palace at Carrow Road on August 8, 2015 in Norwich, England.© Getty Images

Back at Bournemouth following a stint with Norwich, Howe is bound to be tempted to chuck Grabban in for his second full debut against the club where he was deemed surplus to requirements.

He could partner other new boy Afobe up front, while there may also be a first start for Iturbe.

On a more negative note, Tommy Elphick, Max Gradel, Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings all remain sidelined.

As for the visitors, O'Neil will be suspended as the result of his stupidity against Stoke.

His omission may see Graham Dorrans come into the team, while Cameron Jerome is also in line for a recall.

Winger Matt Jarvis has been out of action for a number of weeks with a knee complaint, but he is now back fit and should be among the substitutes.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Boruc; Francis, Cook, Smith, Daniels; Surman, Arter, Gosling, Iturbe; Grabban, Afobe

Norwich possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Brady; Odjidja, Dorrans, Tettey, Howson; Hoolahan; Jerome

Head To Head

Since the year 2000 there have been five meetings between these two sides, none of which Bournemouth have won.

Norwich have recorded three victories, with the other two contests ending in draws.

It is also worth noting that the team from Norfolk have won on both of their visits to Dean Court.

When they clashed at Carrow Road earlier in the campaign, Norwich won 3-1.

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We say: Bournemouth 2-2 Norwich

Both sides are capable of scoring goals, while neither is particularly tight defensively. That should make for an entertaining contest and one that may very well end in a score draw.

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Who will win this contest at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth or Norwich?

Eddie Howe Manager of Bournemouth looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.
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