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Preview: Norwich City vs. Bournemouth

Sports Mole previews this weekend's Premier League clash between Norwich City and Bournemouth at Carrow Road.

Two teams who won promotion from the Championship last season will meet this weekend, as Norwich City and Bournemouth battle for Premier League points at Carrow Road.

They both have identical records in the league, but Norwich will be looking to recover from a heavy defeat to Southampton, while the Cherries are unbeaten in their last three games.


Norwich City

Norwich City manager Alex Neil looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City at Goldsands Stadium on January 10, 2015© Getty Images

Norwich will have been expecting a tough season on their return to the Premier League and they have lost two of their opening four games back in the top flight.

They were unfortunate to suffer a 3-1 defeat on the opening day of the campaign against Crystal Palace, in a match where they saw a goal from Cameron Jerome controversially disallowed.

However, in their next match they bounced back to record a well-earned 3-1 victory over Sunderland, which ended an eight-game winless run in the top flight.

Alex Neil's side fought back to earn a respectable draw with Stoke City a week later, before they travelled to St Mary's to face Southampton in their last outing before the international break.

Things did not go according to plan on the South Coast, as Steven Whittaker was sent off for a second bookable offence just past the half-hour mark. Despite resisting a strong amount of pressure from the Saints, they finally conceded on the stroke of half time when Graziano Pelle rifled in a powerful strike, before Dusan Tadic added two more goals in the second half.

The Canaries responded to that defeat by bringing in two loan signings on the final day of the transfer window, with Matt Jarvis arriving from West Ham United and Congo international Dieumerci Mbokani joining from Dynamo Kiev, in a bid to bolster their attacking options.

Recent form: LWDWL


Bournemouth

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe looks on during a Pre Season Friendly between AFC Bournemouth and Cardiff City at Vitality Stadium on July 31, 2015© Getty Images

Joining Norwich on four points in the Premier League table are a Bournemouth side who look to be settling into life as a top-flight club.

The Cherries did not enjoy the easiest start to the season, and they were narrowly beaten by Aston Villa and Liverpool in their opening two games, with a number of questionable decisions going against them in their match at Anfield.

They finally picked up their first points and goals of the season at the third time of asking in a thrilling 4-3 win against West Ham at Upton Park, as Callum Wilson netted a stunning hat-trick.

Howe's side looked set to follow up that win a week later when they took on Leicester City. Wilson struck his fourth of the season to give the Cherries the lead, but a late penalty from Jamie Vardy ensured that the tie finished all square, leaving them still searching for a first home win in the league.

Bournemouth were also active in the final hours of the transfer window, as they snapped up Glenn Murray for a reported £5m fee from Crystal Palace, while Tomas Andrade and Joe Bennett have joined on loan.

The club also attempted to sign Lewis Grabban from Norwich over the summer, and had a number of bids rejected, which could lead to a hostile reception for the Cherries from the home supporters this weekend.

Recent form: LLWWD


Team News

Callum Wilson of Bournemouth celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Leicester City at Vitality Stadium on August 29, 2015© Getty Images

Whittaker is suspended for Norwich following his red card against Southampton, meaning that on-loan Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom could take his place at the back.

The Canaries are also expected to be without Youssouf Mulumbu and Martin Olsson, but Jarvis could be handed his debut.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth have a number of injury problems, with Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings ruled out, and Charlie Daniels a major doubt.

Murray may be given a start up front in place of Joshua King, while Harry Arter has returned to training, although he is not expected to feature.

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Ruddy, Wisdom, Martin, Bassong, Brady, Redmond, Tettey, Dorrans, Howson, Hoolahan, Jerome

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Boruc, Cook, Distin, Elphick, Francis, Pugh, Surman, O'Kane, Ritchie, Murray, Wilson


Head To Head

Norwich have a superior record over their opponents in recent meetings and they are unbeaten in their last five games against the Cherries.

The teams last played each other in a Championship match in January, where the Canaries ran out 2-1 winners at Dean Court in Neil's first match in charge of the club.

The previous meeting at Carrow Road ended in a 1-1 draw, as Wilson cancelled out an early strike from Grabban to earn Bournemouth a point.


Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:



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We say: Norwich City 1-1 Bournemouth

We may only be five games into the Premier League season, but both managers will see this match as vital to their clubs' chances of staying in the top flight. Norwich have experienced a mixed set of results, while Bournemouth have steadily improved in the opening weeks of the campaign. There could be little to separate the teams this weekend, which is why we think that the match will end on level terms.



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Norwich boss Alex Neil watches on intently as his team take on Sunderland on August 15, 2015
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