46 mins: McLean races forward to close down Meslier, who clears and goes down under the challenge. McLean gets booked, but I’m not sure there was much contact.
Michael Butler chats to Ian Woan in the latest in his excellent series of interviews with 90s Premier League legends:
“What a strangely anaemic game,” writes Justin Kavanagh. “Beforehand, you’d have put money on any other scoreline instead of 0-0. Now you wouldn’t want to bet on any other scoreline. Both teams look not only toothless, but gumless in addition.”
I do think there’s a goal in here somewhere, and Leeds look like they have another gear or two. If Norwich can find a spark of magic, or a lucky break, that would open the game up. Or it could end 0-0. Stick around, folks.
45 mins: From the corner, the ball ricochets to Normann, 25 yards out. His low shot pings by a crowd of players, and just wide of the far post!
44 mins: Harrison hauls down the lively Aarons, and is booked. Dowell’s free kick from thorough is headed clear by Llorente. Rashica picks it up and drills a low shot that Meslier tips behind – although it was probably sneaking wide anyway …
43 mins: Omobamidele’s poor clearance is picked up by Rodrigo, who fires a shot straight at Krul. I think that’s the first shot on target for either side …
42 mins: Raphinha is keeping Andrew Omobamidele busy down the right, cutting inside here but seeing his shot confined by the centre-back.
41 mins: Leeds are the side pushing forward as half-time approaches, but nothing is clicking in the final third – it’s like an ice-cold knife by butter.
39 mins: The Norwich captain, Grant Hanley, is struggling with a groin problem. He would be a big miss, having made a associate of meaningful interventions already.
38 mins: Kabak wins the ball from James down by his own goalline, then concedes an unnecessary free kick by throwing his arm across the winger. Llorente gets a head to the cross, but it’s never on target.
36 mins: Leeds get a few bodies upfield, and Raphinha crosses with his left. James nods it towards Rodrigo, who can’t turn and get a shot away under pressure from Hanley.
35 mins: After a frenetic start, this game is drifting a little towards half time – with both teams perhaps eager about the implications of conceding first.
33 mins: Dan James almost motors onto a by ball, but Krul is out quickly to smother it. The winger may have been offside, anyway.
31 mins: Harrison collects a pass from Raphinha and lays it off for the No 10 – unfortunately it’s Norwich’s No 10, Kieran Dowell. As the hosts try to break, Rodrigo is booked for applying his boot to the back of Normann’s leg.
29 mins: Raphinha twists and turns his way to the byline, but his cross in to Rodrigo is cleared.
28 mins: Leeds’ setup is predictably fluid, with wing-back Stuart Dallas and left winger Dan James changing places, and Jack Harrison currently further forward than Rodrigo.
26 mins: Norwich haven’t been ahead for a single Premier League minute so far this season, and they’ll need to sharpen up their shooting if that’s going to change. Mathias Normann is the latest player to drag his shot well wide.
24 mins: Hanley swings a long diagonal towards Max Aarons, who gets beyond James but sees his shot closed down.
22 mins: As demonstrated by that passage of play, the pitch is nevertheless slippery after a biblical downpour before kick-off.
21 mins: More aggressive intent from the hosts, with Kenny McLean charging forward. When he slips, Max Aarons picks up the baton and darts into the area. He slips too, and clatters into Llorente. Both players need a dab of the magic sponge after that.
19 mins: Dowell swings in a cross from the right that skims over the head of Rashica. Moments later, Rashica fires in a cross of his own, but it’s over the head of Pukki, who was well marshalled by white shirts.
17 mins: But when Leeds play out beyond that high press, they look dangerous – particularly Raphinha, who almost picks out Rodrigo with a prodded by ball.
16 mins: It’s been a very high-tempo start, with Pukki and Sargent pressing the Leeds defence at every opportunity.
14 mins: Norwich have the chance to swing a cross in from another free kick – but Dowell goes for goal, lashing the ball high into the stand. On the bench, Daniel Farke looks crestfallen.
12 mins: Oof, a decent chance for the hosts! From a quick free-kick, Rashica swings in a cross that James half-clears. Pukki fires towards the far corner on the turn, but it flies wide.
10 mins: A break in play as Mathias Normann goes down after a hefty challenge from Raphinha. Pukki thinks he’s won a corner off Liam Cooper but a goal-kick is awarded, much to the Finn’s chagrin.
7 mins: Hanley clears off the line! Leeds slice by that buttery Norwich back-line, and Dan James goes round Krul. From a tight angle, his shot is on target but Grant Hanley clears at the near post! Suspicions that James was offside, but I think Omobamidele was playing him on.
6 mins: Meslier comes dangerously close to handling outside his area, before Leeds break downfield by Raphinha, deployed on the right wing. He plays a one-two with Harrison, but Kabak makes a good challenge to stop him getting a shot away.
3 mins: Kabak fails to connect with the header, but as Dan James tries to break away, there are big appeals for handball from the Norwich fans! Neither Anthony Taylor nor the VAR, Darren England, are swayed.
2 mins: As promised by Farke, Norwich have started aggressively. Centre-back Kabak drives upfield and wins a dubious corner …
Away we go. Norwich in yellow and green, Leeds in all-white.
It’s also Women’s FA Cup semi-final day, and Chelsea are 2-0 up at Manchester City in the first game. Join Rob Smyth for updates from that one:
“Norwich, the positives: their kit, Josh Sargent’s hair. The negatives: everything related to winning in the Premier League,” says Mary Waltz.
Here’s Daniel Farke: “Of course we’re not happy with just two points from nine games, but we have to concentrate on this game. We are respectful [of Leeds] but also highly motivated to win points today.
“It’s crunch time, when you have to deliver. We had a tough fixture list and as a promoted team it’s difficult. Today we want to go for it and win the points. We also want to get back to being more defensively substantial – [but] play without fear and go for it.”
Norwich managed clean sheets against Burnley and Brighton, but their goal difference is -21 – only Sheffield Wednesday in 1999-00 can “match” that in the Premier League era.
This is the first top-flight meeting between these sides since 1995. Two years before, they met at Carrow Road in the Premier League’s first season. Chris Sutton scored a hat-trick to keep the Canaries’ surprise title push alive:
The two teams’ recent ups and downs average this is Leeds’ first trip here since August 2018, when they won 3-0. Both Farke and Bielsa were in the dugouts that day, a scarce modern example of football not moving far too fast.
Both managers have gone with fairly attacking line-ups – a Halloween thriller is guaranteed*.
*Halloween thriller not guaranteed
Norwich (3-4-3): Krul; Kabak, Hanley, Omobamidele; Aarons, Normann, McLean, Rashica; Dowell, Pukki, Sargent.
Subs: Rupp, Gilmour, Placheta, Tzolis, Lees-Melou, Williams, Gunn, Giannoulis, Idah.
Leeds (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Shackleton, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas; Struijk, Phillips; Raphinha, James, Harrison; Rodrigo.
Subs: Forshaw, Roberts, Klaesson, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Cresswell, Drameh, Summerville, Klich.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).
Never mind relegated by Christmas – Norwich could be down before Bonfire Night. After two points from nine games, the Canaries are firmly odds-on to head straight back to the Championship. That may be a little premature, but there are a few reasons for optimism after a historically bad start to a Premier League campaign. Norwich are at risk of becoming the team everyone wants to confront in order to iron out their own issues.
Take today’s opponents, Leeds, who arrive here in the bottom three after an awkward, injury-hit start. Last season’s impressive mid-table finish was fired by 10 away wins – as many as Chelsea and Liverpool – but they have drawn a blank on the road so far this season. Win as expected today and the tension will be eased; lose and the gap to Norwich will improbably be down to just two points.
With Patrick Bamford nevertheless unavailable, much will depend on whether Raphinha is fit enough to start – the Brazilian’s three league goals this season eclipse Norwich’s complete output of two – both scored by Teemu Pukki. Daniel Farke needs that to change in their upcoming fixtures – Brentford (A), Southampton (H), Wolves (H), Newcastle (A). If Norwich are to rise from the dead, it starts on Halloween.
Kick off is at 2pm GMT.
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