AFC Bournemouth 0-0 Norwich City - Pragmatic Canaries earn first point of the season on the road
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City managed to gain their first away point of the season against AFC Bournemouth, with a stalemate displaying a pragmatism many wished to witness following their 5-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
They had chances at the Vitality Stadium with substitute Tom Trybull's strike from range being the closest City came to snatching all three points.
The last 0-0 draw City were involved in was an away fixture with Hull City last season.
This fixture saw the Canaries fail to break a record which has seen their only goal away from home arrive courtesy of Teemu Pukki in the second half of City's 4-1 defeat to European Champions Liverpool.
Daniel Farke elected to make two changes from the side that were thrashed by Aston Villa before the international break, with Alex Tettey and Tim Krul replacing Marco Stiepermann and understudy keeper Michael McGovern.
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For many operators, the hiatus for international fixtures had provided time to increase recovery, with Krul, Tettey, Trybull and Onel Hernandez all featuring in the match-day squad to bolster Farke's options.
Eddie Howe made three changes to his Bournemouth side, with the experienced Adam Smith replacing Jack Stacey in the line-up. The Cherries were looking for a bounce back of their own, with a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal being their third game without a win in all competitions.
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In Stiepermann's absence, it was Mo Leitner who occupied the advanced midfield position as Farke sought to discover some much needed balance in the centre of the pitch.
The opening exchanges saw City concede possession with Bournemouth looking to break down a shape that saw Tettey screening the duo at the heart of the Canaries defence. Plenty of crosses were being thrown into City's box in the opening quarter, with Bournemouth failing to create any clear cut chances.
Thereafter, City began to grow into proceedings, enjoying an increased amount of possession as well as looking lively on the counter but that final pass proved difficult to discover.
Dominic Solanke had the first clear sight on goal after 22 minutes, after a through pass from Callum Wilson put the striker one-on-one with Krul. City had their Dutch keeper to thank after stopping the effort with his legs, although Solanke lacked conviction in his effort.
Out of possession, City did operate in a 4-1-4-1 formation designed to reduce the space in the central area of the pitch.
In midfield, the spaces between the operators were significantly reduced, with the Canaries seemingly happy to allow the Cherries into wide areas.
Minutes into the second half, City's defensive injury woes worsened, with Ben Godfrey going down and looking in some discomfort. As he limped off, City were forced into a reshuffle. Tettey joined Amadou in the backline with Trybull becoming the defensive screener.
Godfrey went under the surgeons knife in the break for a hernia operation and given the extent of their defensive injuries, they'll be crossing their fingers in hope that it doesn't lead to a prolonged spell on the side lines for the English defender.
That change prompted pockets of space appearing for the hosts to exploit.
The Canaries were still attempting to launch counter attacks, with Cantwell's pass to Pukki culminating in a deflected shot over the bar.
Moments later, Sergio Rico's cross was curled into the box but Wilson's deft touch went agonisingly beyond Krul's left-hand post.
Attacking phases were arriving at regular intervals for the Canaries at this point, with threaded passes allowing them to move up the pitch. City were unable to sow a move together with the final pass, as it was in the first half, continuing to evade them.
On the 66th minute, City had their best opening of the game, with Pukki's low drive from outside the box being turned round the post by Aaron Ramsdale.
That sparked a spell of dominance for City, with a prolonged passage of possession allowing them to grow in confidence. That said, they failed to convert possession into chances.
A chorus of chants from the home supporters prompted a revival for the Cherries, with an offensive passage culminating in a fierce shot by Arnaut Danjuma which Krul held with ease on the 76th minute.
Hernandez' first involvement was a burst of pace down the right side, Buendia managed to keep possession before feeding Trybull, whose rasping shot went just wide.
In the context of previous games, City will be satisfied to leave with something but upon reflection, they were unable to capitalise on their positive spells in the second half of the game.
Defensive resilience was the order of the day however, with the compactness of their defensive shape ensuring they left the South Coast with a point.
- AFC Bournemouth (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Smith, Steve Cook (C), Ake, Rico; Harry Wilson (Danjuma, 69), Lewis Cook, Billing, Fraser; Solanke (King, 62), Callum Wilson. Subs not used: Boruc (GK), Francis, Kelly, Mepham, Surman
- Bookings: Smith
- Goals: None
- Norwich City (4-1-4-1): Krul; Aarons, Amadou, Godfrey (Trybull, 50), Lewis; Tettey ( C), Leitner (Srbeny, 89); Buendia, McLean, Cantwell (Hernandez, 80); Pukki. Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Byram, Stiepermann, Srbeny, Drmic
- Bookings: Lewis, McLean, Pukki
- Goals: None
- Added on time: 1 min/ 4 mins
- Referee: Lee Mason (Lancs)
- VAR: Simon Hooper (Wilts)