Norwich City 0-3 Southampton - Canaries well-beaten in return to top-flight behind closed doors
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City restarted their Premier League campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Southampton at Carrow Road on Friday behind closed doors.
Goals from Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond saw City suffer their 19th loss of the season. Southampton were stronger in transition, with City devoid of structure and unable to meet the intensity displayed by the visitors.
The Canaries best chance came through Teemu Pukki in the second half, but the Finn opted to cut back and squandered the opportunity.
City head coach Daniel Farke elected to match up Ralph Hassenhuttl, with the Canaries deploying a two-pronged strike force that saw Swiss international Josip Drmic partner Pukki up-front.
Alex Tettey was dropped to the bench, with Tom Trybull replacing the Norwegian in central midfield. Timm Klose captained City in his first start since New Year’s Day 2019 after a lengthy spell on the side-lines with a knee injury.
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Klose hasn’t started a league game for City since a 1-1 draw at Brentford in the Championship on January 1 2019, missing a month with a knee issue and then being limited to brief appearances as a substitute as City went on to win the title.
Former City winger Nathan Redmond returned for the visitors – with Danny Ings and Michael Obafemi leading the line. Angus Gunn was named on the bench, with Alex McCarthy preferred to the ex-Canaries keeper.
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The opening whistle saw both players take a knee in support with the Black Lives Matters campaign. All 22 players, coaching staff and referee displayed their solidarity with the campaign for equal rights.
It was City with the first major chance of the game after Emi Buendia’s whipped cross found Trybull unmarked at the back post. The German failed to control and shoot prior to Ings clearing his lines.
The Canaries dominated proceedings in the opening exchanges, with City displaying a willingness to press their opponents in possession. McLean’s effort from range dropped past McCarthy’s post early on.
City continued their search for an early goal. Buendia’s threaded pass found an overlapping Jamal Lewis on the left-hand side. His pass inside found Pukki, who helped the ball onto Drmic. His touch was poor, and Southampton’s defence recovered to deflect his effort over the bar.
In the ninth minute, Aarons challenged for a header to try and keep City’s attack alive but went down hurt and Saints countered. Todd Cantwell did well to chase back and help Lewis, who held up Redmond enough and eventually the midfielder stepped in to win the ball in the box. Ward-Prowse gets to a pass on the right before crossing, only for Tim Krul to hold a weak header from Stuart Armstrong.
Southampton assumed control of the fixture thereafter and came within inches of taking the lead after Ings’ shot crashed against the cross bar. Cantwell was dispossessed in the centre of the pitch by Jack Stephens, he drove at City’s defence before teeing up Ings, who could only hit the frame of the goal.
City found themselves behind within five minutes of the restart, after Godfrey’s clearance was recycled to Obafemi. The Irish international attempted to find Armstrong in the area, only for his pass to ricochet into the path of Ings who curled his strike into the top-corner of the net to put the Saints ahead.
Ings was proving difficult to contain for the Canaries, and moments later Hassenhuttl’s men extended their lead when Armstrong cut inside before unleashing a low drive past Krul. City were dispossessed and Southampton flooded forward, Redmond’s decoy run created space for the Scot, who converted from Ings’ pass.
City were looking beaten and increasingly sorry for themselves, but a Yan Valery slip nearly gifted them a route back into the game. Hernandez seized upon the loose pass before finding Buendia – his pass found Drmic, who cut it back for Pukki, only for the Finn to cut back and his shot was eventually deflected wide.
Saints dominance in the transition was proving costly, with City’s inability to offer protection to their defence fatal. It was Redmond this time who profited from Saints strength on the counter after Buendia was robbed in possession, and he cooly slotted into the net from Obafemi’s pass.
City youngster Josh Martin made his Premier League debut for the Canaries late on, but this was a performance that left plenty wanting - and confirmed the challenges Farke faces to keep the Canaries in the division.
- Norwich City (4-4-2): Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Klose (c), Lewis; Cantwell (Hernandez, 62), McLean, Trybull (Vrancic, 62), Buendia (Idah, 79); Drmic (Martin, 89), Pukki (Duda, 79). Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Rupp, Leitner, Tettey.
- Bookings: None
- Goals: None
- Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Valery (Walker-Peters, 90), Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Armstrong (Adams, 82), Ward-Prowse (c), Hojbjerg, Redmond (Boufal, 90); Ings (Tella, 88), Obafemi (Smallbone, 82). Subs not used: Gunn (GK), Vestergaard, Romeu, Walker-Peters, Danso.
- Bookings: Ings (foul on Buendia 74)
- Goals: Ings 50, Armstrong 55, Redmond 79
- Added on time: 2 mins/ 4 mins
- Referee: Kevin Friend
- VAR: Simon Hooper