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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
15 December 2012
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 26677
A. Pilkington 15'
W. Hoolahan 64'
S. Maloney 51'
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Thanks to a deserved win, Norwich City have propelled themselves into the top half of the table and are now 10 Premier League matches unbeaten. The hosts took the lead through Anthony Pilkington, but they were pegged back just after halftime thanks to a great strike from Shaun Maloney. Chris Hughton's side eventually got their winner after lots of pressure, as Wes Hoolahan headed in a Pilkington cross. All-in-all, Norwich were good value for their win and put the midweek defeat to Aston Villa well and truly behind them."
The Canaries record their fifth consecutive home victory in the Premier League, each by a single goal, to go ten league games unbeaten after an impressive performance that showed their mental strength and confidence in addition to their customary organisation. Anthony Pilkington gave the Canaries the lead early on in the game and his side only grew stronger over the course of the first half. Wigan opened the second half brightly, got an excellent equaliser through Shaun Maloney, and threatened to take control of the game, but Pilkington showed great technique to cross for the influential Wes Hoolahan to head in what became the winning goal. Although Sebastien Bassong was forced into an excellent sliding challenge to thwart Kone in stoppage time, the Canaries had resumed control of the match after they retook their lead. Wigan are now left with just four points from seven games and stay in the relegation zone heading towards Christmas.
90' + 6'
Elliott Bennet receives the ball on the left flank and holds the ball near the corner flag before the referee blows the full-time whistle.
90' + 5'
Arouna Kone attempts to create space for a shot with a run towards the right edge of the box, but fires wide.
90' + 4'
90' + 3'
Franco Di Santo flicks on a pass into the path of Arouna Kone who has an excellent chance to equalise running from the right edge of the box towards goal, but Bassong makes a spectacular last-ditch tackle to block the Ivorian's shot for a corner. Al-Habsi advances in an attempt to put pressure on the defence, but the Canaries clear.
90' + 2'
Jonny Howson outpaces Adrian Lopez on the left flank to reach Pilkington's pass, and the Spaniard appears injured.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Grant Holt is taken off with minutes remaining with what appears to be a hamstring strain, and is replaced by Steve Morison.
Norwich break quickly through Snodgrass and Howson after dispossessing Beausejour but Howson is unable to convert his opportunity.
Ronnie Stam turns neatly on the right flank before attempting to advance to the right byeline, but he is dispossessed.
Wigan are finding it difficult to get out of their own half, with Norwich midfielders Tettey, Johnson and Howson all showing their dedication to press their opponents and screen their defence.
Playmaker Wes Hoolahan set up the first goal and scored an excellent second, and is now taken off to an ovation for the more defensive-minded Jonny Howson.
Javier Garrido takes a free kick from the left flank, but Wigan clear comfortably.
Norwich continue to play on the front foot, pressing Wigan's players aggressively as soon as he Latics atempt to build an attack, and Michael Turner wins the ball from Di Santo with a firm challenge that leaves the Argentine on the floor. No free-kick is given however.
Bassong nearly scores an own goal after dangling his weaker right foot towards a Wigan cross from the left flank. He gives away a corner but Mark Bunn confidently claims the delivery.
Snodgrass' deep, inswinging delivery is met by centre-back Michael Turner at the back post, but his effort flies over the bar.
Maynor Figueroa hits a long ball to Kone but the Ivorian is short of support and cannot hold the ball up. Norwich work the ball forward quickly and Grant Holt wins another corner after good work down the right channel.
Al-Habsi makes another excellent save from Pilkington! Snodgrass' cross was cleared but fed back into Pilkington on the left side of the box, and the winger waited for the ball to bounce across him before hitting a fierce left foot shot across goal that the keeper did well to save.
Norwich are defending on the front foot with twenty minutes remaining, looking to control possession and continue to threaten the Latics' defence.
Franco Di Santo
Franco Di Santo appears off the bench in place of Mauro Boselli, whose influence has faded after he found himself on the end of a couple of chances in the first half.
Bradley Johnson's shot from the left edge of the box is tipped onto the post by Al-Habsi after good work on the edge of the box. The Canaries take a corner but the Latics' defence clears.
The goal has had a huge effect on the morale of the two sides and Norwich are taking control. Much of the last few minutes has been played in Wigan's half as the Latics look to have lost their confidence.
Assist Anthony Pilkington
Wes Hoolahan heads Norwich in front! Javier Garrido had advanced out of defence before finding Anthony Pilkington on the left byeline after his run down the left channel. Pilkington demonstrated neat footwork under pressure from two defenders before aiming an excellent delivery towards Hoolahan, who ghosted in between two markers to head past Al-Habsi at the near post.
Goal Wesley Hoolahan
David Jones concedes a free-kick on Wes Hoolahan and after Wigan clear amid suggestions of handball by Beausejour, Snodgrass puts the ball back into the box and Holt volleys acrobatically wide.
Shaun Maloney arrows in an out-swinging cross from deep on the right flank and Arouna Kone is just unable to connect with the delivery. The Latics are looking much stronger following the introduction of Jones and Maloney.
Ronnie Stam's cross towards the near post is gathered by Mark Bunn under pressure from Shaun Maloney.
Norwich are trying to press their opponents but Alex Tettey succeeds only in conceding a freekick on the left flank. David Jones takes the kick and passes short to Maynor Figueroa, whose shot from distance is saved comfortably by Mark Bunn.
Yellow Card S. Bassong
Sebastien Bassong attempts to dribble out from the back but loses control of the ball and is dispossessed by James McArthur. The centre-back is given a yellow card after fouling his opponent as he attempted to atone for his error.
Steven Whittaker attempts to win the ball from Beausejour with a sliding challenge on the left flank, but concedes a freekick for his trouble and the Latics continue to pass the ball calmly along their back line.
Assist Arouna Kone
Goal Shaun Maloney
Shaun Maloney levels with an excellent strike! The Scottish international clipped the ball towards Arouna Kone down the left edge of the box, and after good hold-up play from the Ivorian waited on the edge of the box to receive the ball in space back again. He then struck the ball first time and his effort arrowed into the right edge of the goal well beyond the reach of keeper Mark Bunn.
Wigan win a freekick on the left edge of the box but Shaun Maloney blasts the ball humiliatingly far over the bar.
The referee gets the game away and Grant Holt almost extends his side's lead straight away after running into the right channel and forcing Al-Habsi to tip his well struck shot wide for a corner. The goalkeeper flaps at the delivery but gets sufficient contact to clear.
Roberto Martinez makes two changes, bringing on midfielder David Jones for James McCarthy who looked to have suffered an ankle injury in the first half, and replacing attacker Jordi Gomez with Shaun Maloney.
Norwich go into half-time with a deserved 1-0 lead after growing increasingly confident throughout the first half against Wigan, as the two sides' form has been reflected in their respective performances. The Canaries began the first half slowly and cautiously as they contained their opponents, as though assessing their strengths, before good work from Wes Hoolahan fed Anthony Pilkington who put his side ahead with a confident finish. Wigan have contributed going forward, with Mauro Boselli and Arouna Kone impressing when given the chance, but the Norwich defence have looked solid and unlikely to be breached. In contrast the Latics defence have looked shaky, with Grant Holt unsettling the unfamiliar centre-back trio and Ali Al-Habsi dangerously flapping at a cross before making an excellent save after Javier Garrido had crossed for Robert Snodgrass to head at goal. The Canaries look like they might go ten Premier League games unbeaten, but Roberto Martinez could look to change things with Franco Di Santo on the bench and James McCarthy having been struggling with an injury following a heavy challenge from Bradley Johnson.
45' + 3'
The referee blows the whistle on the first half at Carrow Road.
45' + 1'
Norwich exchange passes in the centre of the pitch before working the ball wide to Snodgrass, whose cross to Holt is overhit and brought under control by the Latics defence.
Mark Bunn dropkicks the ball long to Holt, but Al-Habsi advances to claim the ball.
Norwich are putting Wigan under pressure as the half draws to a close, as the Latics appear to lack confidence.
Boselli heads from the edge of the box into the arms of Mark Bunn after good work on the edge of the box from Arouna Kone and Jordi Gomez.
Yellow Card Adrain Lopez
Adrian Lopez is booked for a foul on Grant Holt. The big target man is unsettling the Latics' makeshift back line.
James McCarthy looks to be struggling with an ankle injury after Johnson's earlier challenge, but continues.
Excellent save from Al-Habsi! Javier Garrido combines with his teammates on the left edge of the box to reach the byeline and float a cross to Snodgrass at the far post. The Scotland international heads back across goal and Al-Habsi sticks out his right hand in a spectacular reflex save to keep his side in the match.
Jean Beausejour gets to the left byeline and aims a cross towards Kone in the middle of the box, but the Ivorian heads wide.
Snodgrass gets to the byeline on his right foot and hits a cross along the face of the goal, but Al-Habsi is unable to get a solid hand to it and the ball reaches Pilkington at the back post, but the winger fires wide of the far post. It's a big let-off for the goalkeeper.
Boselli receives a through ball from Kone inside the box and controls it expertly, but the forward is called offside.
Bradley Johnson finds Grant Holt running into the left channel with a long ball out of defence. The Canaries quickly get players forward in support and Holt passes to Tettey, who passes to Hoolahan, but the Irishman's cross is cleared.
Yellow Card Anthony Pilkington
Anthony Pilkington is booked for diving, slightly unfortunately many will feel, after falling down on the left edge of the box under Adrian Lopez' challenge.
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot from the edge of the box which Ali Al-Habsi saves.
James McArthur impresses in the centre of the park to draw defenders towards him before exchanging passes with Arouna Kone, who holds the ball up and returns the pass to McArthur, who takes a shot which keeper Mark Bunn spills. The keeper gets hold of the ball just in time before Mauro Boselli gets a foot to it to finish the opportunity.
Yellow Card Bradley Johnson
James McCarthy is taken off the pitch to receive treatment after a heavy challenge from Bradley Johnson.
Assist Wesley Hoolahan
Goal Anthony Pilkington
Wes Hoolahan looks to have given the ball away to Emmerson Boyce outside the edge of the box but wins the ball back again promptly and slides the ball to Anthony Pilkington on inside the left edge of the box. The winger smashes the ball with his left foot towards goal and Al-Habsi is unable to stop the effort giving the Canaries the lead.
Inswinging corner taken by Jean Beausejour from the right by-line. Shot from deep inside the area by Jordi Gomez clears the crossbar.
Wigan pass the ball calmly along their back four before Maynor Figueroa evades Robert Snodgrass pressing him and finds Jordi Gomez on the edge of the box. The Spaniard found Ronnie Stam on the right flank whose cross is blocked for a corner. Grant Holt misses the ball and Mauro Boselli running in at the near post also mis-judges the flight of the ball and the opportunity is wasted.
Alex Tettey picks up the ball in space on the right edge of the box and shoots wide of the left post.
Unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Adrian Lopez results in a free kick on the left flank. Anthony Pilkington crosses and James McCarthy clears.
The referee gets the game underway at Carrow Road!
Wigan have not so many changes from their draw with QPR last weekend. Maynor Figueroa returns from suspension in place of David Jones, and Franco Di Santo is named on the bench as Argentine striker Mauro Boselli starts. Jordi Gomez starts ahead of Shaun Maloney in a playmaking role.
After the midweek defeat to Aston Villa, Norwich have made five changes for the visit of Wigan. At the back centre-back Leon Barnett, left back Marc Tierney and Russell Martin are replaced by Michael Turner, Javier Garrido and Steven Whittaker respectively, while midfielder Jonny Howson and striker Steve Morison drop out for Alex Tettey and playmaker Wes Hoolahan as Chris Hughton reverts to his side's regular 4-4-1-1 shape.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Good afternoon from Carrow Road where two contrasting sides in terms of form go head-to-head today. Wigan Athletic are the visitors this weekend and they come into this match on the back of just three wins from their last ten matches and sit in the relegation zone with 15 points. Norwich, on the other hand, come into the match on a good run of form despite a 4-1 humbling against Aston Villa here on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup, with the defeat being their first loss in ten matches in all competitions at the time. Regardless of that defeat, the Canaries still have not lost any of their last nine Premier League matches, with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United both leaving here with no points. They will be desperate to eradicate that defeat against Paul Lambert’s side, and there are few fixtures they would have handpicked ahead of Wigan at home with the view to getting back on track."
Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Lopez, Figueroa; Stam, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Gomez, Boselli, Kone. Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Di Santo, Maloney, McManaman, Fyvie, Golobart.
Norwich: Bunn; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan; Holt. Subs: Rudd, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Morison, Elliott Bennett, Barnett.
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary as Norwich take on Wigan at Carrow Road. I'm @arthurvirgo and you can make your voice heard on Twitter @GoalUK
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