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West Ham United
8 December 2012
• Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 20294
Michu 51', 90'+
J. de Guzmán 59'
S. Whittaker 16'
S. Bassong 40'
G. Holt 44'
R. Snodgrass 77'
And that'll be all from me, Sam Wells. Thanks for following the game with goal.com, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Until next time, take care and farewell.
Meanwhile, the home side will feel unfortunate that, despite garnering the lion's share of possession, they were unable to capitalise in turning their neat play into goals. They may also feel slightly aggrieved at the disallowed goal as Michu's contact on Bunn appeared minimal, and they will most certainly be aggrieved at their inability to defend set-pieces.
In the end though, Norwich's set-piece prowess was too much for the home side as, following Whittaker's opener, their three remaining goals all came from set pieces. Snodgrass's deliveries were excellent, resulting in goals from Bassong and Holt, and even one from himself as he curled home delightfully from a free-kick. They will be happy that they endured a strong comeback from the home side in the second half, and can perhaps feel a tad fortunate that the Shechter goal was disallowed. Nevertheless, their unbeaten run continues and Hughton will be delighted with his side.
And Howard Webb calls time on what has been a pulsating game between two in-form sides! Norwich will be delighted to take the spoils from a 7-goal thriller that could've gone either way.
90' + 4'
Shechter heads over after a quick attack from Swansea, it nestles on the roof of the net agonisingly.
90' + 2'
Assist Jonathan De Guzmán
90' + 2'
And it's Michu with another! The corner find its way back to de Guzman who puts in a delightful cross, with Michu heading home at the back post. Game back on perhaps?!
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Garrido concedes a corner after a rebound almost breaks into the path of the ever-lively Nathan Dyer. Surely it's too little too late for the home side though.
Another Swansea attack peters out and it looks as though Norwich have this game wrapped up - extending their unbeaten run to nine games.
Yellow Card Ángel Rangel
Norwich have the ball in Swansea's half and win a free-kick - a dangerous thing to do given Norwich's set pieces today. It looks like they'll see this one out easily enough.
After a lovely one-two with De Guzman, a long range effort from Chico flies just over the Norwich bar.
Swansea's endeavour continues as they have two shots blocked in quick succession. First, Dyer's volley is blocked by Bassong, Shechter's effort also suffering the same fate.
More lovely play from Swansea almost results in a goal as, following a Dyer through-ball, Michu swivels but puts the ball just wide from just inside the area. Unlucky for the home side there.
Another early ball from De Guzman finds its way to Michu but the ever-impressive striker runs out of pitch after bringing it down superbly. The striker's frustration tells as, despite another goal added to his tally, his side's unbeaten run looks set to come to an abrupt end.
Norwich almost work another opening as Pilkington works his way into the box, only for his cross to be deflected out for a corner. The corner eventually comes to nothing but the away side will be happy to keep it in the opposition's half.
It eventually comes to Nathan Dyer on the edge of the area but a fairly limp effort trickles wide - this game could be over.
But who knows in this rollercoaster of a game? Swansea have successive corners as they desperately look to work themselves back into this game.
Goal Robert Snodgrass
Goal! Snodgrass, who has been excellent from set pieces today, makes another one count as he whips the ball delightfully over the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner. Surely this is game over, despite an impressive effort from the home side.
Yellow Card Ashley Williams
After that contentious decision, the Swans continue to push forward but a counter from Norwich brings another contentious decision! A through-ball to Holt means that Williams is forced to bring down the striker - he is only booked despite appearing to be the last man. However, Holt was going away from goal so probably the right decision. A dangerous position here though with the free-kick imminent.
And there is confusion all around as Swansea have the ball in the back of the net! The corner was headed back in to the six-yard-box by Williams, Bunn went up for it with Michu and the striker won it, nodding it down for substitute Shechter. He turned it home but Webb deemed the jump by Michu unfair and the goal was ruled out, perhaps harshly.
And Swansea's pressure persists as they win a corner, De Guzman's dangerous ball in being blocked.
And Graham is duly replaced, he's worked hard today but has nothing to show for his efforts as Shechter replaces him - let's see if he can grab his first goal for the club.
After neat interplay from Swansea once more, Routledge finds Graham with an absolutely exquisite chipped through ball but the striker can't get it under control and Garrido intervenes just in front of his own goalkeeper. There are calls for a backpass and they may have a point - he essentially nudged it back to Bunn but nothing was given.
Swansea continue to probe on the edge of the away side's area; it's surely only a matter of time before another chance presents itself.
Chico gives away a typically ridiculous free-kick after a unfathomably high boot leads to a dangerous set-piece. Nothing comes of it as Holt heads into Tremmel's hands - and Swansea are away again.
Swansea continue to have a ridiculous amount of possession here; and they're actually turning it into chances this half. A Michu shot is blocked as their pressure refuses to subside.
Goal Jonathan De Guzmán
And Swansea's comeback continues in full throttle! A hopeful ball down the right-flank from Rangel gives Dyer the chance to run and he outpaces Garrido hopelessly, putting in a near-post cross. Routledge doesn't win it but the header drops down to De Guzman and, 10 yards out, the midfielder fires emphatically home. Game on!
Davies once again bombs down the left flank but his cross is just too high for the diminutive Routledge. If that was Michu then who knows? Swansea are really exerting some pressure here.
Norwich are continuing to drop deeper and Graham capitalises, a fine ball from Michu finding him in the area and the striker fires a decent effort goalwards. Bunn is more than equal to it though.
The home side are threatening more this half - that probing cross from Davies was the only thing missing from their first-half play. If they can continue to actually deliver a final ball after the patience of their build-up play, there's no reason why they shouldn't get back in this one.
Assist Ben Davies
Goal! And Swansea are handed a lifeline. After some nice play on the edge of the Norwich box, slightly reminiscent of their first-half performance (all patience and no penetration), the ball finds it way out to left-back Davies, who duly drives in a low cross. Who else but Michu is there to smartly convert home and the Swans are back in this one!
It looks unlikely as Norwich hit the bar already! After an abysmal clearance from Rangel, Snodgrass puts Johnson through with a lovely dink through and, with the outside of the left foot, he turns it exquisitely against the bar. Absolutely lovely play from the Canaries; that would've been a truly sublime goal.
We get underway once more here as the Swans kick off the second half - let's see if they can launch a remarkable comeback!
Swansea have actually had the lion's share of the possession - 61% - but their inability to turn that possession into chances is illustrated by another statistic: the two sides have both had seven efforts at goal but Norwich have had six on target, compared to the home side's paltry one. They need to find their way through Norwich's back-line if they have any hopes of getting back into this game - let's see if they can do so as we wait for the teams to return!
Meanwhile, the away side will be fairly demoralised after that half. Though the Canaries were the better side, it could've been entirely different had they turned that impressive spell after the Whittaker goal into chances and, more importantly, goals. Aside from the Danny Graham header, denied by the crossbar, chances have been few and far between as they have struggled to work chances against a resolute Norwich defence. Two goals in quick succession only exacerbates their problems and it looks like a long way back for Laudrup's side here.
And Webb blows for half-time here as the away side go in 3-0 up - they will be delighted with their first-half performance. After that excellent early strike from Whittaker, they remained strong despite a decent spell for the Swans and were rewarded for that defensive solidity as two set-pieces leaded to goals from Holt and Bassong. The second-half looks fairly routine for the Canaries if they maintain their level of performance.
45' + 1'
Ki eventually takes the free-kick and manages to curl it around the wall, but can only find Bunn's grateful arms. They really needed a goal there; it'll take a miraculous second half performance for the Swans to come back into this one.
Yellow Card Russell Martin
The first card of the day is produced as Michu is brought down by Martin. A very dangerous area to give away a free-kick here.
Assist Robert Snodgrass
Goal Grant Holt
Another Norwich city goal! And it's Grant Holt! Yet another set-piece gave away in a dangerous position on the right flank leads to an excellent delivery from Snodgrass. He whips it in and the targetman is found unmarked, he duly heads it home. An excellent set-piece but terribly defended by the home side.
Swansea continue to have a lot of possession after that goal but, as has been the problem for a lot of the game, they simply cannot turn that possession into chances.
Assist Grant Holt
Goal S. Bassong
And it leads to a goal! And it's Bassong once again! The initial free-kick is cleared but it finds it way to Holt on the left-wing. The big man whips it far post and the centre-back, still up for the set-piece, heads in powerfully at the near post. Tremmel will perhaps be disappointed but the Canaries' certainly won't be! 2-0 here and the Swans will have to respond to that.
This time, Flores does foul Hoolahan as the diminuitive midfielder turns the centre back. This is a dangerous area as Norwich look to whip in a deep cross.
Swansea once again begin to control possession - they seem unable to really create an opening once again though. Norwich are really compact and the Swans are struggling to find any real penetration.
Norwich relieve some of that pressure as they have their own little spell of possession. The ever-lively Hoolahan appeals for a penalty after Flores appears to bundle him over in the box. Maybe a bit hopeful but Norwich will be happy simply to exert some pressure for a while after that strong Swans spell.
A long-range Michu effort hits Wayne Routledge and it almost finds its way into the bottom corner! The deflected effort trickles just wide though as the home side continue to press.
Norwich are getting deeper and deeper and Swansea are pushing more and more. This pressure is relentless, can they make it tell?
Swansea are really running this game at the moment - after minutes of concerted pressure, a Rangel cross eventually finds a surging Michu run from deep, the talisman can only head wide though. They are threatening here though.
And Swansea finally work a proper opening! Nice interplay on the edge of the Norwich area leads to a De Guzman cross, Graham gets up brilliantly and slams his header goalwards - the crossbar denies him the equaliser but it's much better play from the home side.
Snodgrass runs at Davies and causes the young left-back problems once more - the goal having come down his side. He cuts into his left into the area after some nimble footwork but shoots straight at the Swans' goalkeeper.
Swansea's final ball continues to be lacking somewhat as they work a decent position on the right, only for Rangel to prove unable to find anyone in the Canaries' box.
Norwich are already being accused of wasting time by the Swansea fans - and Howard Webb it seems! The referee speaks to them as they dally over taking a free-kick.
De Guzman hits straight into the wall and Norwich almost break as a result - the Canaries' really do look impressive at the moment.
Another foul here though and Swansea are presented with an opportunity - thirty yards out and De Guzman seems to preparing for the shot.
Johnson fouls Dyer in the middle of the park as the game becomes a bit scrappy. That may actually be the first foul of the game though - a truly flowing first fifteen minutes.
High-tempo game here as both teams continue to press and harry, trying to prevent each other from playing football. Norwich will be delighted that they managed to capitalise on that early pressure; it'll be interesting to see how the Swans respond.
Assist Robert Snodgrass
Goal Steven Whittaker
And Norwich get the goal that their pressure deserves! They've been threatening for the past few minutes and it finally tells. After an excellent surging run from right-back Whittaker and a one-two with Snodgrass, he turns inside onto his left and slams it home at the near post. A really good goal from the defender!
And the possession almost leads to a goal - twice! First, an excellent long-range effort from Howson finds the post and second, when the rebound eventually found it's way to Garrido, the left back's cross is dropped by Tremmel and almost turned over his head by Snodgrass. The keeper just managed to get to it though and the danger was gone.
Norwich's pressing is impressive as they rush Swansea into a rare passing mistake - they have possession here.
Davies gets forward once again, De Guzman finding him with a raking crossfield pass. He lays it off to Graham who, with a neat turn, can only blaze over from the edge of the area. A decent effort and nice football from the home side.
Michu is already proving problematic for Norwich's defence as he plays between the lines, creating and probing constantly. He almost finds the left back Davies' surging run - an omen of things to come perhaps?
Norwich's turn to play some nice football but the neat interplay between the midfielders comes to nothing as Johnson overcooks his pass and it goes out for a goal-kick. Some good football being played here.
Swansea right-back Rangel puts in an early cross to Graham but the returning striker heads it harmlessly wide. It's been a lively start here.
After that early scare, The Swans have come into the game well, dominating possession with some neat passing.
And Norwich already have their first chance of the game! An early corner from Snodgrass is whipped in, Johnson getting the flick on but Tremmel turns away adeptly.
And we're underway! Norwich begin, kicking left to right.
Howard Webb is officiating today; he leads the players out now, meaning we're just minutes away from the commencement of what should be an enthralling encounter!
Meanwhile, the away side also make two changes from the team that defeated Sunderland 2-1 as Jonny Howson and Russell Martin come in for Alexander Tettey and Ryan Bennett respectively. It looks as though they will continue with the 4-2-3-1 that has served them so well over the past few weeks, with Howson replacing Tettey alongside Bradley Johnson in the midfield two, while Martin slots into the back four in Bennett's absence.
For the home side, there are two changes from the side that beat Arsenal 2-0 as Danny Graham and Wayne Routledge both return from injury, with Itay Schechter moving to the bench and Leon Britton absent from the squad altogether. Graham looks set to partner the on-form Michu upfront while Routledge will operate on the opposite wing from Nathan Dyer, with Ki Sung Yueng and Jonathan de Guzman continuing to orchestrate things from the centre of midfield.
Swansea: Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams (c), Davies; de Guzman, Ki, Dyer, Routledge; Michu, Graham. Subs: Cornell, Tiendalli, Monk, Agustien, Bartley, Shechter, Moore.
Norwich: Bunn; R. Martin, Whittaker, Bassong, Garrido; Johnson, Howson; Pilkington, Snodgrass, Hoolahan; Holt (c). Subs: Rudd, Jackson, Fox, Morison, E. Bennett, Barnett, Tierney.
And here come the line-ups for today's action...
With both sides on excellent form, it seems likely that we will witness a close encounter today. Swansea sit 7th, just three points off a Champions League berth, and come into this game off the back of an impressive 2-0 victory over Arsenal, which extended their unbeaten run to six games. Meanwhile, Norwich are on an even more impressive streak, having gone eight games unbeaten; a run that, following a terrible start, has pushed them to the brink of a top half position – they currently sit 12th but could move into the top half with a win today. Whichever team manages to extend their run, let's hope for an entertaining game!
Good afternoon and welcome to goal.com's live coverage of Swansea vs. Norwich, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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