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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
9 February 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 26816
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Full-time at Carrow Road and a goalless draw is probably a fair result as neither side created anywhere near enough clear-cut opportunities to claim three points. Luciano Becchio will be disappointed he could not have done better with any of his chances, while Hugo Rodallega and Co. for Fulham had even fewer opportunities. Norwich's winless run continues as it approaches the two-month mark."
A draw was a fair result for today's encounter, and each side can now claim a point. Both sides demonstrated caution in possession as they looked to avoid defeat, but equally a good performance from each set of defenders helped produce the 0-0 draw today at Carrow Road. Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan impressed with their approach play, but Brede Hangeland was dominant in the air today, and debutant striker Luciano Becchio was restricted to one chance with his shot after five minutes saved by Mark Schwarzer. Fulham's threat mostly came through Dimitar Berbatov, but Sebastien Bassong and Michael Turner were quick to react and avert any danger. Stanislav Manolev and Emmanuel Frimpong each enjoyed an uneventful debut at their new club, while substitutes Urby Emanuelson and Kei Kamara enjoyed promising cameos. Both sides will need to collect more wins in order to avoid descending into a relegation scrap, but each team looked well organised and deserving of a point today.
90' + 4'
Manolev concedes a free-kick on Norwich's left flank and Garrido delivers into a packed penalty box, but Fulham clear and the referee blows the final whistle.
90' + 3'
Fulham win a throw-in and commit some more players forward in attack once they win a corner. Duff takes the delivery but it flies over Berbatov and out for a Norwich throw-in.
90' + 2'
Substitute Ashkan Dejagah wins a free kick near the right corner flag, but Duff's cross is cleared by the Canaries, who have their whole team back defending.
90' + 1'
Several Fulham defenders help clear the corner, but Norwich can put the ball back into the box and Jackson's speculative effort was deflected into the path of Kamara, who almost put his side ahead but Schwarzer managed to advance off his line to block and won a free kick in the process.
Manolev, Berbatov and Ruiz combine on the right edge of the box but Tettey eventually wins the ball and Kamara immediately drives his side up the pitch and helps win a corner.
Mark Bunn catches Mladen Petric's cross from the right flank and looks to launch a quick attack, as Norwich attempt to find a winning goal.
Yellow Card Stanislav Manolev
Substitute Kei Kamara jumps high on the edge of the box to meet a deep free kick from Garrido but his header flies well over the bar.
Bradley Johnson meets a bouncing ball on the edge of the box with a cultured strike with the outside of his left boot that flies narrowly wide of the right post.
Garrido advances forward and crosses into the heart of the penalty area but Snodgrass is unable to connect properly with a header.
Hangeland, who has been excellent so far and dominated aerially at every opportunity, shows his composure by passing the ball out of defence and calming his side following a spell of Norwich pressure.
Hoolahan receives a knock-down from Becchio and lays off for Simeon Jackson, who appeared in place of Elliott Bennett in Chris Hughton's move towards a 4-4-2. Jackson's weak shot does not threaten Schwarzer and is easily gathered up.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "The quiet Luciano Becchio does well to hold off both Brede Hangeland and Steve Sidwell before going down and winning a free kick. The hosts look more likely to grabbed the first goal here, but now that Hugo Rodallega has been replaced by Mladen Petric, Fulham can consider themselves as back up to 11 players. The Colombian was very poor."
Snodgrass spreads the play out to the left flank but Manolev repels the threat of the overlapping Garrido.
Striker Rodallega makes his way for Mladen Petric, who scored mid-week for Croatia at Craven Cottage. Petric also scored twice on his Premier League debut in the opening day's 5-0 win over Norwich, and the Canaries will not want to see him again.
Snodgrass lays the ball off to Martin but overhits his pass and it goes out for a throw-in.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Very little to talk about in terms of goal-scoring chances here at Carrow Road. The hosts were the better side before half-time, but since it has been very even, with the main battle being fought in the midfield."
Snodgrass receives the ball on the edge of the area and shoots at goal, but Schwarzer makes the save.
Berbatov gives the ball away on the edge of the Norwich box and Snodgrass carries the ball up the pitch on the counter-attack. After beating one defender his run is finally stopped by Senderos.
The game has opened up considerably as each side have committed more players forward in search of a winning goal. Both sides are looking to counter-attack and the game is becoming stretched in the middle of the park.
Snodgrass wins a throw-in but appeals for a foul having felt that he was fouled near the corner-flag.
Emanuelson's first act of the game is to skip away from his marker and find Riise on the left flank. Riise passes to Duff in the box who lays off to Ruiz on the edge of the box, but the Costa Rica international's shot is blasted well over the bar.
Berbatov receives the ball on the right edge of the box after breaking following a Norwich attack, but his cross is overhit and in any case Norwich had players in the box having recovered quickly.
The more creative Urby Emanuelson, on loan from AC Milan, comes on in place of Emmanuel Frimpong.
Snodgrass' corner is headed away but put back into the box by Bassong and eventually out for another corner. Hangeland heads away but Bennett slams the ball back in with a powerful volley that is blocked by Sidwell. Snodgrass is quick to react and receives the ball but appeals to the referee for a foul when he is dispossessed.
Russell Martin receives the ball down the right flank on the overlap and his cross is blocked for a corner.
Berbatov complains after a through ball aimed in his direction is over-hit.
Fulham have reduced their intensity and Norwich are getting their way back into the game. Just as Hoolahan demonstrates his confidence by trying to trick his way through the Fulham half, Rodallega wins the ball off him and Hoolahan fouls him.
Yellow Card Robert Snodgrass
Snodgrass opts for power but smashes his kick into the wall and after the ball finds its way back to him he dwells in possession too long and Sidwell wins the ball. Snodgrass fouls him as he attempts to break away and incurs a yellow card.
Snodgrass advances up the right flank and passes inside before passing to Bennett, who Frimpong fouls for a Norwich free-kick outside the edge of the box. Snodgrass is very dangerous from this range.
Hangeland advances forward to receive a return pass from Berbatov and as his pass is blocked Ruiz smashes a powerful volley from the edge of the box which Bassong blocks. The defender receives treatment after taking a nasty hit in the throat area with that block, but returns promptly.
Tettey breaks down the right flank but his cross finds its way harmlessly into the arms of Schwarzer.
Riise advances forward from left-back and is found by Duff before hitting a powerful cross towards Berbatov's darting run towards the near post, but the Bulgarian is unable to connect.
Ruiz, who has been drifting infield from his nominal role on the right of midfield allowing Manolev forward from right-back, finds Rodallega with a searching ball as the Columbian looks to receive the ball in the channel. Martin Jol appears to have relaxed the restraints on his side in search of more attacking threat.
Steve Sidwell takes an impressive swerving shot from the left edge of the penalty area towards the bottom left corner and forces Mark Bunn into a diving save. The Cottagers have made a very strong start so far.
The referee gets the second half underway at Carrow Road. Fulham make a bright start as Berbatov slips Rodallega in behind the Norwich defence with a neat football. The Columbian striker appeals for a handball after Michael Turner slides in to block his first-time shot, but is unsuccessful.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Howard Webb blows his whistle for half-time at Carrow Road, putting an end to a drab first half. Norwich have looked the more likely to break the deadlock, but none of their chances have been particularly clear-cut, with Luciano Becchio heading wide on a number of occasions. Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Hoolahan have stood out, but all-in-all it was a pretty dire first 45 minutes."
Though Fulham have had slightly more of the ball, much of their possession has been in their own half and they have recorded no chances of note. Norwich have focused on defending in numbers and on the transitions when the Cottagers concede possession, and their strategy has resulted in the clearest opportunity of the game so far when debutant striker Luciano Becchio forced a save from Mark Schwarzer, while Robert Snodgrass has frequently attacked to good effect down the right flank and won a string of free-kicks. Norwich will likely wish to maintain their strategy in the second half, but Fulham may wish to introduce more pace or creativity in the second half, having appeared over-reliant on Dimitar Berbatov in his role in front of defensive double-pivot Steve Sidwell and Emmanuel Frimpong in midfield.
45' + 4'
The referee blows the half-time whistle to end an uneventful first half.
45' + 3'
Snodgrass somehow retains the ball under heavy pressure on the right flank and lays the ball off to Hoolahan who clips a cross to Becchio, who heads well wide under heavy pressure from Senderos.
45' + 2'
Sidwell is quick to press Becchio when he attempts to receive the ball from right-back Martin, and wins a free-kick when the striker pulls his shirt.
45' + 1'
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Norwich have generally been the better side so far, but chances have been very infrequent in this first half. However, Fulham invite pressure on to themselves as they lose possession in the midfield and Norwich work the ball out to Robert Snodgrass. The winger is quick to cross and Luciano Becchio gets his head to it, but the Argentine nods the ball wide."
Ruiz's corner is disappointing and Frimpong sums up a scrappy first half when he attempts a volley but does not connect properly with the ball.
Berbatov launches a Fulham attack down the right flank on his own, and puts in a deep cross that Norwich put out for a corner to be taken by Ruiz.
Fulham attempt to build an attack but several of their passes go astray, and the move finally breaks down when Bryan Ruiz's poor cross is blocked.
Fulham lose possession on the half-way line and Norwich look to attack quickly on the transition. The Canaries work the ball to Russell Martin on the right-flank who puts in a dangerous cross, but Fulham right-back Stanislav Manolev wins the aerial duel with Becchio to head the ball away.
Yellow Card Elliott Bennett
Snodgrass' free-kick is headed away at the near post but culminates in Bradley Johnson's powerful shot from outside the box is blocked by Sidwell and Elliott Bennett cynically fouls Rodallega as Fulham look to break, receiving a yellow card.
Yellow Card Emmanuel Frimpong
Frimpong fouls Snodgrass as the winger speeds past him on the right flank and wins a free-kick.
Berbatov receives Steve Sidwell's long pass with a sublime control and chips the ball over the defence for Hugo Rodallega to run onto, but Sebastien Bassong recovers and puts the ball out for a corner, which Fulham waste in all honesty taking short.
Norwich win a free-kick by the right corner flag and as Snodgrass prepares to take the free-kick there is considerable jostling in the box, but Schwarzer manages to catch the delivery.
Elliott Bennett pressures right-back Manolev but concedes a free-kick.
Berbatov shows good skill to control the ball and switch play to the other wing but Damien Duff's pass to Riise almost forces the ball out of play for a throw-in. It looks like Fulham are more committed to building moves from the back so far while Norwich will look to attack quickly when their opponents' moves break down.
The referee awards a free-kick to Norwich inside the Fulham half after Philippe Senderos pushes Becchio in the back in an aerial challenge. Norwich hang on to the ball following the free-kick and eventually Bradley Johnson delivers a cross towards Russell Martin but the defender heads wide.
Emmanuel Frimpong is dispossessed by Hoolahan and the Canaries promptly move up the pitch and keep the ball in the Fulham half, while the Cottagers drop very deep. The move breaks down when Russell Martin is unable to reach a pass aimed towards him down the right flank.
Brede Hangeland neatly holds off Hoolahan before aiming a ranging pass up field, but his teammate is unable to control the ball and concedes possession to Norwich. The game is progressing at a slow tempo at the moment, with each side exercising caution as Fulham look content to hang on to the ball rather than attack directly.
Berbatov spreads the play with an excellent long ball to left-back John Arne Riise who wins a throw-in and looks to continue the attack. Norwich have opened the half more committed to organised defending than to attack however.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "The hosts are in control here at the moment, and Wes Hoolahan is looking in the mood. The diminutive midfielder turns away from Steve Sidwell on the halfway line marvellously before he slides a ball through to Alex Tettey on his right. The Norwegian hits the ball into the area but it is eventually cleared before Hoolahan has a tame attempt of his own."
Fulham had looked to break quickly after repelling Norwich's attack but the move breaks down and the Cottagers resume passing the ball between themselves in their own half.
Wes Hoolahan is at the centre of a neat Norwich attack as the playmaker runs forward on the edge of the box after Fulham lose possession and finds Alex Tettey overlapping on the right flank. Tettey's low cross is cleared but Fulham will want to be careful.
Fulham's debutant at right-back Stanislav Manolev concedes a throw-in, from which left-back Garrido aims a deep cross into the Fulham box which Schwarzer claims.
Bryan Ruiz rolls a pass in from the left flank to Hugo Rodallega in the Canaries half but his flick goes astray. Fulham win back possession but their move eventually breaks down.
Berbatov has come back on the pitch for Fulham and the Cottagers enjoy a confident spell of possession in the Canaries half. Berbatov runs into the right channel and crosses deep into the box but Norwich have plenty of players back and eventually clear.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Norwich are looking to make the most of their momentary numerical advantage as they pressure their visitors. Javier Garrido and Wes Hoolahan link up well down the left and the Irishman plays in a pin-point pass for Luciano Becchio, but the new signing's shot on the stretch is saved well by Mark Schwarzer."
Elliott Bennett, on the left this week, combines brilliantly with Javier Garrido to pass through to the left-back on the left edge of the box. Garrido finds Luciano Becchio on the edge of the six-yard box and the striker's firm shot forces Mark Schwarzer to dive low to his left to make the save. It's the Argentine ex-Leeds striker Becchio's first start and that was an excellent way to begin the match.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "We are barely three minutes in at Carrow Road and we already have our first irritating stoppage. Dimitar Berbatov sought treatment after getting kicked in the face by Bradley Johnson. The forward has disappeared down the tunnel, presumably to get stitches."
Dimitar Berbatov complains to the referee after a hit to the face forces him off to receive treatment to stem the flow of blood from his nose.
And the referee gets the game underway at Carrow Road. Robert Snodgrass cuts inside on the left wing to cross towards winger Elliott Bennett at the back post in a bright start for the Canaries.
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Fulham narrowly lost 1-0 to Manchester United last weekend and Martin Jol has made four changes from that side. Stanislav Manolev and Emmanuel Frimpong make their Fulham debuts as the doubtful Dimitar Berbatov and Steve Sidwell also come back into the side. Sascha Riether and Chris Baird miss drop out through illness while Giorgios Karagounis and Ashkan Dejagah also miss out."
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Chris Hughton has made just the two changes from the draw at QPR last time out with Luciano Becchio making his first Premier League start since his move from Leeds, and Elliott Bennett taking position on the flank. The injured Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington make way for the duo. January signings Lee Camp and Kei Kamara both take places on the bench."
Ryan Benson at Carrow Road: "Greetings from Carrow Road where Fulham will face home side Norwich City this afternoon. Neither side comes into this clash in particularly good form as the hosts have not managed to win in the Premier League since December 15, while Martin Jol's side have lost five of their previous nine league matches. However, for what it's worth, history suggests a favourable result for the visitors as they have won six and drawn one of the last seven meetings with Norwich."
Fulham: Schwarzer; Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Ruiz, Frimpong, Sidwell, Duff; Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs: Etheridge, Hughes, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Emanuelson, Dejagah, Petric
Norwich City: Bunn; R.Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Tettey, Johnson; Snodgrass, Hoolahan, E. Bennett; Becchio. Subs: Camp; Whittaker, Howson, Jackson, Surman, Kamara, Tierney.
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of Norwich v Fulham at Carrow Road. I'm @arthurvirgo here to talk through the events.
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