Premier League football finally returns to Carrow Road on Friday evening (6pm KO) as Norwich City host Southampton.
Last time we welcomed Saints to Norfolk, Alexander Tettey's goal made the difference in a 1-0 win for Alex Neil's Canaries.
Norwich City 1-0 Southampton
Wednesday, January 2 2016
How the game unfolded
The Canaries created the first chance of the game just after the ten minute-mark when Jonny Howson tried to catch an elusive stray ball, his shot just wide of the target.
It was straight back up the other end for Southampton, who forced Declan Rudd into making a save after James Ward-Prowse, set-up by current Ajax midfielder Dusan Tadic, had his shot on goal. Although on-target, unlike City’s first chance, it was textbook goalkeeping for Rudd who saw the ball straight at him.
Despite chance after chance for both teams, the game still lacked the reward of a goal. One of the Saints’ more notable chances came for ex-Southampton man and UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award winner Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutchman got on the end of a Ward-Prowse corner, spilling the effort wide with his header to end Southampton’s series of chances in the first-half.
Much to the joy of the Canaries’ supporters, the second-half was a lot more eventful, as well as playing into City’s hands nicely.
Tettey tried his luck from distance, striking the ball from 20 yards out in an attempt to beat Maarten Stekelenburg, the Norwegian midfielder’s shot lifting over the bar.
After continued efforts from both sides, Southampton saw the game become an uphill battle when Victor Wanyama was sent off for a second bookable offence. Just ten men remaining for the visitors, it was the prime opportunity for the Canaries to look for the lead.
It didn’t take long for that prophecy to come true either. Instant impact substitute Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe set Tettey up nicely on the inside of the 18-yard box, allowing the Norwegian midfielder to run onto the ball and sidefoot straight into the top-left corner past Stekelenburg.
Despite the visitor’s hard-work and domination of possession after this goal, they couldn’t find their way back into the game, leaving Alex Neil’s City taking all three points from the game.
Norwich City: Rudd, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Brady, Redmond (Odjidja-Ofoe, 63), Tettey, O’Neil, Hoolahan, Howson, Mbokani
What happened next?
The win was a warm-welcomed one, as City moved six points away from the bottom three 20 games into the season and just one point behind Southampton themselves.
It wasn’t meant to be, however, when a mix of top performances from relegation contenders and a lack of wins for City saw them fall back into the dreaded relegation zone in the last 18 games of the season, seeing them back to the Championship for the 2016-17 season.
The rest of the season was a lot kinder to Southampton, on the other hand. The Saints went on to have an impressive end of the season, going on to win 12 of their last 18 games. The Southampton side finished the season with 63 points, earning them a place in the Europa League group stage the following season.