Up to fourth go West Ham, with Jarrod Bowen looking like a player who can do no wrong. Bottom of the Premier League remain Norwich, who cannot do anything right.
You know you’re in trouble when your 6ft 1in centre back is being beaten by a 5ft 9in forward but we must credit Bowen for his movement. He nipped in front of Ben Gibson, who stood and watched as Vladimir Coufal’s cross was headed home. Bowen later tapped in for 2-0.
This took him to 16 goal involvements this season, eight scored and eight assisted. It is the most of any English player in the Premier League and he might have had more, too, had VAR not disallowed another and the woodwork deny him twice.
Jarrod Bowen scored a brace to lift West Ham into the top four via a 2-0 victory over Norwich
Bowen headed home Vladimir Coufal’s cross just before half-time to break the deadlock
The Hammers star then netted a second late on that was initially given offside until VAR gave it
Still, 16 is more than Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish put together. His manager, David Moyes, thinks he’s England material. Are you watching, Gareth Southgate?
For Norwich, this was a sixth straight Premier League defeat without scoring. They struggled to trouble a West Ham side missing several big names, including Tomas Soucek, due to Covid and injuries. Dean Smith knows they’re in danger of being left adrift.
Less than two minutes in, Tim Krul was needed to stop Bowen from handing West Ham an early lead. Nikola Vlasic’s pass inside was hit with pace but a fabulous first touch from the England hopeful saw him strike a shot with his favoured left foot, which Krul did well to deny.
David Moyes’ side are fourth in the Premier League while Bowen is close to an England call-up
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Fornals; Bowen, Lanzini, Vlasic (sub Masuaku 78); Antonio (sub Yarmolenko 88)
Sub not used: Areola (GK), Johnson, Kral, Okoflex, Alese, Ekwah, Ashby
Goals: Bowen 43 + 83
Manager: David Moyes
Norwich (4-4-2): Krul; Aarons, Gibson, Hanley, Williams; McLean, Lees-Melou; Placheta (sub Dowell 65), Idah (sub Lowe 75), Rashica (sub Tzolis 72); Pukki
Subs not used: Gunn (GK), Byram, Kabak, Sorensen, Giannoulis, Gibbs
Manager: Dean Smith
The next chance fell to Manuel Lanzini after some clever play down the left wing by Vlasic, the £25.7million Croatian attacking midfielder who is coming into his own. Lanzini scored a stunner at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day but this one was ballooned up and over.
West Ham might have had a penalty in the 25th minute when Krul fell backwards into his goal. The goalkeeper was up on his feet in a flash, barking at referee Simon Hooper and claiming Vlasic backed into him illegally from a corner. If anything, Krul was the aggressor and fortunate that VAR John Brooks didn’t advise Hooper to go check his pitch-side monitor for a potential penalty.
When Vladimir Coufal won a free-kick on the right flank, it was time to test a training ground move. Aaron Cresswell played a pass to the edge of the box where an unmarked Lanzini was waiting. The less said about his attempt the better, however, as it sailed into the stands.
West Ham had the ball in the net before half time when Bowen’s cross flew into Krul’s goal. There was no offside signal so the players celebrated with the supporters. Then, after a bizarre delay, the assistant’s flag was in the air.
VAR checked it and replays showed Vlasic, and possibly Issa Diop, were behind the Norwich back line. It didn’t look as if they got a touch but it was decided they did interfere.
Though disallowed, it lifted the atmosphere in the London Stadium, and there was nothing controversial about their next goal. Well, apart from the fact it was a header by one of the smallest players on the pitch. Cresswell overcooked a cross which Coufal collected. He sent the ball back into the box, where Bowen got ahead of Gibson to secure a 1-0 half-time lead.
Norwich’s Adam Idah (middle) hit the woodwork for Norwich in rare second-half attack
Michail Antonio should have made it 2-0 after turning Grant Hanley but couldn’t keep his effort down. Neither could Bowen when trying to chip Krul as he struck the crossbar. The 25-year-old went on to strike the near post after an hour.
Out of nowhere, in the 68th minute, Adam Idah seemed set to celebrate scoring a screamer. Lukasz Fabianski was alert, however, pushing Idah’s rocket on to the post with a strong hand.
West Ham were looking leggy and Moyes’s options on the bench included four academy kids. Not to worry, because Bowen completed the 2-0 scoreline by tapping in Arthur Masuaku’s cross, with VAR overturning the on-field offside decision.
Another win for West Ham, another defeat for Norwich.