Match week three from the Championship churns up a tie of Premier League pedigree. Bournemouth and Norwich City lock horns in the second division, having recently tumbled from the heights of English football’s hierarchy.
Both have begun life well back in their somewhat familiar setting, nestling in with a win and a draw from their first set of fixtures. Bournemouth has endured without Eddie Howe by defeating Blackburn Rovers and drawing with Middlesbrough under the new manager, Jason Tindall. Daniel Farke remains in charge of the Canaries, collecting three points versus Huddersfield whilst sharing a point apiece with Preston.
Understandably, the Cherries had several of their star assets cherry-picked by the powers above, the likes of Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, and Aaron Ramsdale all returning to the big time. Norwich meanwhile lost Jamal Lewis to Newcastle United, yet Farke has reinvested in his squad, a regret from their recent relegation. Bournemouth also has several individuals left who suffered the drop; therefore, fans will still be subjected to an array of talent on Sunday at the Vitality Stadium.
This tactical analysis will investigate the tactics deployed by Tindall and Farke, using analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their respective sides systems. It will view potential formations, where the tie could be won and lost, and whether they have adapted to the EFL from their previous EPL venture.
At first, Norwich was applauded for their reluctance to alter their philosophy in the face of any opponent. This gradually turned into criticism as they failed to pick up results and ultimately faced the ultimate punishment of demotion. With Farke still at the helm, the German remains resolute on keeping consistency, especially when formation and personnel are concerned.
In their 2-2 draw with Preston, the Canaries fielded the same starting eleven that opened the campaign away to Huddersfield.
Eight of these players were present on the final fixture of 2019/20, a 5-0 drubbing by Manchester City. Xavi Quintilla and Oliver Skipp were signed from Sevilla and Tottenham Hotspur on loan, whilst Kieran Dowell joined from Everton on a three-year deal. Farke will most likely trust these same individuals at Bournemouth in the 4-2-3-1 depicted above, a shape that was used on 33 occasions in the Premier League.
Tindall on the other hand has modified appropriately depending on the type of opponent the Cherries are facing. In the frantic win over Rovers, he opted for a solid 5-4-1, aware of Blackburn’s threat going forward, personified by the fact they conceded twice.
On the other hand, against Middlesbrough, Tindal switched gears with a 3-4-3. Aware of Boro’s more cautious but compact approach, he pushed Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks alongside Dominic Solanke to bolster the attack. Tindal only made two altercations, bringing in Brooks instead of Junior Stanislas for his creativity, and Dan Gosling over Lewis Cook for his combativeness. Expect Bournemouth to remain with the 3-4-3 in the face of Norwich’s leaky defence.
Teemu Pukki arrived at Carrow Road in 2018 as a well-traveled striker, residing in the Danish Super Liga with Brondby. Fireworks weren’t initially set off around the city upon his unveiling, yet the pyrotechnics were well worth the wait after he netted 29 league goals during his debut season, as Norwich were crowned champions.
Although these celebrations were short-lived, the Finish forward still managed 11 in the top flight, including the winner over Bournemouth back in January. He is already off the mark in 2020/21 and the sense is without his contributions, Norwich may suffer.
His work rate and anticipation often go underappreciated, which shouldn’t be the case considering it has been the source of goals and chances for the Canaries. On the opening day win over the Terries, Pukki showed dog-like determination to intercept a loose back pass to set up a simple tap in for substitute Adam Idah.
Preston ‘keeper Declan Rudd won’t have covered himself in glory after failing to smoother Pukki’s header, however, it was the movement to meet the cross that allowed him such purchase on the strike.
He almost bagged a brace after latching onto another hazardous pass that fell kindly into his lap, only for Rudd to partly redeem himself with the block.
It was his run in between Bournemouth’s backline that caused havoc at the back earlier this year, eventually leading to Steve Cook’s dismissal and Pukki’s penalty conversion.
Bournemouth will have to have their wits about with Pukki in attendance, unable to allow any sloppy mistakes facing their own goal or they will be punished. This being said, the 30-year-old does tend to shy away inside the six-yard box.
Highlighted against Huddersfield are the positions he failed to enter when Norwich was in a promising goalscoring opportunity, either from a ball across the box or the rebound from an initial shot.
Even in that 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, he was guilty of not attacking the area that causes so much uncertainty in defenses and perhaps should have doubled his tally on the day.
Whilst so much reliance rests on the shoulders of Pukki, Tindall has turned to a more collective effort in the wake of Wilson’s departure and Josh King’s absence through injury.
Twice against Blackburn the Cherries sent five or six players in attack, all willing and able to support the man in possession. The runners off the ball took the attention away from the man striking it, Jefferson Lerma and Stanislas beneficiaries by getting themselves onto the scoresheet.
Norwich may struggle to cope as Bournemouth bomb forward, especially as they are no strangers to springing rapid attacks. On this basis, the match could be a mouth-watering goal-fest.
This method will only go so far if Tindall does not improve on his team’s cover in front of his defenders. Too often, those expected to offer protection have been found wandering, offering vast amounts of space for opposition attackers to exploit.
Blackburn’s second was afforded because neither Cook nor Lerma was on duty to cut out the cross, allowing Adam Armstrong to pull off his marker and dispatch confidently.
The same can be ushered for Middlesbrough’s leveler. Granted, Paddy McNair’s delicious delivery was put on a plate for Marcus Browne, yet Bournemouth was left isolated man-for-man at the back whilst thee three ahead of them were marking thin air.
Norwich will know full well these deficiencies, witnessing them in the flesh both home and away last term. Although neither chances came to anything, the lack of fortification has to be a worry for Tindall, spaces that Todd Cantwell or Onel Hernandez may well drift into and look for a killer pass into Pukki.
Bournemouth versus Norwich as the making of a fast-paced, end to end contest full of goalmouth action. Neither has excelled defensively nor have they shied away at the business end of the field. Daniel Farke and Jason Tindal both have clear visions of how they want their sides to operate and the battle should be an intriguing one.