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Preview: AFC Bournemouth vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews AFC Bournemouth's meeting with Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, including predictions, team news and predicted lineups.

Bournemouth welcome Norwich City to the Vitality Stadium this weekend with the visitors in desperate need of points.

The Canaries head into this game languishing in the relegation zone but will know that victory over Eddie Howe's side would represent a powerful psychological milestone for a side yet to win away from home this season.

Match preview

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson caps off the scoring against Brighton on April 13, 2019© Reuters

It can often be forgotten that Bournemouth's position of mid-table comfort represents one of the greatest achievements in modern Premier League history.

Having spent most of their existence in the third tier of English football, never to grace the top division in their history prior to 2015, this Bournemouth side under Howe now seems to be comfortable playing in the highest tier of English football.

In front of a small home crowd of just 11,300 fans, Bournemouth employ a remarkably disciplined, high-intensity 4-4-2 system which gives them a solid defensive structure along with the perfect platform from which to launch counter-attacking movements.

While 4-4-2 is often regarded as an arcane setup, Howe's application of the formation incorporates the basic tenets of what constitutes success in modern football - an example being how wingers Joshua King and Harry Wilson commonly end attacking movements down the centre to overload central defenders and create gaps.

It is this combination of a meticulously-planned attacking structure - boiled down to specific patterns and phases of the pitch - and a defence marshalled by the impressive Nathan Ake, who is surely the favourite to succeed Simon Francis as club captain, that makes trips to Bournemouth so difficult for teams struggling below them.

Teemu Pukki celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Norwich City and Manchester City on September 14, 2019© Reuters

If Bournemouth have been a largely predictable unit so far this season, Norwich must be viewed as the opposite, seemingly oscillating between startling success and abject failure.

Daniel Farke's side started this season by making headlines through striker Teemu Pukki, awarded 'Player of the Month' for scoring five goals in his opening three games, and a remarkable 3-2 win over Manchester City, becoming the first team to record a league win over the champions since January.

More recently, however, Norwich have lost three games in a row, scoring just once in this period - a consolation goal during a shock 5-1 drubbing at home to Aston Villa, leaving the East Anglia side in an ominous position after eight games.

In similar style to Howe, Farke has a clear tactical vision, always playing out from the back and methodically breaking through lines to create quick transitions into the final third, but at the moment it is producing mixed results.

Norwich's fate this season, therefore, will be determined by how loyally and effectively Farke's players commit to his ideals as the season progresses - even in the face of stinging defeats like the one they suffered last time out.

Recent Bournemouth form: LWWLDL
Recent Norwich City form: LLWLLL

Team News

David Brooks celebrates scoring for Bournemouth on April 13, 2019© Reuters

Howe has confirmed that exciting youngster David Brooks will not return until November, although the duo of Adam Smith and Ryan Gosling could be in line for returns this weekend.

Both Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas are definitely ruled out due to knee injuries which look set to keep the pair out of action until 2020.

Norwich started this season with something of an injury crisis and it has by no means abated, with a total of 13 players on the injury table.

However, there are a number who could return this weekend following the international break, with Tom Trybull, Mario Vrancic, Alexander Tettey, Tim Krul, Ralf Fahrmann, Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis, Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell all back in training.

Norwich will certainly be without Timm Klose, who could miss the whole season, along with Onel Hernandez, another player with a knee injury - albeit less serious.

They will also be without the experienced Grant Hanley, whose injury is still being assessed, as well as Christoph Zimmermann, ruled out until January.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Francis, Ake, Cook, Rico; Billing, Lerma, King, H. Wilson; C. Wilson, Solanke

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
McGovern; Aarons, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis; McLean, Leitner; Mayer, Stiepermann, Buendia; Pukki

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We say: AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Norwich City

It is somewhat impossible to gauge which Norwich side will turn up this weekend, whereas you get the impression that Bournemouth, in front of their own supporters, are certain to produce a performance packed with energy and total organisation.

Against a visiting side set up to play ambitiously, Bournemouth's players are likely to win the ball in some dangerous areas as the game goes on, giving the Cherries a platform from which to create good opportunities.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City?

AFC Bournemouth
Norwich City
AFC Bournemouth
Norwich City
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Jamal Lewis in action for Norwich City on September 21, 2019
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