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    Bournemouth v Norwich City: Can History Repeat Itself For Alex Neil?


    Alex Neil will never forget his first trip to Bournemouth, as he took the helm for the first time as Norwich City manager and came away with three points after a 2-1 victory. The Canaries went on an incredible run going unbeaten away from home for the rest of the season, helping Norwich to promotion alongside Bournemouth. 

    Almost exactly a year on and the teams meet again at Dean Court, this time in a crucial relegation clash in the Premier League. The hosts go into the match on a four game winless streak in the league since 19th December, after they claimed the scalps of West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Chelsea at the start of the festive month. Norwich had picked up a good run of form with three wins in four matches, until they were demolished by Manchester City in the FA Cup and beaten by Stoke City on Wednesday evening. 

    Norwich have an excellent recent record against Bournemouth, winning three and drawing three of their last six meetings, including a 3-1 victory back in September. The Canaries will also take faith in the fact that Bournemouth have only won a solitary game in their last seven matches at Dean Court.


    The Cherries have been quick out of the blocks this season, scoring more goals than any other team in the opening 15 minutes of matches. Norwich should not be fazed by that statistic though, as they have won their last two matches at Dean Court by a 2-1 scoreline, despite conceding first. Alex Neil would obviously be much happier if his side opened the scoring, particularly as Bournemouth have only picked up one point when going behind in matches, a Premier League low so far this season. Yet Norwich are the only top flight team not to have kept a clean sheet on their travels this season and they will need to be wary of long shots as Bournemouth have scored 26% of their goals from outside of the box, more than any other team.

    In a cruel twist of fate, Lewis Grabban is likely to feature against his former club despite only signing last week. New additions Juan Iturbe and Benik Afobe, who was heavily linked with Norwich, should also play a part. Tokelo Rantie, Joshua King and Matt Ritchie will all face fitness tests on Friday, whilst Tommy Elphick, Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilson remain long term absentees for Bournemouth. Norwich have no fresh injury concerns but will be without Gary O'Neil who serves the first match of his suspension after a straight red card against Stoke on Wednesday night.


    Key Players:
    Benik Afobe- Bournemouth's record signing at £10 million is one of just four current Premier League players to score more than 30 goals since the start of last season. 

    Nathan Redmond- criticised by some Norwich fans recently, the winger looked lively when he came on against Stoke and is still the Canaries top scorer this season with four goals.

    Chris Lincoln's Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Stoke City
    There is not much to choose between the two sides, as the league table shows with two points and one place between them, and both teams will be cautious not to lose such a crucial encounter. 
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    Item Reviewed: Bournemouth v Norwich City: Can History Repeat Itself For Alex Neil? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Chris Lincoln
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