Jarrod Bowen steals the show as West Ham consign Norwich to sixth successive Premier League defeat

  • Bowen scored twice, had a goal ruled out by Var and hit the woodwork twice
  • Norwich were on the back foot throughout with West Ham well deserving of the win

If it is on goals and assists that forward players should be judged, then Jarrod Bowen could hardly be doing any more to earn the England call-up he so craves. Decisive contributions are fast becoming a weekly occurrence for the West Ham United winger, who seems to be improving with every game and once again made the difference in his team’s pursuit of Champions League football.

Three days after David Moyes tipped Bowen to one day become a fully-fledged England international, the 25-year-old struck another two goals to secure another victory for West Ham. Bowen’s brace took him to four goals and three assists in his past six matches, and confirmed the latest defeat for a Norwich City team which continues to head in one direction.

This loss was the sixth in a row in the Premier League for Dean Smith’s side, who had a few moments of promise but considerably more moments of panic. The scoreline would have been far more emphatic if West Ham had taken more of their chances, and the sad reality for Smith was that there was little to suggest his players were ever going to be capable of recovering from Bowen’s first-half opener.

By contrast, this was West Ham’s fourth win in a row. It took them back into the top four, which was a deserved reward for a performance of patience and control, and in Bowen they have one of the league’s most effective players at the moment. On another day he might well have scored four — alongside his two goals, he had another disallowed and twice struck the woodwork.

Norwich’s problems are not hard to identify: they do not score goals (they have not scored since November) and they give away a huge amount of chances. It is a draining state of affairs for all involved, even if Smith could point to injury and Covid problems as an explanation of sorts over the festive period.

His team here was closer to full-strength, although the visitors still played like a team without belief. Barely two minutes were on the clock when West Ham sliced through, with Manuel Lanzini finding Bowen in the penalty box. Only the quick reactions of Tim Krul, the Norwich goalkeeper, kept the score level.

The early opportunity for Bowen was a sign of things to come, with Lanzini having three efforts on his own in the opening half an hour. The third of those was perhaps the most presentable, running onto Aaron Cresswell’s rolling free-kick, but his effort was ballooned horribly into the stands behind Krul’s goal.

With two strikers up front and only two bodies in midfield, Norwich struggled to build any momentum in the first half aside from a brief spell in which Kenny McLean and Milot Rashica fired towards goal.

There was no denying that West Ham were the superior team, as one might expect given their respective places on the league table, and Moyes thought his side had the lead when Bowen’s cross curled all the way into the far corner. A late offside flag, against the loitering Nikola Vlasic, ripped the cheers from the throats of the home supporters.

It was clear to all concerned what was coming, though, and Bowen was not to be denied a third time. Vladimir Coufal’s cross dropped between two Norwich defenders, neither of whom tracked Bowen’s run, and the winger glanced a fine header beyond Krul.

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