Jarrod Bowen steals the show as West Ham deliver Norwich to sixth straight 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 victory

IIf strikers are to be judged on goals and assists, then Jarrod Bowen could hardly do 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 has once again been the difference maker in his side’s Champions League pursuit.

Three days after David Moyes tipped Bowen to one day become a full England international, the 25-year-old scored two more goals to secure another victory for West Ham. Bowen’s brace took him to four goals and three assists in his last six appearances, and confirmed the latest loss for a Norwich City side that continue to head in one direction.

The loss was the sixth in a row in the Premier League for Dean Smith’s side, who had a few moments of promise but many more moments of panic. The scoreline would have been much more emphatic had West Ham taken more chances, and the sad reality for Smith was that there was no suggestion his players would be able to recover from Bowen’s opener in the first half.

On the other hand, it was West Ham’s fourth consecutive win. It got 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 most efficient players in the league right now. On another day he might well have scored four goals – alongside his two goals he had another disallowed and hit the woodwork twice.

Norwich’s problems aren’t hard to identify: they don’t score goals (they haven’t scored since November) and they give plenty of chances. It’s a grueling situation for everyone involved, although Smith could point to injuries and Covid issues as some kind of explanation over the festive period.

His side here were closer to full strength, although the visitors still played as a half-hearted side. Barely two minutes were on the clock when West Ham made the cut, Manuel Lanzini finding Bowen in the penalty area. Only the quick reactions of Tim Krul, the Norwich goalkeeper, kept the score level.

The first opportunity for Bowen was a sign of things to come, with Lanzini having three efforts of his own in the first half hour. The third of them was perhaps the most presentable, running from Aaron Cresswell’s rolling free-kick, but his effort was horribly bloated in the stands behind Krul’s goal.

With two forwards up front and just two bodies in midfield, Norwich struggled to build momentum in the first half, except for a brief spell in which Kenny McLean and Milot Rashica fired to the goal.

There was no denying that West Ham were the superior team, as you would expect given their respective places in the table, and Moyes thought his side had the lead when Bowen’s cross curled into the corner on further. A late offside flag, against drifter Nikola Vlasic, snatched cheers from the home fans.

What was to come was clear to all concerned, and Bowen was not to be denied a third time. Vladimir Coufal’s cross fell between two Norwich defenders, neither of whom followed Bowen’s run, and the winger peeked past Krul.

Kenneth T. Shippee