Premier League roundup: Norwich add to Aston Villa’s woes
Crystal Palace and Swansea share the spoils as West Brom edge Newcastle
Norwich City’s Jonny Howson celebrates scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA
Norwich City 2 Aston Villa 0
Norwich strengthened their hopes of Premier League survival with a 2-0 defeat of struggling Aston Villa.
Their fifth league victory of the season, following goals from Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani, leaves them with a total of 20 points from their first 19 games, halfway to the tally usually required to avoid relegation.
Villa remain bottom of the table, with many fearing they are unlikely to leave it before the season concludes. Their only chance of survival appeared to be wasted when Remi Garde failed to inspire an instant improvement in results, and now the question surrounds how quickly their relegation will be confirmed.
Crystal Palace 0 Swansea City 0
Patrick Bamford wasted a golden chance to score his first Crystal Palace goal as the Eagles played out a frustrating goalless draw with Swansea.
Chelsea loan striker Bamford blasted straight at a grateful Lukasz Fabianski, spurning Palace’s finest chance to secure victory at Selhurst Park.
Swansea held firm for a draw that could prove vital in their continued Premier League survival fight, a second clean sheet after their 1-0 Boxing Day win over West Brom.
The ineffectual Marouane Chamakh was hauled off after a first half that elicited no chances for either side. Bamford at least worked several openings, but was left to rue the miss of the day.
West Brom 1 Newcastle 0
Karl Darlow’s debut disaster plunged Newcastle into further relegation trouble as West Brom triumphed at The Hawthorns.
The goalkeeper allowed Darren Fletcher’s header to squeeze past him on his Barclays Premier League debut to hand Albion a 1-0 win.
Darlow was only a late replacement for Rob Elliot after he was taken ill in the build up to the game and dropped to the bench.
Fabricio Coloccini cleared off the line from James Morrison while he and Paul Dummett hit the woodwork for the Magpies and Victor Anichebe struck the bar for the Baggies.
Defeat left the Magpies in the bottom three and two points from safety while Albion’s first win in six games moved them six points above the drop zone.
Saido Berahino started on the bench for the eighth straight game with Anichebe given his first Premier League start since May.
Boss Tony Pulis insisted pre-match Berahino was lucky to be a substitute and hinted at internal problems.