Contrasting summers followed relegation from the Premier League for these two teams.
Bournemouth saw a long-serving manager depart, replaced by his assistant and prominent players such as Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson sold to cushion the financial blow. No replacements have been brought in.
Norwich kept faith in Daniel Farke and managed to keep most of their Premier League squad together. Useful looking reinforcements have been signed.
Arnaut Danjuma scored the winner for Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon against Norwich
The Nigerian scored superbly from 25 years, smashing into the bottom corner 35 minutes in
Norwich are no longer unbeaten in the Championship and will need to improve to rise back up
They were even in a position to turn down the advances of Barcelona for their mercurial right-back Max Aarons. AC Milan and Bayern Munich are among other members of the European elite linked with a player now nicknamed ‘Dani Alves’ on the training ground.
And yet despite all those differences, it was Bournemouth who took the three points. Such are the vagaries of life back in the Championship.
Arnaut Danjuma, a player who flitted in and out of Eddie Howe’s team last season as he struggled with serious injury, proved their match-winner with a goal of genuine class.
The Holland international received a pass from Jefferson Lerma on the periphery of the Norwich penalty area. He produced a silky backheel that completely wrong-footed Christoph Zimmermann, opening up enough space to sweep a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Bournemouth have started the season well since losing club icon Eddie Howe this sumer
Norwich rallied strongly after half-time and created more but Bournemouth proved they are resolute enough to cope with this division. Captain Steve Cook seemed to head away absolutely everything that came into the Cherries’ penalty area.
It was enough to preserve their unbeaten league start while ending Norwich’s.
But it’s early days yet and both clubs will surely feature in the promotion shake-up come the Spring. Such is the rat-a-tat-tat pace of the Championship, the odd defeat doesn’t linger too long in the memory. Over 46 games, you’re bound to lose a few.
The only negative from a Bournemouth perspective was David Brooks reporting feverish symptoms that kept him out the matchday squad. As you’d expect, he has been tested for Covid-19 with results pending.
The Canaries dominated possession and largely matched the hosts but couldn’t find a goal
‘It was really important we got off to a good start as we were down after relegation,’ said Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall. ‘To beat one of our rivals gives us a huge lift.
‘And if we keep clean sheets, we will win a lot of games. We limited a very good attacking side in Norwich to few chances.’
Norwich boss Daniel Farke said: ‘They had this one moment of cutting edge quality. I spoke a lot about Danjuma to make sure his quality doesn’t shine as he is on fire at the moment and he proved me right.
‘We showed a great reaction in the second half. Just one team was playing and the other was trying to survive.’
Most of the first-half was played out as though the hangover from relegation was still slowing down bodies. The crackle of supposed promotion favourites was absent.
Josh King is one of the players Bournemouth have managed to hold onto so far this summer
Dominic Solanke finally snapped the game into life with a sharp shot that Tim Krul did well to beat away. Down the other end, the lively Onel Hernandez drifted in from the right and struck a powerful effort that Asmir Begovic turned aside.
Early blows exchanged, both teams lost their momentum as quickly as it came and the empty Vitality Stadium echoed with shouts of player frustration.
Not least from Krul, who yelled at his defenders to get closer to Bournemouth’s attackers numerous times before Philip Billing chipped in a cross that was met by Jack Stacey. Krul saved the header but didn’t look amused afterwards.
And it was a warning that Norwich didn’t heed with Danjuma scoring four minutes later.
Daniel Farke needs to start bringing in results for Norwich to bounce-back into the top-flight
‘It was a lovely goal from Arnie. He can produce that bit of magic from nothing, we have seen it several times this season and we’re delighted with him,’ said Tindall.
On the stroke of half-time, Begovic saved well from Lukas Rupp’s hit from the edge of the box after Teemu Pukki cut the ball back.
The second-half saw Norwich camped inside Bournemouth’s half. Aarons had been quiet but suddenly had impact. He went down in the box under pressure from Adam Smith but appeals were waved away. A later penalty shout for handball had the same outcome. No VAR in the Championship.
‘We were blaming VAR a lot last season but now you want it back,’ admitted Farke.
Solanke should have put the game to bed but missed a free header from Danjuma’s cross but Norwich lacked the clinical touch to capitalise on their pressure.