Bournemouth 0-0 Norwich City: Stalemate as Solanke and Pukki go close
Defence on top between two usually attacking sides (Photo: Getty Images)

Both Bournemouth and Norwich City were left frustrated as they played out a drab goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium.

Whilst Dominic Solanke and Teemu Pukki (who scored twice in the week for a Finland side on the brink of Euro 2020 qualification) had a chance apiece for their respective clubs in either half, neither side carried a real offensive threat but will be encouraged by improved defensive displays that culminated in their first league clean sheets of the season.

Bournemouth welcomed back Adam Smith to tighten their defensive line on a day that Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson became Premier League centurions, whilst Norwich switched from 4-2-3-1 to 4-5-1 as they flooded the midfield areas that have left them so open at the beginning of this campaign.

Bournemouth start on top

The hosts opted to attack down the flanks in the opening minutes, piling crosses into the penalty area to test a previously fragile Norwich back four.

But Ibrahim Amadou, who was bullied by Aston Villa's Wesley in the 5-1 drubbing a fortnight ago, dominated the visiting area with 13 clearances as he left Wilson with barely scraps to feed upon.

Bournemouth's moment came on 22 minutes as Wilson played the ball into the path of Solanke before being thwarted by the returning Tim Krul after missing out against Villa with injury.

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Norwich improve

That half would have filled the Canaries with confidence but another defensive injury just five minutes after the break forced a reshuffle as Ben Godfrey hobbled off, forcing the experienced Alex Tettey to drop into the back four from defensive midfield.

But Norwich did not wilt and started to play the expansive football synonymous of their style under Daniel Farke. A smart cross from Emi Buendia found Amadou who headed over before Pukki was kept out by an outstanding save from Aaron Ramsdale as the Cherries defence dropped off - the Bournemouth goalkeeper flinging himself down low to keep out a fierce drive destined for the bottom corner.

The visitors welcomed Onel Hernandez back into action for the final ten minutes and the improving Buendia created another opportunity, this time substitute Tom Trybull fizzing an effort just inches wide.

Meanwhile, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld couldn't get any real purchase on a late strike that summed up the lack of quality in front of goal between these two sides on the afternoon.

Key takeaway from the game

Striking the balance

Whilst the improved defensive aspects of both sides will build confidence in that particular area of the pitch, Eddie Howe and Daniel Farke now need to work on finding a balance of play.

The emphasis on keeping things tight was clear, as both sides became the last two of 20 Premier League sides to register a clean sheet this season, but, in the process, the attacking threats were nullified.

Only two sides out of the top four have netted more times than Bournemouth, whilst Norwich have scored more goals than the likes of Manchester United and Everton.

But, on this performance, you would scarcely believe those statistics to be true with only three shorts on target between them.