This Saturday will see us return to action, on the road, after two satisfying performances at home. The trip to Norfolk is one I’m looking forward to, I’m reasonably confident about taking some points from Norwich City.
My last two previews were peppered with pessimism. Firstly my preview of the game against West Ham, i had fears of defeat due to the Hammers being a bogey side for us. Next up came my preview of the visit of Manchester United, this time i was fearful due to being up against the best team in England.
The trip to Carrow Road though is different, i wouldn’t venture as far as to say I’m confident, i am though optimistic! History tends to mark Norwich as a team we enjoy playing, illustrated by a favourable head to head record against the Canaries. In Premier league history we have played Norwich five times, Winning 4 and drawing 1, with 15 for and just 2 against. Looking back further we seem to really enjoy playing Norwich, in 42 games we have 20 wins, Norwich 11 and 11 draws.
So historical evidence points towards a positive result for us, as does our last meeting the 5-0 opening day romp at the Cottage. Historical stats are all well and good but lets get back to the future.
Lets start off by looking at Norwich City’s season thus far. Originally at the start of the year i predicted that Norwich would struggle to adapt to a new manager and the dreaded second season syndrome. I felt that the loss of Paul Lambert would put a huge dent into Norwich’s team sprit. Team sprit was a vital component in their back to back promotions and Premier League survival last term. At whilst my prediction of struggle was proving to be on the money for the first quarter of the season, Norwich really turned their form around in the second quarter of the season. A fantastic run of form 11 unbeaten which included wins against Manchester United and Arsenal, propelled Norwich up the table. Of late though Norwich’s form has begun to return to that of a struggling side with just one win in 8 stretching back to the 2-1 defeat of Wigan in mid December.
Whilst Norwich have yet to recover from a horrible run of form, there are signs in our recent performances that we have. The ideal way for Martin and the lads to prove it? 3 points on Saturday, which will see us build a gap to our opponents who we are on joint points with.
Team news for Saturdays 3pm kick off starting from our perspective. Its expected Brede Hangeland and Dimitar Berbatov will miss out along with Sidwell, Diarra, Frei,Richardson this is through injury, whilst Manolev and Eyong are awaiting work permits.
The team news coming out of the Norwich camp is that the only serious doubt is Antony Pilkington who is facing a rush for fitness. John Ruddy is still missing as he has been for a few months. A debut could be given to new signing from the MLS, Kei Kamara.
As i earlier stated I’m reasonably confident despite injuries we have the players capable of getting some vital points at Norwich. Saturday should be a day to remember, COYW!