Norwich v City: Opposition View
- 12 March 2016 09:16
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
Ahead of Saturday's trip to Carrow Road, we quizzed a fan of the Canaries on their thoughts and predictions...
This week's supporter is Edward Couzens-Lake (@edcouzenslake). Here's what he had to say...
How are Norwich fans feeling ahead of the game?
One word – nervous. It's a fixture we'd all want to come along when we were on 40 points and looking good for another season at this level. Now, it’s one of ever more important games at the end of a season which has been largely disappointing.
It's at that annoying stage where, as a fan, you're looking for other clubs results and hoping the opponents of your rivals near the bottom do you a favour. We all expected Arsenal to turn Swansea over last weekend, look what happened there. So now there will be interest in Swans trip to Bournemouth and Leicester's game against Newcastle.
The problem with us this season has been that we can play well and look very good, the problem seems to be getting the players to believe that. We should have beat Liverpool, we gave Chelsea a good game. Then we didn't turn up at Swansea. I really don't know what Norwich you'll see tomorrow, none of us do.
If it’s the Norwich that plays with a bit of swagger and gets in your face, we'll have a game. If it#s the Norwich that doesn't want the ball, well, that’s the time to be nervous.
What have you made of Norwich’s season so far?
Frustrating. I know, we all know, we can be better than we have been this season. We looked good early on at home to Bournemouth, at Sunderland and at West Ham. We were getting forward and taking the game to the opposition.
Stoke was grim, we were looking good there until Gary O'Neill got sent off. Ditto Liverpool, 3-1 up and looking good there as well. All too often we've done the old snatching defeat from the jaws of victory thing and its cost us a lot of points.
I've seen a few relegations from this league in both its incarnations, if we slip out of it this year, of all seven, it'll be the one that really didn't need to happen the most and that will grate throughout the summer.
How do you expect the Canaries to line up? Who will play and in what formation?
Expecting five at the back, possibly Pinto and Brady as wingbacks, Martin, Klose and Bassong, if fit, as the centre backs. A four man midfield and a lone striker, which will possibly be Patrick Bamford, who deserves a start, with Howson and O'Neill in the middle of the midfield. I hope Nathan Redmond plays but he's been in and out of the starting XI all season which has surprised me.
How should Norwich approach the game in your opinion?
We should have a go. Sitting back is an open invitation for you to press at a defence which hasn't, with the best will in the world, got the hang of how, where and when to park a van, let alone a bus.
Press high up the pitch, let you worry about us. We can, as I said earlier, play a bit if the mood takes us. I note Yaya Toure isn't playing which pleases me, though I normally watch him bossing a game. That’s the kind of player we've missed, the alpha male in the team and squad.
With respect to that, we haven't replaced Grant Holt, who played that role to perfection. I want us to have a go.
It’s not a match we've listed as a 'must win', more a 'don't get stuffed'. If we take a positive mindset into it, the chances are we won't and we might even get something. We certainly deserved a point at your place.
Where will the key battles take place on the pitch? Who should both sides be wary of?
If we're going to press, we need to make the middle of the pitch ours, to quieten down David Silva before he gets too close to where he can hurt you and to cut out the supply to your front men. Make it congested in there with little space for you to play in.
Jonny Howson is key for me. He can make a pass, he can push forward and he can score goals. He scored a great goal against you at the Etihad a few years ago. He sums us up perfectly, it’s the kind of player he could be, he has it within himself to play for a top six club. If he can be given the opportunity to dictate things, to believe he can in this game, he'll be a big player for us.
So, of all our players, keep an eye on him. If he plays well, we will. Aguero is the man for me as far as your major danger is concerned, he's up there with Luis Suarez. Can he be stopped? Probablynot.
We have to focus on getting him frustrated, he's not getting the ball, he's coming to look for it. Again, Howson is key here, seeing the danger and minding the shop in the middle. It's a game made for him, if he takes responsibility, it'll be interesting.
The Blues have a good recent record at Carrow Road. Why would you say that is?
It goes back to John Bond. doesn't it? He'd have wanted to win here when he came here as your manager and we seem to have been suffering ever since.
I don't know why our record here against you is so poor, I can understand us struggling to beat you over the last few years but back in the 80's and 90's we were both more or less at a similar level.
The only time we've beaten you here in the Premier League was back in 1993, the season we finished third.
We have struggled somewhat away from home this season, and haven’t won back to back league games since October. Will that give Norwich confidence?
Confidence will be low. It goes back to that Liverpool game, the sort which, in defeat, is a lot worse than getting turned over 7-0.
To be 3-1 up and then get it back to 4-4 when all seemed lost, to then still lose the game and the nature of the defeat. That must be a hundred times worse a feeling than really getting turned over.
If Liverpool had won that game 5-0 I genuinely think we'd have recovered better and gone on a better run of games in response than we did after losing as we did. How do you pick yourself up after that? We haven't yet, it’s been a long hangover.
What do you think of City as a club? Is your opinion shared by the majority of Canaries fans?
I've always liked you. I've lots of good football memories courtesy of City: Dennis Tueart's bicycle kick in the 1976 League Cup Final, Steve McKenzie's goal in the 1981 FA Cup Final replay, Aguero winning the title for you – that's every footballers dream, last second glory and how!
I'm not sure what my fellow Canary fans would think but, on the whole, we're probably fairly magnanimous about you. Yes, you've nicked two managers off us, then there was Kevin Reeves as well, that one hurt. But Joe Corrigan spent some time here on loan a while back and Age Hareide was a good player so swings and roundabouts!
Dare to cast a score prediction…?
3-2 to City. Let’s leave it at that!
Where do you think both sides will finish in the table?
I think you'll get second, Tottenham look knackered. We'll beat Newcastle and Sunderland and get something at Watford. 17th for us.