Opposition view: Norwich City

By Ric Turner, Fri 01 November 2013 09:49

Opposition view: Norwich CityGary from www.norwichcity.myfootballwriter.com gives us the lowdown on the opposition

What are your expectations for this season?

Despite a fairly poor start to the season performances have, on the whole, been decent and my original hope of a mid-table finish remains. The board have tasked Chris Hughton with 'continued improvement' which, by my reckoning having finished 12th and 11th in the last two seasons, means a top ten finish. From our lowly position of 18th that looks an awful long way off right now but I'm still confident we have enough quality in the squad to at least steer ourselves clear of the drop-zone come next May.

Are you happy with the manager?

It feels like I'm in an ever decreasing minority but yes - despite the aforementioned poor start we have some decent players and I'm still hopeful that Hughton's methodical approach will soon pay dividends. Part of his problem has been the £13+ million he spent on two new strikers (Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper) has so far yielded one goal. For many Hughton will never be accepted for the simple reason he isn't Paul Lambert. He's a decent guy and a decent coach BUT he does need some wins sooner rather than later or the the axe will likely fall.

Who are your key players?

Leroy Fer has been immense in the centre of our midfield and will be comfortable going toe-to-toe with Yaya Toure. He's been without doubt the pick of Hughton's summer signings and has formed a key part of our midfield triumvirate with Jonny Howson and Alex Tettey. Unfortunately Tettey is now out for a few weeks with an ankle injury and will be a massive loss.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

At the time we were. As summer transfer windows go it was about as exciting as it gets being a Norwich supporter with the £25+ million we spent dwarfing anything seen previously in these parts. As mentioned above the bedding in process is still ongoing with a few yet to really 'click', although Nathan Redmond (an England Under-21 winger we signed from Birmingham) has shown huge promise.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

With Redmond injured for tomorrow's game (he picked up an injury when playing 'that lot' on Tuesday night) it looks likely that Josh Murphy will feature. Along with his twin brother Jacob, he was part of last season's FA Youth Cup winning team and looks to have a massive future. Other than him and Redmond, Hughton tends to lean towards experience and I wouldn't expect there to be too many youngsters on show in yellow tomorrow.

Your Achilles heel?

Of late the Achilles heel has been conceding late goals - particularly when playing the 'big boys'. In the last few weeks we've fared quite well against Arsenal and Chelsea for 80 odd minutes only to come unstuck by conceding a couple of goals very late on. So... even if you find yourselves two or three down as the clock strikes "80" don't leave your seats! ;-)

Also... we have a problem scoring goals at the minutes, which is a little more than an Achilles heel if I'm honest.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

I'd have said Yaya Toure last season, but since the arrival of Fer we have our own version who has the ability to dominate the centre of the pitch in a not dissimilar way. So... given that goalscoring is a major problem for us I'd have to say Sergio Aguerro. As well as providing a goal threat for us, it'd stop him scoring against us - which he does with alarming regularity!

What is your perception of City as a club?

If I'm brutally honest I had rather more affection for you when you were the hapless stooges to your high-flying yet obnoxious neighbours. Now that you have access to finances beyond the wildest dreams of most there is no doubting what a fantastic squad of players you have and how - on your day - you're capable of playing the most fantastic football. Whether that has come at a cost with regard to the soul of your club is not really for me to say... but I suppose your trophy cabinet speaks for itself. And besides... jealousy is a destructive emotion.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

Given the glut of injuries we've suffered over the last week it's hard to say but I'll go with...

Martin - Turner - Bassong - Garrido
Pilkington - Fer - Johnson - Olsson
Howson Hooper

The score? Heart says Man City 3 Norwich 0... head says Man City 3 Norwich 0 ..!