Norwich City vs Manchester City – Ask The Opposition

Norwich City vs Manchester City – Ask The Opposition
Mar 10, 2016

Featured Manchester City

It’s an away trip to Carrow Road for Manchester City following last weekend’s demolition of Norwich’s relegation rivals Aston Villa. It’s got all the ingredients for a cagey encounter with City, going for the Premier League crown, and Norwich, scrapping at the bottom of the table, battling it out for the first time since the FA Cup Third round – a game in which City brushed aside the Canaries.

For Norwich, a first season back in the Premier League was never going to be easy following their play-off final success at Wembley last season. And it has proved that way too, with the Canaries fighting for their lives so far this campaign against the likes of Newcastle and Sunderland.

As for Manchester City on the other hand, only a win would be acceptable. In order to regain ground on title favourites Leicester City, a faultless end to the Premier League campaign is vital, however, after the season so far, we’re all expecting a few more twists and turns in this truly unpredictable campaign.

I took to Twitter and spoke to passionate Norwich City supporter and fellow ‘From The Stands’ writer Cameron (@dorandoor). I posed seven questions to him on several key topics including the future of Norwich City manager Alex Neil as well as issues regarding Saturday’s lunchtime kick off.

How would you describe your season so far?

Shaky, weird and somewhat lacklustre.
We started the season so well, getting points against the likes of a strong, inform West Ham side as well as Liverpool. The season’s start was so promising, but ever since our 6-2 romping by Newcastle, we have lost our style, confidence and philosophy and haven’t played the same way since.
At the moment, we are in a sticky situation. Alex Neil’s head is being called for by some, certain players are unsettled and we have little hope of avoiding relegation. We’re going through a real tough time, our worst run for decades, in fact. Just one point from the last 27! We have to start picking up our form if we are to stand any chance of survival.
All-in-all we expected a relegation dogfight, but it shouldn’t have reached this point. We have underperformed and proved the doubting pundits correct. We have a great crop of players but this season, we have lacked fight and passion. That is why we find ourselves in such a mess!

Despite the success of your last league campaign, do you still believe Alex Neil is the right man to lead Norwich forward?

Yes.

We may go down this term, but there is no doubt that in five or six years’ time, Alex Neil will be one of the best managers in the league. A team will be very lucky to have him at the helm and hopefully it will be us!

He’s our future. The only way to go forward as a club may be to go down and come back up. Neil needs to learn and he is out of his depth at current. The Championship is an ideal playground for the Scot to continue learning his trade.
Eventually, Neil will be one of the best managers in Europe. Just two years of coaching and at 34 years of age, he already has multiple titles and medals to his name. He has great ambition, a fluid style of play and also excellent motivational skills. If you give the man the right players to fit his philosophy, he will exceed every target set.
So, in the short term no, he isn’t the right man. However, we must think about the bigger picture as a club; in the long-term he is 110% the man to take Norwich forward. He is a project and one who will lead us to success, eventually. I seriously believe that he can get Norwich to the top-half of the Premier League.

You can read Cameron’s (@dorandoor) full view on Alex Neil here:

http://fromthestands.co.uk/norwich/my-final-thoughts-alex-neil/

Which player in the Norwich City side could cause Manchester City the most problems on Saturday?

Well, we don’t really have any outstanding individuals if I am being brutally honest. However, there is Nathan Redmond.

On his day, Nathan Redmond is by far the best Norwich player on the field. His pace, flair and skill is enough to beat the best fullbacks in the league, so you’d best hope you aren’t playing Kolarov because I cannot see him keeping him quiet. He’s our top scorer this term with five goals to his name and he is returning to his best form. Trust me, if he has the right head on, he can tear even the best defences to bits.
Also, I’d like to further mention Wes Hoolahan. A consistent player who can wriggle in and out of just about anyone. Very underrated, so keep an eye open for the Irishman…

Were you disappointed about not making it further in the FA Cup this season (Despite coming up against top opposition in the form of Manchester

Norwich don’t do cup runs and that is a fact. We very rarely get far in any cup competition, but it would’ve been nice to progress further than the Third Round. However, I am slightly happy that all our attention is now turned to our Premier League survival campaign. It is something that is so significant this term with the money involved. Hopefully, once we have secured a Premier League status, we can push on in the FA Cup next season perhaps, and enjoy another trip to Wembley!

What have you made of Manchester City’s season so far?

The first thought that comes to my mind, personally, is that of a transition stage. I think that it’s been bland more than anything.

With the League Cup secured, it’s a good send off for Pellegrini but other than that I cannot see any more silverware coming the way of the blue half of Manchester – or any of Manchester, for that matter!
I’ve been disappointed with the commitment some players have shown too. I think the lack of desire to win the league is evident. Also, I’ve been disappointed by Raheem Sterling. A player who made a big money move only to perform to the same standard as Nathan Redmond, on paper that is.

I think the important thing for City is keeping the ship steady in preparation for the summer arrival of Pep Guardiola. They’ve certainly done that! A trophy to add to the cabinet despite several unlucky injuries throughout the term proves that City have done well. It can’t be easy to perform and push on when you have a manager that knows he is off regardless of how well he does…
So an average season for City, one that is simply preparing for a bigger, better future with Pep Guardiola.

Where do you see the key battles occurring on the pitch between Norwich and Manchester City?

Undoubtedly the Norwich City quarter of the pitch.

With our leaky and somewhat shaky defence, I can only see us trying to fend off the pressing attack of City. With players such as Agüero, Sterling and Iheanacho, we shall be looking to defend from the back and counter.

Agüero will cause Norwich City problems and lots of them too. I expect most of the battling and head clashing will take place in Norwich’s defensive quarter with us Canaries hopelessly trying to protect our man between the sticks, John Ruddy.

Can you predict the starting line-up for Norwich City as well as the final score (and goalscorers) for Saturday’s encounter?

Something Alex Neil is criticised for so often is his lack of consistency with formations and team selections, so it isn’t easy to call! However I expect he shall go for the following: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin, Klose, Bennett, Brady; Howson, O’Neil; Redmond, Bamford, Naismith.

Norwich have to win if we want any chance of seeing Premier League football next season. We almost squeezed a point out of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season and we tend to perform against the bigger teams, especially at home! I’m feeling confident and think that if we perform like we did against Leicester and Chelsea, we shall come away with at least a point.

2 Norwich (Brady and Bamford)

1 Man City (Agüero)

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Make sure to follow me on twitter – @Beardamendi

As well as the guest fan – @dorandoor

And finally the official From The Stands twitter page – @FromTStands

 

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