Can City show improvement on the road? Spurs win would be a fine way to start…Thu 12 Sep 13 by James Kent
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m delighted the international fixtures are now over for the time being. I know we are being told that a 0-0 draw against Ukraine is a fine result, but I find it hard to get excited about things like that.
Let’s take this conversation to Premier League matters. Most of us would agree that the performance level against Everton and Southampton has been good. Those that like to be ultra critical might point to the fact that Norwich didn’t have the ball for long period. But the defeat against Hull City showed us that possession isn’t everything.
Speaking of that infamous game against Hull – that served as a reminder that away victories might not be easy to come by, which was certainly the case last season when only two arrived in the entire season.
An away win against Spurs isn’t exactly something the average neutral football fan would expect to see. But last season showed us that unexpected results can happen from time to time provided you come with the right attitude.
Tottenham are certainly a team that has their fair share of distractions at the moment, most of which being caused by the departure of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. He certainly has been replaced with a great deal of quality. But the early signs suggest that those players haven’t yet gelled into a cohesive unit.
Therefore, it may just be the perfect time to play them in the hope of getting a positive result. The Norwich City unit seems to be far further down the line and we aren’t a million miles away from finding that settled team. Fans may also get their first chance to have a look at Gary Hooper in the Premier League.
Every league game is an opportunity to gain three points and hopefully Chris Hughton will realise that. It’s a game that must be approached in the right way and certainly a chance to get a very positive result. I think fans above all else want to see a more positive attitude away from home.
There were a few too many occasions last season when Chris Hughton seemed to be happy enough to go away from home and take a point. It will certainly be interesting to see if that situation changes as the season progresses.
What I do see when I look down the squad is the different options that are available to the manager, which allows him to approach games in different ways and change games at opportune moments. I think it is this that should see us play in a more expansive ways. Still, Hughton will sometimes need to take a risk or two to get something out of the match.
It’s difficult to make too many judgements on the new signings just yet. However, Nathan Redmond and Leroy Fer are the two that are currently standing out. The temptation will be to build the team around those players. Ricky van Wolfswinkel will score goals at this level; the key thing is to get the right kind of service to him.
The fact that he may not touch the ball a great deal is not something that should be concerning, the key thing is to create the one or two good chances per match. That’s all he needs, and he has already shown this season how accurate he can be.
Therefore, the wide positions will be crucial for Norwich with Redmond and Robert Snodgrass looking like the players that will be used the most. A potential central midfield partnership between Fer and Bradley Johnson is certainly an interesting proposition. And it will be interesting to see if Hughton sticks with the duo. Alex Tettey and Jonny Howson both offer alternatives if the manager wants to mix things up at all.
One of the more disappointing elements from the Southampton game was delivery into the box at times, and that’s certainly something that will need to be watched. Anyway, the players will be refreshed and ready to continue the league action.
In a way, it’s a shame that the international break occurred when it did because the team would have wanted to carry on the momentum. There is certainly an opportunity to win the game against Spurs, and we should be in for an exciting game. But as mentioned, Hughton will need to be positive to get the right result.
Getting the balance right in attack is likely to be the big issue. Johan Elmander and RvW started the previous game, but the fit again Hooper creates another interesting option. It will also be interesting to see how great the temptation is to recall Wes Hoolahan. But as I said before, the Canaries certainly have options.