We’ve tried to mix the MFW match previews up a little this season and so it’s to four friends of MFW that I’ve turned for their thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s visit by Paul Warne’s Rotherham, namely Andy Delf, Don Harold, John Scent and Colin Michael.
To keep it simple (for me, not them) I asked them all the same five questions.
Take it away lads…
So… the ship has been steadied by the looks of it. Where do we go from here? Staying top for the duration now, or are those pesky Bees, Swans and/or Hornets still going to spoil our fun?
ANDY: I think there are one or two twists to come. Hopefully, we have had our downturn. Brentford look very good but have just skidded a bit in the last couple of games. Swansea I can see falling away and Watford, who knows. We look so much better now the goals are going in and I really think Gianoulis is giving us a good balance on the left.
DON: I didn’t think that the boat was particularly unsettled – if that was our rough patch for the season, I’m happy. In one of Paul Lambert’s promotion seasons, we lost 3-0 at Swansea (for some reason their fans wanted to fight post-match – strange lot). I don’t think we lost another game after that and pretty much cruised to promotion. I’m not saying that this is going to be a cruise but with the probability of needing eight wins from 16 games for a top-two finish, it’s all in our hands without being too concerned about what our rivals do.
JOHN: Although not quite in HMS P*$$ the league territory yet, I think we needed a bit of a reality check, which Middlesbrough and Millwall provided. Swansea look good, but unlike us and Brentford, don’t yet seem to have had their blip, if of course, they are going to. They have some excellent players, plus of course our nemesis named Hourihane. I keep hoping that their games in hand are just that with no points! Watford are currently in a good and free-scoring run, but Brentford? Not too sure there as they’ve now lost two on the spin, and were the beneficiaries of a refereeing howler when they were really being pushed by Wycombe.
COLIN: It’s great fun to be honest, back on top and in convincing fashion. I believe we will win the Championship with Watford taking second spot. We have a steely resolve and know-how. For me, the business end of the season starts with Rotherham, and the next few months could be very special, once again.
As an aside, as it’s a hot topic at the moment, where does Emi Buendia sit on your personal pantheon of City greats?
ANDY: He is a player who is so comfortable at this level. So at Championship level, yes, he is almost without equal in the club’s history. That includes Wes and Maddison. I would love to see him with us in the Premier League becoming our best ever midfielder but I fear the big boys with the big money will come calling.
DON: Emi is undoubtedly one of the greatest talents to wear the shirt. However, to be a true great I think he needs to have at least one outstanding season in the top flight in a Norwich team that does well. And yes, I will clutch at any straws that might keep him with us.
JOHN: Emi is really up there; so skillful on the ball, and I think his defensive work sometimes goes unnoticed. He has two really quick feet and isn’t exactly slow over the first 10 yards. His finishing has improved, and as shown on Wednesday night, he now has this uncanny understanding with Pukki. I’m old enough to remember seeing Keelan and co, so for me, he has some way to go to join KK and Martin Peters. Plus of course, they played for more than one (very odd!) season at the top level. I suspect Emi will go for our biggest fee ever received, and at whatever level we are at that time, he will be very difficult to replace.
COLIN: Emi is unique, he needs to stick around a while longer for me to be considered one of our greats, but he’s the most complete player I’ve seen play for City. It’s such a shame there are no fans present to spur him on. Maybe we are the missing link and what is lacking before he will be considered part of that elite few.
On to Saturday, what do you expect of Rotherham? Shut-up-shoppers, or will they come and have a go?
ANDY: Warne will have his team up for it. I think he will go with the high press but whatever they do I feel our current form will be too strong for Rotherham. The confidence flowing through the team must make us very daunting to play against at the moment.
DON: I guess Rotherham will be cautious and robust. With a relatively high goal-scoring tally for a struggling side of 33, they will be looking to return north with a point. I think we need to score early otherwise they may seek to strangle the life out of the game.
JOHN: They need the points at the opposite end of the table, so I’d like to think they will come to play. However, I don’t think they will play us as Coventry tried to. Given how physical they are supposed to be, I can see a bus being parked for as long as it takes us to score… although once we get to around 60 minutes if it’s still goal-less maybe Warney will fancy their chances (I think I’ve covered all possibilities there!).
COLIN: Love Paul Warne of course and always wish him well. They need points and will make it tough for us but we’ll be too good for them over 90 minutes.
Care to predict Farke’s starting XI?
ANDY: Daniel rarely changes a winning team and I see no reason to do so on this occasion, barring injuries of course.
DON: Same as the last two games with the possibility of Dowell coming in for Vrancic. By the way, where’s Placheta?
JOHN: Pretty much the same as the last two games although maybe he will rest Vrancic, play Rupp ahead of Aarons and move Emi inside?
Finally… score prediction?
ANDY: I’m useless at score predictions but I fancy another clean sheet with three goals; one for Todd, Emi and Teemu. Todd certainly deserves to be on the scoresheet following his magnificent performance against Coventry. He is almost beginning to remind me of Gareth Bale in his younger days.
DON: I think that we will get the early goal and go on to win 2-1. It won’t be easy or pretty.
JOHN: If we can get an early goal, 3 or 4-1 to us; if it turns attritional I’ll happily take a 1-0.
COLIN: Fancy Max to get his goal, a Hanley header, and a pen from Pukki – score prediction 3-1.
Cheers guys. You can come again.
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