City will be looking for their first victory since 30th September (!) when they travel to the Welsh capital to play Championship highflyers Cardiff City, who have the best home form in the league with 16 points from a possible 18.
The Bluebirds will begin this matchday seventh in the table, whilst the Canaries sit 17th after a four-match losing streak. They also haven’t won at the Cardiff City Stadium since January 2021 – where there were no fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Goals from Grant Hanley and Todd Cantwell earned them a 2-1 win that day.
There may well be some Cardiff fans who still expect their side to slide back down the standings given their mid-table finishes over the last few seasons, but after seven points and three clean sheets in their last three games, even the most pessimistic fans should dream of a return to the Premier League.
However, there will be a tinge of annoyance amongst their fans after the goalless draw with Stoke City last weekend, but they are still seventh and only four points behind Leeds United in third.
In sharp contrast, City look like a side devoid of confidence no matter where they play their football. David Wagner’s side have nine losses in their last 12 outings.
To make matters worse, they were booed off the pitch after last Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road, despite having a man advantage for 36 minutes of the second half.
They have now conceded 11 in their last four matches, and our only two victories since the start of September have come at Carrow Road (1-0 vs Stoke City and 2-0 vs Birmingham City).
However, the Canaries boast the fourth-most goals in the Championship away from home, yet Wagner is very much aware of the fact that losing this game could cost him his job over the upcoming international break. despite him stating in his pre-match press conference that Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones still back him alongside the new Sporting Director, Ben Knapper.
Cardiff manager Erol Bulut may make changes in the attacking third after his side drew a blank against Stoke. Rubin Colwill and Kion Etete come into contention as alternatives to Callum Robinson and Yakou Meite, with Ike Ugbo also in with a chance of a recall.
However, both Callum O’Dowda and Aaron Ramsey (no, not that one) remain out of contention due to injury.
City are without the suspended Shane Duffy, who joins Ben Gibson on the sidelines – but there is that Grant Hanley could either travel with the matchday squad or feature for the U23s.
You would like to believe that Danny Batth will be drafted into the side, despite the fact Wagner doesn’t seem to want to play him, to partner young Jaden Warner, while Sam McCallum, Borja Sainz and Adam Idah are among the other players who will hope for an opportunity.
Cardiff City (4-2-3-1): Alnwick; Ng, Goutas, McGuinness, Collins; Siopis, Ralls; Bowler, Colwill, Grant; Etete
As mentioned above, Robinson and Meite may make way for Colwill and Etete as the Bluebirds look to take advantage of City’s weakened defence.
Perry Ng at right-back has been Cardiff’s standout performer so far this season, with three goals and one assist in 14 games.
Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Long; Stacey, Batth, Warner, Giannoulis; Sara, McLean; Rowe, Nunez, Sainz; Hwang
I’m expecting two changes from the Blackburn catastrophe for the Canaries – with Batth and Sainz to both make their first Championship start in place of Duffy and Onel Hernandez at the weekend.
Despite the fact he’s only scored once for Norwich, I again expect Hwang Ui-Jo to start given the fact that he looked as if he was the only player against Blackburn giving 100% effort, with relentless pressing and moving into wide areas of the pitch to receive the ball rather than the actual wingers.
This is the last chance for Wagner. Especially now that Knapper is coming in earlier than expected, and if he wants to prove to the fans that it will be better under him – the first step is changing the man who is in charge of getting you results.
This would be the perfect game to turn it around, but I doubt even the most optimistic of Norwich fans can see it happening. Let’s hope for the best, but we must expect the worst with this team right now.
I salute anyone making the long trip, and, hopefully, they can come back with something, but, given Cardiff’s home form and our lack of it regardless of who we play, I have a feeling it will be a long trip back home from South Wales.
How do you think the game will go? Will this be the last game of the Wagner era at NCFC? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.