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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Norwich City Preview

After Mondays cruel ending, a short trip to homely Norwich. The Canaries will have had a full week to recover from their unlucky 2-0 defeat at Reading, where two goals in the last 6 minutes, the first a penalty very similar to our own first conceded goal, lost the game while the Addicks must get rid of any lingering depression even quicker.
But this has been a season of bad luck and kicks in the teeth so we should be getting used to it and the last time we suffered a similar setback the team recovered very well. Just over a long month ago a last gasp equaliser by Mpenza earned Plymouth a 2-2 draw. And the following week the Addicks faced a difficult trip to Birmingham but showed their character by going ahead after conceding an early goal and became the first side this season to put two goals past Maik Taylor and went in at half-time 2-1 up. It didn't last that day but Norwich shouldn't be so difficult as St. Andrews.
As for Norwich, since '96 they have been lead by the country's favorite cook Delia and managed by Glen Roeder since October 2007 but they had a nervous season last year surviving the cut with a 3-0 win over QPR on the penultimate day and finished 17th. Formed in 1902, appropriately enough by two blokes down the local cafe, and although riding high in the early 90's with famous exploits in the UEFA cup its been all about survival, apart from one season in the top flight, ever since relegation from the Premiership in '95 after 10 years in the top flight.
Sitting in 20th with 5 more points than the Addicks but the bad news is, of course, that with only one game left before Christmas day we cannot avoid spending the festivities in the bottom three with all that means as far as history is concerned. But even thats not all bad news, last year all three went down but the previous year Hull, in 22nd place on Christmas Day did save themselves at the expense of Luton Town.
Norwich have a decent record at home and have won 4 times and you'll be surprised to learn that they'll turned over the likes of Sheff. Utd 1-0, Doncaster 2-1 and local rivals Ipswich as well as handing Wolves their biggest spanking of the season, a 5-2 hammering where ex Addick Leroy Lita, on loan, scored a hat-trick.
Form Guide With just two wins in the last 10 ( away to Forest 2-1 and home in the derby against Ipswich 2-0) Norwich have 7 points from their last 24 whilst the Addicks have improved with 3 draws in their last 8 games. Both teams have 5 defeats in their last 8 games. We've both failed to score 7 times. And while the Addicks and Watford lead the field in goals conceded, 39 apiece, Norwich are not far behind with 36 let in.
Who've They Got? Top goalscorers are Leroy Lita on 6 with Lee Croft and Lupoli on 4 each. We know all about Lita and right-winger Croft is ex-Man.City but number 18 is Arturo Lupoli is a 21 year old Italian from Fiorentina, one of 7 on loan players, and was previously a key member of Arsene Wenger's Carling Cup youngsters.
On loan defender Celtic's John Kennedy has injury problems and is almost certainly out of the game as is the ex-Portsmouth Serbian defender Dejan Stefanović and Roeder currently has only Gary Doherty and Elliot Omozusi available in central defence and has been hunting around for a loan defender.
Captain is the ex celtic midfielder Mark Fotheringham who did a Semedo last weekend handling the ball in the area to give Reading their first goal from the penalty spot in the 84th minute just when a well-earned point looked on the cards.
They also have on-loan Wigan striker Antoine Sibierski. Sibierski has had a stop-start career during his loan spell with Norwich, hitting the target twice on his debut but struggling with niggling injuries since then.

DangerMan! Tuesdays dangerman Rob Hulse was absent with flu but his replacement Ellington scored twice to kill our hopes of a first win in 13. Saturdays dangerman has to be Leroy Lita. Norwich top scorer and ex-Addick to boot he's had a weeks rest after, unlike Varney, not being allowed to face his own club Reading. With only three goals for the Addicks in 8 games, he's already got double that with the Canaries from 13 games. Number 44, Parky.

What's Their Secret? Not a secret more an admission really, is that they love the other team to score first. Nobody does it better in the fizzies, 15 times out of 23 and they have the worst half-time record of all, only leading 3 times, with 12 draws. And they've only scored 7 times in the first 45, whilst the Addicks have done it 13 times. But, on the other hand, they are not one of the dwindling group of eight teams (us included) that have failed to win after going behind having overcome Doncaster at home with two goals in the last 7 minutes.

And while both teams have reasonable records against top half teams (the Addicks getting 11 points with the Canaries on 12) we are both pretty bad in the 6 pointer department. The Addicks have only got 7 points against the crap with 1 win over Doncaster to show for our efforts against bottom half clubs and are bottom in this table whereas Norwich have only 3 wins and 2 draws and are second to bottom.

Who's Talking? Two remarkably similar tones from the managers with Roeder after Saturdays late penalty complaining, "If that is not a 'homer's penalty' then I have never seen one. He (Kettle) didn't want to speak to me after the game, so with that I rest my case. Everyone gave 100 per cent and played for the shirt with pride and I feel for them because they have been let down. They didn't deserve that."
Meanwhile Parky praised the team after Tuesday's draw "It's a blow for us, but we'll take the positives from the performance, which was superb"

History After suffering recently we travel to the Addicks nearest and dearest places, Norwich. Its true we've won more times at Derby (12) but apart from those distant second homes, Cardiff and Bristol City (11 away wins each) there's nowhere quite like Carrow Road where we've won 11 and drawn 9 out of 34 games. And overall there's nobody in the fizzies that we've had more luck against than the Canaries and overall in the League its an impressive 31-20 to the Addicks.

We've won 8 out of the last 12 games going back 13 years, 4 of them at Carrow Rd with only one defeat in the 12 and that in the Premiership 3 years ago.

Team News How are the team going to react after Tuesdays disappointment? Cruelly done by with not only a harsh penalty decision but with then playing more added-on time than signalled. They deserved a win but when will it come? And just one point from the two home games against two very average teams doesn't look good on Parky's CV although the passion was clearly there. Hudson's confirmed that the team has recovered and been hard at work "with a bit of paintballing and team bonding".
A defence that commanded most of the game and enough chances were created on Tuesday against Derby's leaky defence to have got 4 or 5 on a good night so it looks as if there's not going to be any changes at the weekend. All the changes seemed to work on Tuesday with youngsters Elliot, Basey and Waghorn, at 22, 20 and 18 all deserving another game.

Prediction Another 6 pointer headache for Parky - they're all Cup finals from now on - its perhaps a pointer to the result that all the successful punters on CAFC Picks on double correct guesses forecast either a draw or a defeat. Perhaps they don't know our good record there or were they aware of Leroy Lita. But with even regular forecaster drinkingduringthegame seeing a depressing 2-0 defeat perhaps we're all lost all expectations we may have had. Well, I can't forecast two defeats in a row so its a surprising 1-0 win for me - a header from Hudson - or will it be 18 year old Waghorn enjoying it. Because I certainly enjoy seeing him play and on that note I just want to add good riddance to Varney who showed his true style on Tuesday by celebrating both his new teams goals even after all the patience we have shown him.


Ken Jennings said...

Varney comments totally seconded. The S.O.B. was useless but what really aggravated me was his nudge into Fortune's back, to send him sprawling into the advertising hoardings.
And I am hanging (with grim death) onto your stat about Hull !
1-0 to the good guys sounds pretty good, as well :-)

nelson said...

Yes, Ken there was definitely intent there wasn't there. Shame he didn't show as much intent when faced with an open gaoal against Burnley.