Venue: Carrow Road
Date: 9 January 2016
Kick off: 15:00
UK TV: Not on TV.
An extra helping of misery could be on the menu come Saturday afternoon, as Delia Smith’s Norwich City look to cook-up an FA Cup upset. The defeat against the Toffees on Wednesday left a bitter taste in the mouth. Early imagination gave way to slow, lateral passing whilst the initial solidity in midfield was quickly replaced by porousness. Unfortunately, this gradual disintegration is a process that us City fans have become all too familiar with in recent months.
Quite a morbid start to this preview, I know – but the remainder of it wont be. I promise. Acknowledging that his current preferred starting XI is going a little stale, Pellegrini could bring Jesús Navas, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and possibly even young full-back Pablo Maffeo into the side tomorrow. There could also be an appearance from Zaba who “has recovered from his [knee] injury” and that could see Bacary Sagna fill in at centre-back for the injured Mangala. That, in itself, is quite exciting given we’ve been forced to watch the same, predictable crap for the last fortnight and an injection of pace and youthful vivacity will be very, very welcome indeed.
All left-footed goal jokes aside, Jesús performed magnificently when he came on as a 54th minute substitute at Goodison. I’ve slated his delivery in the past, but he knows how to get into dangerous positions and his speed will always cause problems. Right now, with Silva struggling to penetrate opposition defences from the middle, his natural width could be what we need to open the floodgates again. With himself and Raheem occupying our flanks, Norwich’s full-backs will be in for a difficult afternoon. Alex Neil has declared that new boy Ivo Pinto, signed from Dinamo Zagreb on Friday, will play no part in tomorrow’s 3rd round tie, meaning Robbie Brady and Russell Martin are likely to face the wrath of our two hot rods.
And our full-backs may experience problems of their own this weekend. Gaël Clichy, clearly lacking match fitness, really struggled against Deulofeu on Wednesday. It was an uncertain performance that will have Norwich’s Nathan Redmond licking his lips. Only Brady (32) has created more chances for the Canaries this term and a record of 29 successful take-ons out of an attempted 54 does not bode well for either Clichy or Kolarov who have both had disappointing seasons so far. If the home side are going to claim a famous victory, Redmond will surely play his part in it.
We all moaned in unison when John Hartson revealed it would be a trip to Carrow Road instead of a perhaps more stimulating excursion to the home of a non-league side; but right now, in the form we’re in, winning should be above exciting away days at the top of our list of priorities. We’ve not lost at Carrow Road since 2001 and have scored 12 goals in the three FA Cup fixtures we’ve met Neil’s side in over the last 77 years. If that record doesn’t inspire any confidence, I don’t know what will.
I’m going for a 2-1 win on the road for us.
Come on, City. Let’s be having you!
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-01-09″ default_css=”true”]