Thinking about Cabaye in particular for a moment, he knows he’s pretty much guaranteed a place in our team, therefore with January on the horizon, he may need to be starting every week instead of on the bench at somewhere like Arsenal……. Debuchy, Sissoko, Remy and even maybe Ben Arfa and Yanga-Mbiwa, will surely all want to be in the French squad, hopefully United can benefit from that.
The same goes for Shola Ameobi, Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez, Vurnon Anita, Tim Krul and Cheick Tiote too – they all have the platform to nail their positions in their international squads. Only Papiss Cisse experienced the disappointment of losing out but he already has some problems to overcome with his form. I’ll be honest, I’m puzzled about how we get the striker to recapture the form of 2 seasons ago. Maybe, he never will?
The 2 excellent results vs. Chelsea and Spurs can only increase the mood within the camp. In terms of points on the board, the 2 bonus wins have us around the tally where many would feel we should have been and make up for two of the disappointing results vs West Ham, Sunderland and Hull. Pardew could go a long way to improving his own reputation amongst some of our support by overseeing two wins vs Norwich and WBA which would take us over half way to the magical forty point mark but after only thirteen games. We’d have a real opportunity to kick on.
It may have been a sign of how close our players are and that the spirit and camaraderie amongst the lads is very strong, that led Steven Taylor to put an in-house joke into the public domain via twitter! Whilst the jape, appeared nothing more than what the ‘cool kidz’ are calling ‘bantz’ these days it would probably be best if those types of jokes are kept amongst themselves, especially as we have a number of supporters who appear to take it upon themselves to be offended and outraged on other people’s behalf. It appears some in our number absolutely, must have something to whinge about. I have no idea what they get out of it. I don’t doubt that if Gazza had done it, the same people would be finding it hilarious.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve fucked up against a lot worse teams than Norwich City in the past and I’m sure Chris Hughton will be determined to turn us (and his former employers) over.
Whilst we fumbled our way through the summer transfer window, suffered the frustration of Joe Kinnear opening his cake flap at all the wrong times and concluded with the Cabaye transfer farce, Norwich City got busy! They threw serious money at taking themselves out of sides expected to be in the bottom five.
They nabbed the highly rated Ricky van Wolfswinkel for £8.5m from Sporting Lisbon. Unexpectedly, he has turned out to play more like Bullwinkle, but they also brought in Leroy Fer for £7m from Twente. Gary Hooper followed from Celtic for £5m. Martin Olsson joined from Blackburn for £2.5m and Nathan Redman joined from Birmingham for £3m. Javier Garido and Johan Elmander concluded their incomings. Grant Holt left for Wigan.
Having spent heavily, a poor run of form brought the heat onto Hughton. They have won once on the road, 1-0 at Stoke City, whilst they have lost 4, at Hull City (0-1), Arsenal (1-4), Spurs (0-2) and most recently, at Man City (0-7). They had been doing ok in the League Cup, but they got hit for another 4 at Man Utd. The odds on Hughton being sacked were shortening as they trailed 0-1 at home to West ham last time out, but they over turned that deficit to win 3-1.
They have found goals very hard to come by with just two on their travels, but Hooper leads their scoring charts with three, two of them in the League Cup and a penalty vs. West Ham. Former Leeds midfielder, Jonny Howson, has two.
Elliott Bennett, van Wolfswinkel and Alex Tettey are injured but winger, Anth Pilkington is fine. They have no suspensions.
Alan Pardew spoke today and said that all of his players (with exception of Ryan Taylor) are fit.
There is also news of Jonas Gutierrez (remember him?) returning to Tyneside after heading to Argentina. It is to be assumed that Sylvain Marveaux has been unshackled and released from captivity, hopefully, if the sun light doesn’t harm his eyes, he can feature in the match day squad and be ready to open up Norwich should it be required.
Krul, who must be flying after Spurs, will retain his place in goal. But Debuchy’s accumulation of 5 yellow cards means he’s suspended. The likely solution would be to switch the right footed Santon to right back and play either left footed full back, Dummett or Haidara at left back. You can bet that Pardew will find a more complicated solution.
Williamson is right on top of his game at the moment so no recall for Steven Taylor for me.
Likewise, Yanga-Mbiwa has overcome some early season ropiness and I wouldn’t recall Coloccini yet either.
In midfield and I can’t see much changing here. Tiote, Sissoko and Cabaye are the preferred three, with Anita a willing deputy when required and Gutierrez will now be looking to get back into the action.
Whilst Cisse struggles, Remy is flourishing and the Frenchman will remain up front. He’s likely to be partnered by Gouffran and Gola Ameobi. Ben Arfa will have to wait his turn to get back in the team as the 2 wins over Chelsea and Spurs were earned without his input.
Ryan Taylor – Knee – not expected back this year
Debuchy one game
Possible Team (4-2-1-3)
1.Krul: 2. Santon, 5. Williamson, 6. Mbiwa, 3. Haidara: 7. Sissoko, 4. Tiote: 8. Cabaye: 10. Gouffran. 9. Shola Ameobi, 11. Remy:
Elliot, Coloccini, Anita, Gutierrez, Obertan, Cisse, Ben Arfa
Referee: Mike Dean
History vs The Canaries
Some quite long periods without playing Norwich with both sides spending some time going up and down. Some great wins though
1984/85 1-1. Having returned to the top flight, United’s form had somewhat hit the buffers and as we moved into December things would get worse. Trailing to Louie Donowa’s goal, Chris Waddle saved the day with a fine finish. Norwich were relegated that season. An under par crowd of 20,403 too.
1986/87 4-1 win. Coming towards the make or break time in an up and down season, United hit 4 past Norwich, after Kevin Drinkell has scored a cracker. Gascoigne was instrumental in our revival as were Goddard’s goals. Gascoigne was at the heart of this recovery mission too. 24,500 saw it.
1987/88 1-3. Future Mag, Ruel Fox gave us a chasing, with only a Gazza free kick to cheer the 21.000 crowd.
1988/89 0-2. Unable to win for love nor money, Norwich arrived at SJP whilst flying high. Robert Fleck was our chief tormentor. Watched by 22,809. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYjf3ZSqjs8
1993/94 3-0, We were dismantling most teams at home this season and Norwich simply caught us on a good day. Watched by 32,000. See Rob Lee’s goal here after 1 min 40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn-b5q2wrRk
1994/95 3-0 again, with Peter Beardsley scoring a sensational goal. 35,500 had the pleasure.
See it here after 8 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz3cLW8ippw
2004/05 2-2. 2-0 up, we threw the lead away. Bentley’s goal squirming under Shay Given’s body. Bellamy and Hughes for us. There was a rumour frenzy about Wayne Rooney signing, 3 days later, Bobby Robson was sacked. 51,500 the attendance.
2011/12 1-0 to us. Papiss Demba Cisse with the winner. 47,800 inside SJP.
See Cisse’s goal here, approx 2 mins. (Actually, Cisse can watch this too)
Could be absolutely anything!
Elmander has caused us bother in the past. Redman and Pilkington can both create problems from wide areas. Snodgrass seems to be pivotal to them and whilst Hooper is every inch a Scottish league footballer, you can bet your last penny he’ll score on Saturday. Expect ex Mag, Bassong to be jeered at every opportunity.