13 months or so ago Gareth Bale’s two goals stole the headlines after our 2-0 win at Carrow Road but that distracted from what was one of our best team displays of the season. Luka tippy-tapped his way through the game rarely lending the ball to others for long before demanding it back as we ran quietly amok. That victory, like the one against Newcastle a few weeks later appeared to signal real intent and promise on our part but it was in fact, I think I’m right in saying, our last 3 points away from home until we won at the Reebok in April.
It’s been all change since then and it’s perfectly likely that only four of the eleven who started in white that evening (Walker, Benny, Parker and Bale) will be doing the same in this season’s equivalent outing such is the churn of the modern game. Since that win we’ve played Norwich three times, losing two and drawing the other thus the Canaries will feel with some justification that they have the measure of us.
Both sides suffered disappointing results at the weekend but whereas ours was (hopefully) just a blip punctuating a good run, Norwich’s was another knock back in a season that started so well. I’ve not checked but I presume they started on Saturday with a weakened line-up, something that’s not very likely against us of course, in fact the rumour appears to be that Sebastien Bassong, something of a talisman for them, is liable to be back in the side, whether he’ll have anyone to mark or not is a different kettle entirely. Propping Defoe up and wheeling him out El Cid style wouldn’t be the worst idea such would be the psychological boost to the home side should we turn up once again without a forward.
The lack of bodies in the box was one of the two main reasons we came off worse on Sunday, the other was the ridiculously square and slow defence. Everyone seems to agree that Lewis Holtby is a fine player, whether he’s good enough to solve either of these issues is very doubtful. For those travelling to Carrow Road a sight of the new signing would be a treat, I suspect the familiar wincing grimace of William Gallas is more likely however though AVB may plump for the beef of Dawson if Norwich start with the pork of Holt.
The speed with which knives were drawn and pointed in AVB’s direction after Sunday’s reverse was surprising and embarrassing. Inevitably the press pack wolves gave Villas-Boas a hard time post-match at Leeds but even pro-Spurs broadcasters like Paul Hawksbee joined in to question his comments re the need for another striker. Presumably the manager knew that Holtby was on the verge of signing early and, whilst he’s presumably not going to turn down the chance of signing someone better than we already have, fitting Holtby in to the side probably means reverting to one up front most of the time and there’s only room for a certain number of disgruntled non-playing forwards at any one time.
Anyway, all being well the return of Dembele and Defoe and the introduction of Holtby will get us the result and silence the grumblers.
Neil Swarbrick is the referee. COYS.
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