TV man gives his view on champions visit to Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 September 2019
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ITV Anglia sports reporter Donovan Blake is in the ‘opposition’ chair ahead of the Carrow Road clash against Manchester City
qSo, Vincent Kompany had his testimonial... do City miss him?
aI think only time will tell ultimately. On one hand the start Manchester City have made this season you'd say probably not. On the other you'd say yes, because we haven't actually been water-tight at the back. When fit, Kompany gave the defensive unit a reassurance and solidity which was lacking on occasions. The run-in to the Premier League title last season owed much to his presence as well. Nine wins in the nine games he played in from late February until the end of the season. They'll definitely miss his presence in the dressing room though.
qThere is a gallows humour developing among some Norwich fans ahead of kick-off ... a rout or could there be a surprise?
aOnce Norwich got over the shock of that first 45 minutes against Liverpool they haven't looked out of place on their return to the Premier League. The big worry is with the injuries to key players at the back; will those coming in be able to withstand the threats Manchester City will pose? The fact that Norwich pose a threat with their forward-thinking players should give Canaries fans confidence.
qIs Raheem Sterling the best player in the country?
aGood question. He's certainly been outstanding for both club and country in the opening few games. His performances for England throughout against Bulgaria and in the first half against Kosovo in the recent Euro 2020 group qualifiers were incredible. There was a debate on TalkSport the other day about whether we should now be bracketing Sterling with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The argument against was the fact both Ronaldo and Messi have been performing at the peak of their powers for many years, while Sterling's just about reaching continued consistency. One of the best rather than THE best in my view. A certain Virgil van Dijk seems to be the one to overtake.
qDo Manchester City have any weak spots?
As I mentioned earlier the defence can be a little porous at times. Brighton gave them a few problems before they were finally overrun. There are times when I'm biting my hand when they play from the back or when the full-backs or wing-backs lose the ball high up the pitch. But there's often risk in the way they play.
qOf all Manchester City's dangermen, who is most dangerous?
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aTo me it's Kevin de Bruyne, followed very closely by Sterling and Sergio Aguero. I know they managed to win the title in the end but De Bruyne's absence for long periods last season did look apparent at times. The range of passes he produces is vast and he carries the ball with purpose. He looked brilliant for Belgium against Scotland in midweek.
qAnd what about Norwich - who do you see as their most influential player?
aGetting the ball to Teemu Pukki is obviously a key factor. Emi Buendia was the master creator in the Championship last season, while Todd Cantwell has impressed so far this season. Either or both working in tandem, you could say but overall Norwich's success has been the sum of all its parts, and that's how they influenced the majority of their games in the promotion campaign.
qYou know plenty about the Canaries, given their injury problems, who starts alongside Ben Godfrey in the centre of defence?
aNo Timm Klose, no Christophe Zimmermann, will Grant Hanley recover in time? If yes it's Hanley. If not, you're looking at someone who's not a natural centre back. Marco Stiepermann has played at the back in the past. Can Philip Heise do a job although he's a left-sided defender? Lots to ponder.
qWill Manchester City win the title?
aI said before a ball was kicked that Liverpool would pip City this season, and I still think that's the case. I'm hoping it isn't of course!
qWill Norwich stay in the Premier League?
aEarly days I know - four games isn't a true guide - but I've seen enough to think that yes they will.
qAnd, finally, a prediction please?
aI predict goals, but I'm rubbish at predicting a scoreline. Maybe a 3-1 or a 4-2 to Manchester City.