How will Norwich City line up at Brentford?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke travels to Brentford hoping to discover the winning formula for his Norwich City side in the Premier League.
A 2-1 home defeat to Leeds United last weekend did little to ease the pressure or speculation surrounding his own position, with the Canaries winless in 10 attempts so far this season.
They travel to a Brentford side who have lost three successive games in the league and are suffering with injury concerns of their own, with City summer target Kristoffer Ajer set to miss the game this afternoon.
Norwich are set to be without Grant Hanley (groin) and Todd Cantwell, who remains out of the first-team picture and featured for the U23s at Carrow Road on Friday evening.
Defender Ozan Kabak is a major doubt with illness.
After seven weeks without getting a single minute on the pitch for his loan club and the Canaries failing to produce a victory in that time, Billy Gilmour must be wondering what on earth he has to do to get back into the side.
The Scottish international has been an unused substitute in three of the last four matches despite his obvious technical ability.
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There are growing frustrations around his lack of football, with Thomas Tuchel hoping to see him on a more consistent basis for City in the weeks to come. Given Farke's message in his pre-match press conference about the need to return to possession-based football, that could mean a return for Gilmour.
Mathias Normann's growing influence in midfield would allow the Scot to take a more advanced position in the midfield. For a period of their cup clash against Liverpool, Gilmour's quality in possession added some much-needed attacking thrust.
City and Farke in particular fought hard to sign the highly-rated midfielder on loan this summer - now is the time for him to find a spot in the side.
Back to a four?
Norwich returned to a back four whilst in possession against Leeds United last weekend and the opening hour yielded a more energetic performance.
Farke may be forced to persist with that approach owed to injuries to defensive duo Grant Hanley and Ozan Kabak. The latter could even feature against the Bees this afternoon but is a major doubt after suffering from glandular fever.
That will likely offer Andrew Omobamidele a return to the heart of defence and an immediate start for Ben Gibson following his one-match suspension.
Containing the prolific Ivan Toney will be a difficult task for the City defenders this afternoon, but one that needs completing if they are going to return to Norfolk with three points.
Perhaps more interesting is what Farke decides to do at left-back. Last weekend, he left both Dimitris Giannoulis and Brandon Williams on the bench and Omobamidele was thrown into that position.
A shortage of central options means it is likely that the Irishman will revert to the heart of the defence. Will Farke opt for Giannoulis' attacking qualities or offer a lifeline to Williams?
Brentford are suffering from injuries and a lack of confidence themselves after three successive defeats in the Premier League.
Burnley were the latest to land a heavy blow on Thomas Frank's side, with Sean Dyche's 4-2-2-2/4-4-2 system causing the Bees no end of problems at Turf Moor last weekend.
Matt Lowton had the freedom to go and affect proceedings from an attacking perspective. The right-back got on the scoresheet and caused problems all afternoon for Brentford left-wing back Rico Henry and defender Ethan Pinnock.
If Norwich could replicate that formula and unleash Max Aarons' attacking qualities down the right hand side, then they may offer a fresh attacking threat in this fixture.
Predicted Norwich City XI: Krul; Aarons, Omobamidele, Gibson, Giannoulis; Normann, McLean, Gilmour; Rashica, Dowell; Pukki.
Subs: Gunn (GK), Williams, Sorensen, Rupp, Placheta, Tzolis, Lees-Melou, Idah, Sargent