Morison looking sharp for the Arsenal challenge
Well, that’s the last international fixture for the year – and I bet most managers and supporters will be thankful for that.
I was a bit surprised that not more of the Norwich lads got the call to go on international duty.
I think the likes of John Ruddy and Marc Tierney will be disappointed they weren’t named in their respective national squads, but with both England and the Republic Of Ireland reaching the European Championships, to be held in Ukraine and Poland, I’m sure both will be doing all they can to force their way into the 23-man squads.
I watched Wales beat Norway 4-1 last Saturday in a top class performance. Both Steve Morison and Andrew Crofts started the game for Gary Speed’s Welsh side and both did superbly in the first half. In the second they both struggled to find the form they had showed in the opening 45 minutes. More importantly neither picked up an injury, which is the most important thing from a Norwich City perspective.
So it’s Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter. I have so much admiration for their manager Arsene Wenger.
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I know they haven’t won a trophy since 2005, but his team play the right way and he loves giving young players who have come through the Arsenal footballing system a chance to show what they are capable of, and no matter how things are progressing he sticks to his principles. He’s not one to go out and spend millions upon millions of the club’s money in order to try and buy success; he would rather use the club’s fantastic worldwide scouting system to attract some of the best young talent on this planet to his football club.
Out of a total of 49 meetings, Norwich have beaten the Gunners on only 10 occasions.
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This statistic shows what a hard game this is going to be, especially when Arsenal are at the top of their game, winning five of their last six. With the Canaries taking only two points from their last three games most people will have this down as an away banker.
But we all know that Paul Lambert’s men love upsetting the apple cart and they will want nothing more than to prove people wrong tomorrow. In all fairness, the lads have lost only once at Carrow Road this season – against West Bromwich Albion in a game in which I thought they deserved to come away with something, so there’s no reason why they can’t go out and get a positive result against the Gunners.
They will certainly be hoping to do better than the reserve team did on Tuesday afternoon when they made the trip down to London Colney to play Arsenal’s second string in a game the yellows lost 4-2.
Tomorrow I’ll be in South Wales again, working at the Swansea v Manchester United game in the late kick-off (5.30pm). It will be the toughest test yet at the Liberty Stadium for the Swans and they are going to have to be at their very best to keep their unbeaten home record intact.
Finally, I would like to wish Chris Martin a successful time on loan at Crystal Palace.
He’s had a tremendous couple of seasons for the club, but he has found himself down the pecking order over these last couple of months.
Dougie Freedman and Lennie Lawrence are good footballing people and I’m sure he will learn a great deal while he’s down in South London with the Eagles.