Norwich City lads helped Wales to a very respectable finish
Wales’ game in Bulgaria on Tuesday was one we needed to win and the three points we secured, added to our victory against Switzerland on Friday evening, meant we were in with a chance of finishing third in the group. As it was we just missed out – but it was an achievement I would never have thought possible after losing our opening four games of the qualifying campaign.
Steve Morison and Andrew Crofts played the majority of the game against the Swiss – both once again played very well in the red shirt – and started against the Bulgarians. In fact, five of Gary Speed’s starting eleven play for Norwich and Swansea, a strong indication of how well the two teams have done over the last couple of seasons.
Both are very evenly matched for tomorrow’s game at Carrow Road and both have a great chance of staying in the Premier League. Both games last year were top quality and a great advert for Championship football.
The Canaries won the game at Carrow Road 2-0, both goals coming late on in the game after David Cotterill missed a great opportunity to put the Swans ahead from a spot-kick, thanks largely to big John Ruddy’s impressive save.
The return game at the Liberty Stadium came a few weeks from the end of the season and was a massive game for both clubs, fighting tooth and nail for automatic promotion.
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Swansea won 3-0 but I thought the scoreline flattered the team from South Wales and was relatively harsh on City’s performance. However, the reaction Paul Lambert got from the lads would have pleased everyone connected with the club. As we know the team put a run of results together that would eventually see them get that second automatic position in front of the Swans, who finished third. The lads will be looking to put consecutive home wins together after their victory against Sunderland. Home form is going to be crucial for both clubs this season if they are to stay in this division.
I think both teams will go out to win the game as that’s how they have gone into every game so far this season, and all credit to both Paul and Brendan Rodgers for their positivity.
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Swansea will be looking for their first point on the road and will be hoping for a stronger performance than the 4-1 defeat they experienced at Stamford Bridge in their last away game.
I think the only positive they would have taken from the game that day would have been the fact that Ashley Williams scored their first and only goal away from home this season.
It’s a game I’m really looking forward to as both teams play the game the right way.
They like to keep the ball on the floor, building up from the back and through midfield. Both are strong in wide areas and I anticipate plenty of crosses into both penalty boxes which I’m sure will lead to goals being scored.
Finally, I’ve been asked to go on Football Focus tomorrow as it’s coming live from Carrow Road, which just demonstrates what an important game this is. They want my perspective on Norwich City, and don’t you worry, I’ve got plenty of positive things to tell them.