Positive approach for Norwich City can do wonders in crunch clash

Goalkeeper Mark Bunn is booked for his protests at Arsenal's penalty last weekend. Picture: Paul Che

Goalkeeper Mark Bunn is booked for his protests at Arsenal's penalty last weekend. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It’s now a five-game season for Norwich City Football Club, it’s as simple as that.

Somehow, they need to find at least three points from the next five games to maintain their Premier League status.

It’s now a fight between six clubs as to who will join Reading and QPR as the third club to drop down to the Championship. Everyone from Newcastle in 13th to Wigan in the final relegation spot will be giving everything to try and make sure they avoid the trap door.

Norwich still sit four points above the drop zone, but with just one win in their last 16 league games confidence must be very low. It’s hard to imagine the pressure the lads must be under going into every game.

I’m still confident that the club won’t get relegated at the end of the season, but it will be survival by the skin of their teeth. Three of the last five fixtures are going to be massive. The two home games against Reading and Aston Villa, and the away fixture at the Britannia Stadium could make or break Chris Hughton’s men.


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Somehow the lads need to pick up three points and hopefully more from these games, which would all but assure survival.

The lads were very unlucky to lose at The Emirates on Saturday. Having taken the lead with another well-taken goal from Michael Turner, they looked more than confident of holding the Gunners at bay and bringing three huge points back to Norwich.

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However, the game was to change in the 85th minute when Arsenal were awarded a lifeline. Kei Kamara was adjudged to have pulled Olivier Giroud’s shirt from a corner kick that should never have originally been awarded – Aaron Ramsey slid in with Robert Snodgrass on the Norwich goal-line, the ball going out of play with the final touch clearly coming off the Welsh international. However the linesman, who was no more than five yards from the incident, awarded an Arsenal corner kick.

This was to be the same linesman who, seconds later, flagged as he spotted Kamara pulling at Giroud’s shirt from all of 50 yards, with plenty of bodies between him and the players involved. It was a massive decision that the big clubs often prosper from in home matches.

Kei was pulling Giroud’s shirt, and you’re always taking a risk when you do so. Nevertheless, it seemed it was six of one and half a dozen of the other, with Giroud also having a hold of Kei’s shirt.

Mikel Arteta scored from the spot and with the momentum in Arsenal’s favour they went on to score another two in the last two minutes of the game.

The third goal once again came from a very poor decision, with the referee’s assistant failing to spot Theo Walcott a yard offside before he created the assist for Lukas Podolski to fire home.

The lads have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They need to dust themselves down and go again tomorrow against Reading, in what is the biggest game there’s been at Carrow Road for quite a while. Reading are all but down, sitting rock bottom of the league 10 points from safety. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy against Nigel Adkins’ men, but I fully expect the lads to go out there and win the game.

Reading have lost seven of their last eight games, and the draw last Saturday was the only point they’ve won since February 2 when they beat Sunderland.

I would love it if Chris was to be positive tomorrow by playing two up top, with two natural wingers to provide the ammunition.

From what I hear, a lot of City supporters would like this too, with many thinking they’ve been too negative at times this season, especially at Carrow Road.

Against Everton a few weeks ago the manager decided to play two forwards, and the final outcome was positive.

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It was a superb night at Carrow Road on Tuesday night for the second leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Over 9,000 fans turned up to cheer Neil Adams and his young lads on, and they didn’t disappoint. It was a very tense game with Forest drawing level in the first half.

It was to get even harder in the second half when the lads were reduced to 10 men, but they showed great character and desire to hold on and to take the tie to penalties.

Penalties aren’t easy when you’re the most experienced professional, so for those young lads to step forward and score all five spot-kicks was a great achievement.

I’m delighted for Neil and it shows that once again the club is producing good young talented footballers, which at the end of the day is the key to the future of any football club.

I couldn’t go to the FA Youth Cup tie as I was working at the Cardiff v Charlton game, a match in which a point would see the Welsh side secure promotion.

I had a good chat with Malky before the game and I, like all of you Norwich fans, was delighted to see the big man get the point they needed.

It’s what Malky and Cardiff deserve as they have been the most consistent side in the Championship all season. They have been top of the league since the middle of November and I’m sure they will go on to win the league.

I bet Malky can’t wait for next season to start, but there is a lot of work to be done from now until the start of the season in August for the Bluebirds.

One thing for sure is that Malky will be really looking forward to returning to Carrow Road next season, and three points tomorrow for the Canaries will go a long way to ensuring that fixture happens.

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