So how much will West Ham United mix it up at Carrow Road?
Apparently it’s 108 miles from Carrow Road to Upton Park – which in my experience is close enough for there to be an edge when two clubs meet. That extra needle will be there again at Saturday lunchtime I’m sure, when City and the Hammers face each other for the first time in competition since January 2006.
Their 46 previous meetings have been evenly shared, with United just shading it on 17 wins; 14 draws. Indeed, taking away 1966 and any reinforced complexes, I’m not sure there is much between the two clubs. Certainly the respective fortunes have fluctuated similarly.
What will be interesting to see this weekend is how much energy and momentum is on the pitch.
West Ham should still be bouncing after their play-off promotion last season. They’ve spent money, and won well at home to Fulham before the international break.
They were also clearly buoyed by what I can only describe as the most obviously best-fitting piece of transfer business I have ever seen.
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Andy Carroll’s arrival on loan from Liverpool wasn’t so much the last piece of Sam Allardyce’s Upton Park puzzle – rather the remaining 4,999 to go with one marked ‘Premier League impact’. The striker’s debut was predictably impressive; his hamstring injury a blessing for those set to face the Hammers over the next six weeks.
How direct Allardyce plans to exploit Norwich will be interesting too: “The best way for a team to play is to have variation and we have shown that since the beginning of the season,” he said.
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“We go short, we go long, we go forward, we go back, we go diagonal and we go in behind. It makes us very hard to play against.”
Variation was a key to City’s success last season too. Discipline and organisation seem to be the greater attributes this. So City fans know first hand how hard opposing sides can find it to deal with what West Ham have at the moment (their Swansea loss aside).
And I’m banking on City ensuring they do deal with it.
We all know the mantra – there are no easy games… Well after West Ham, City’s run to November sees them travel to Newcastle, Chelsea and Paul Lambert’s Villa, while hosting Liverpool and Arsenal at Carrow Road.
So however bubbly Big Sam’s Hammers are, Hughton’s City will need to hit them harder.