Still plenty to applaud in Norwich City’s performances

So after visiting Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, Anfield, and the Etihad Stadium, the Canaries are 11th in the Premier League and there is definitely no need to press the panic button after the heavy defeat to Roberto Mancini’s high-flyers.

They have been unstoppable this season scoring 48 goals in 14 league games, so I’m sure Paul Lambert and his players won’t dwell on Saturday’s result.

They’ve had a week to dust themselves down, get it out of their system and move onto the next game, which is Newcastle United at Carrow Road tomorrow.

It’s been a great start to the season for Alan Pardew’s Toon Army and they’ve proved a lot of people wrong, including yours truly.

I thought at the start of the season they would struggle and be towards the bottom half of the table. How wrong I was.

The wheels have come off Newcastle’s bandwagon in the last couple of weeks where they have lost two of their last three games, taking a creditable 1-1 away to Manchester United.

In all fairness to the Magpies, the two they’ve lost have been against Manchester City and Chelsea, so no disgrace there.

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They’ve lost only once away from home in their seven games so it’s going to be a very tough 90 minutes once again for Norwich City.

The lads have lost three of their last four away games and this puts more pressure on them winning their home games.

Last time around at Carrow Road they rolled up their sleeves to get a fantastic three points against QPR, and they will have to follow suit tomorrow.

Last Friday we witnessed the draw for the 2012 European Championship, which sadly Wales once again missed out on.

However, England and the Republic of Ireland did qualify to go to Poland and Ukraine next June.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s men face a very difficult task to get out of a very tough Group C which will see them play Croatia, Italy, and reigning European Championship winners Spain – the nation which start as pre-tournament favourites.

England fared better by being drawn in Group D alongside the co-hosts Ukraine, Sweden and the French.

I fancy England to qualify from the group as winners although I’m sure Laurent Blanc’s young and talented French squad will beg to differ.

The big decision for Fabio Capello is does he take Wayne Rooney?

Having seen the group, and the fact that the England striker’s ban has been reduced to two matches from three after an appeal to Uefa, I think he has to as Rooney is unquestionably the most talented player at his disposal.

A fit and fresh Wayne Rooney, introduced in the knockout stages will cause a massive threat to any opposition.

Talking of cup competitions, the draw for the third round of the FA Cup – the best national cup competition in the world – was made last Sunday. Norwich I’m sure will fancy their chances with a home tie against Eddie Howe’s improving Burnley side on January 7. But, like the rest of the yellow army, we would all give up a good cup run if it guarantees Premier League football again next season, and three points tomorrow will be much appreciated.