Friday, December 19, 2008

Norwich preview

For the first time in a long while on Monday, there were more positives to take out of a Charlton match, than negatives. Unfortunately there was also only one point, still relegation form.

I saw the game on a somewhat dodgy satellite feed which kept freezing at vital moments. Either that, or our midfield is even more stagnant than I had feared.

The biggest positive for me was the performance of our front two, and not merely because they both scored. We finally appeared to have stumbled upon a pairing where the constituents compliment rather than offset each other.

Gray's well taken goal in particular was precisely the type which presumably attracted Pards to pay a big fee for the Scot, whilst Waghorn's off-the-ball running all night eventually earned a deserved reward.

It is notable that they started together at QPR in Parky's first match, in a team performance which was reportedly equally promising. Waghorn was removed on 62 minutes in favour of Varney, a player whose anonymous presence on Monday reminded us what we'd been 'missing'.

However before we get carried away, one should not overlook the missed chances nor the two silly penalty box mistakes that led to Derby's goals. Bouazza's miss when clean through summed up the frustration that fans have with the Algerian, opting for the spectacular finish when subtlety was required. Arguably it cost us the points.

Nonetheless, there was a notable sense of new post-match optimism in light of the improved performance, and fans continue to warm to Parky's more down-to-earth style. An impressive act to have pulled off after just two points from his five games at the helm.

Unfortunately all of the talk of 'fight' and 'spirit' will be meaningless as the games tick by, unless it can be converted into wins soon. The League table suggests Norwich away presents such an opportunity, but how many times have said that over the course of the last 14 games?

Our best hope will perhaps be that the bottom five are cut adrift, and thus the required points for survival fall to a more reasonable 44 or 45 for example, rather than the 50+ total that I am fearing and which frankly looks unattainable at this point.

The Canaries have shown a degree of relative stability over the past couple of decades, punching above their weight in the early-1990s (finishing 3rd in the 1992/93 Premier League), and enjoying some famous European nights.

They won the Championship title in 2003/4 but went straight back down, and have consolidated their position ever since unlike many others with a similar experience.

Norwich benefit in my view from being the only club in a reasonably affluent region, thus helping to explain their consistently strong attendances at their modern Carrow Road stadium. The central location of the stadium and the relatively short trip, makes this one of the more pleasant away days on the Championship calendar.

Glenn Roeder is one of those managers whom I find totally unconvincing, his somewhat awkward persona suggesting he would struggle to motivate, a view somewhat backed up by a managerial record that is at best mixed, exemplified again this season.

There is little to suggest Parky will do anything other than name an unchanged side, leaving again the bulk of the creativity to Sam and Bouazza, with the rather similar pair of Semedo and Bailey asked to do a shielding job infront of the back four.

If he was to spring a selection surprise, it would likely be dropping Waghorn in order to play a 4-5-1 which crowds the central midfield even further (perhaps with Matt Holland), but frees up the wingmen from virtually any defensive responsibility.

NY Addick predicts: Norwich 1 (Lita), Charlton 1 (Gray). Att: 22, 981.


At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very surprised if Parky doesn't name an unchanged side. However, the weakness is clearly central midfield. The answer here might be to include either Shelvey or Wright on the bench giving the manager the option of bringing someone on who can actually pass the ball if keeping possession proves to be a problem again.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Kings Hill Addick said...

I think Shelvey is being kept hidden away until the end of January when I read he is 17. If he is not given too many chances to shine it is likely he will not be tempted away before he signs a contract with us.


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