Opposition View: Norwich City

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This weeks Opposition View comes from the editor of the City of Yellows blog, Richard. We discuss how the season has gone so far for both Norwich City and Aston Villa as well as today’s big game.

How would you rate your start to the season and what was the aim before the season began?

Norwich City have had a tough start this season with Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea all faced in the first five games. Before the season started I had expected more than six points. The reality is much different as nobody expected the horrendous injury problems, Zimmerman and Hernandez out before we kicked a ball and currently around 10-12 unavailable for selection.

How did Norwich fans feel about Teemu Pukki when he first signed? Did any of you contemplate he would be the player he is right now?

Teemu Pukki has been a goal machine for NorwichThe football world, including ourselves, were not expecting a free transfer 30 goal striker to be joining Norwich City, they are a very rare gift. Being relatively unknown in the UK other than his unsuccessful stint at Celtic, it was worth exploring YouTube to watch the many quality finishes produced at his last club Brondby. Virtually all of his goals were quality finishes and from all angles. You can see he is a natural finisher as he often does not need to look up when shooting, his positional play is class and Teemu is proven at international level who works his socks off for the cause.

A lot has been made about Delia’s famous “Where are you” rant over the years. How is she perceived by Norwich supporters?

Queen Delia is in the vast majority of fans hearts well-loved. She is passionate and enjoys a bottle of red prematch which probably accounted for her on-pitch performance. She is one of us. A few whines that we are speculating to accumulate success. Using Bolton as an example of an ex-Premier League regular who lived beyond their means and nearly folded recently, I don’t want this to happen to Norwich.

We are spending money on prospects who are filling our Under 23 squad or being loaned out. The fruits of our youth policy are there to see in Lewis, Aarons, Cantwell and Godfrey, more will follow hopefully.

Norwich spent a reported £3.75 million over the summer. Do you feel this could turn out to be your downside come to the end of the season and do you believe you have enough to survive?

Time will tell, the club was Champions ahead of schedule and so maybe it’s too early to expect that we stay up? We could look at Fulham who invested in excess of £100m and failed. Norwich was promoted based on a tight-knit team ethic with no stars. To bring in big money footballers would upset the existing group.

Villa, on the other hand, spent £133 million however we lost more than 10 players during the summer. What are your views looking in from the outside?

After the apparent financial issues experienced at Villa following relegation, I am really surprised that the club has spent big again. It could be justified if safety is secured.

Sunderland is another example of a big-spending club, now in League One with a huge wage budget and poor players on long term contracts. Norwich have gone for stability with the nucleus of last season’s squad being retained. Watford have proved in the past the capability to frequently change managers and assemble squads from every corner of the world excepting this season of course where the wheels appear to have come off?

Villa fans believe they have been lucky bar two games this season with results. Have you seen enough of Villa to think they have enough about them to survive?

McGinn has impressedThe Villa squad looks pretty strong and contains players with good characteristics and with motivation to make an impact. They have been successful in keeping Grealish which is a key positive.

I am a fan of McGinn and Hourihane who provide energy, assists and goals to the team. I hope ex Tractor boy Ming plays the ball and not the player on Saturday, we have enough injuries already! I expect Villa to survive comfortably mid-table.

Some Norwich fans seem to take a hatred towards Villa when Paul Lambert joined Villa. Do they still have this or have they moved on now?

My association with Villa goes back to 1975 when we played each other in the League Cup final at Wembley. On that occasion, Villa had nicked Ron Saunders who then came back to haunt City. Paul Lambert like Ron did an amazing job at Norwich and both left impressive legacies. In both cases the fans were more disappointed with the managers in the manner they left the club rather than have any gripe with Aston Villa.

Paul is single-minded, shows no loyalty and doesn’t do politics. His attitude in playing us as Ipswich manager was no different. We enjoyed not just beating Town 3-0 but also seeing Lambert throw his toys out and get sent off… happy days.

There is plenty of respect in how Villa Park received Norwich on the last game of the season to secure the Championship. A magnificent stadium to lift the trophy.

If you could sign one Villa player to improve what you currently have at Norwich, who would it be and why?

Based on last season and his start to the Premier League, I will have to go for the bargain Hibernian man John McGinn. I believe he has scored three goals and produced an assist already this season. He has a great shot on him and especially from outside the box. His stature and personality would fit seamlessly into the City squad.

What three clubs do you think will eventually get relegated this season and why?

Watford who are struggling to get going and got well and truly stuffed by Manchester City. Newcastle United who will not recover from losing Benitez, Steve Bruce is not the answer and one other which might be the Canaries.

Predictions for this weekends fixture?

It looks like to survive, home form will be the key. Carrow Road is still a tough place to get a result and the atmosphere generated has been brilliant. Villa have found this to be the case on the last four occasions to Norfolk. My heart wants a win desperately especially after the last two away defeats. My head says a draw.

We have so many players out, especially in defence. Third choice keeper McGovern will be in goal, Amadou, a midfielder could be playing at centre back again for the third game, if Lewis is injured, the left-back position could see yet another change, it’s a good time to play the Canaries.

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