Norwich City need to beat Aston Villa, don’t they?
The Canaries have taken the lead in five of their last six games and yet they have only managed to convert that into five points out of a possible eighteen.
City are, of course, struggling badly to take their chances and to put teams away but when you look at this Boxing Day trip to Villa Park, it is a game that they simply have to win. Having been beaten 1-5 at Carrow Road by the Villains a couple of months ago, a draw, simply not losing isn’t going to cut it at this point.
I know we shouldn’t be talking about must-win games in December but that, I’m afraid, is where we’re at. Aston Villa sit three points above Norwich with 17th placed Southampton a further three points ahead still.
It’s not that City have been playing badly, for the most part. The two first halves against Wolves and Sheffield United at Carrow Road were excellent and in both games, the Canaries should’ve been much further ahead than just a solitary goal.
Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, seems to be what we’re dealing with at the moment. I was talking with my brother the other day and, commenting on some of these decent performances, he remarked that “Norwich could go down and not be one of the three worst teams.”
That might sound ridiculous because after all, if you don’t get enough points then you deserve to be relegated but I could sort of see what he meant.
Basically that Norwich are a good team, it’s just that they are struggling to see games out. The consistent theme being that we concede too many goals from set-pieces and that is costing us at the moment. Goals from open play haven’t been such a problem of late and maybe, just maybe, the return of Grant Hanley might help there.
There is a long-running school of thought on social media that Hanley isn’t good enough. Considering that last Saturday was his first game for several months, I thought he did pretty well. He was marking Raul Jimenez quite often and did okay, he also had to stand up Adama Traore a couple of times too and he dealt with him, which is no easy task.
Bottom line is he is likely to be an asset rather than a hindrance in the weeks to come while Ben Godfrey is out injured.
Getting back to Boxing Day, we are now looking at a game that is as big as it gets, arguably the most important match of our season so far and we have to win it. No pressure lads.
Away from home, we have looked fairly good of late and another performance like the one we saw at Leicester should be enough to beat a Villa side who are in a horrible turn of form at the moment. They will also be without one of their best players, in my opinion, John McGinn who is out with a fractured ankle.
If you’re going, have a good day and stay safe.
Merry Christmas and On The Ball City!