In a rare piece of good news in these late days of the 2019/20 season, Daniel Farke announced at his pre-Burnley press conference that Christoph Zimmermann has been back in training for the last couple of days and could be involved in the squad for this game.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) July 17, 2020
Zimmermann has been missing for a large portion of this season, along with Grant Hanley, absences that have been keenly felt in the Canaries’ back-line, so having him back is good news, even if he will not be fit enough to start. Otherwise, there are no new injury concerns.
Farke said “We always want to be in the top 26 teams in this country. We want to become an established Premier League club. Hopefully we can return as soon as possible and stay for longer than we did this season.”
I’m not really sure how I feel about that statement. Is it just honesty from Farke or should he be more ambitious with his choice of words? I want my club to be in the top 17 teams in the country as an established side in the top-flight.
Realistically, the game against Burnley represents City’s last opportunity to win a game in the Premier League this season. After that, a final day trip to the Etihad Stadium awaits. It will be David Silva’s last game for Manchester City and a win will be demanded by the fan base, the players and of course, Pep Guardiola. No punches will be pulled, you can bet your house on that.
Zimmermann’s return should be a boost for the squad and his presence in the dressing room can hopefully help lift the mood, which has seemingly been low for some time. Burnley have been on a terrific run of late, with just one defeat in their last fourteen games. Sean Dyche has assembled a formidable defensive unit that also concede very few goals too. As we score very few goals, that doesn’t bode well.
Chis Wood is a huge threat in the air so our centre-backs will need to be strong and jump high to deal with him. There’s been a bit of criticism of Timm Klose of late but as disappointing as some of his performances have been, I try to remember that it will have been hard To come back and play at the highest level after eighteen months out.
Another couple of players that have taken pelters on social media lately are Lukas Rupp and Josip Drmic. To say they divide opinion is perhaps underselling it but I try to tell myself that these players have moved to a new country both on and off the field and are hopefully just taking time to adapt. Next season in the Championship should show us a lot more of what they are about.
Anyway, Farke spoke about them and had nothing but praise, using stats to make his point as he often does.
“When you’re not winning games or scoring goals, you have to accept criticism. Josip and Lukas are more connected with this season, it’s not like they were involved in creating special memories last season, but for me it’s important to stay balanced and judge them in a fair way.
Judging Josip at Chelsea, no other striker has covered as much distance in terms of work load. He had to press, win defensive headers and he does this. He created set pieces against Rudiger and Zouma.
No other midfield player in the whole league covered more distance than Lukas on the day against Chelsea. It’s easier for these players to shine last season when we dominated possession, but it’s the same for everyone.
My message is ‘accept the criticism, keep going and the sun will shine again’.
Let’s hope so, eh?!