Christmas, the cup, injuries and who's up next?

Christmas, the cup, injuries and who's up next?

Up until Christmas, Norwich City had produced nine wins, two draws and only one defeat with the loss being an extremely unfortunate League Cup away defeat to Bournemouth.

From Boxing Day the return has been only two draws and two defeats, the loss arguably resultant from our first piece of bad luck for a long time. 3-2 in the lead against a competitive Derby with only eight minutes left, then a floodlight failure, a 25 minute break and finally losing 4-3 in injury time.

As usual we still had a two great chances to draw the game before the final whistle.

The recent defeat involved a cup exit, this time making eight changes, losing captain Grant Hanley to a red card, being the better team and losing 1-0 in injury time.

Anybody who leaves Carrow Road early this season is a fool! Two draws involved coming back from 3-0 down against Forest, as usual levelling in extra time and a tough encounter with the wrongly placed Brentford made up the luck warm Yuletide return.

A real missed bag of performances and incidents, the Canary induced coronary attacks must be at an all season high already.

It has been noticeable that Farke's post match interviews are now less calm and non committal with several mentions about poor decisions and bad luck, I wonder if the pressure is building?

Daniel Farke, unlike last season appears desperate to keep as settled a side as possible. We also appear to have the mindset to win every single game, recently one could argue it may have cost us points. The players have an instilled belief they will score one more than the opposition.

City fans are concerned not just about West Brom but also big games against Birmingham, Sheffield Utd, Leeds and Ipswich, all coming up after Saturday. The picture should be so much clearer after this batch of games on the 10th February as to the Premier League capabilities of Norwich City can be better assessed.

I expect City to play the same way on Saturday, attempt to keep the ball, move forward quickly and score more than the opposition.

The standard question asked asked after every cup exit is are we better concentrating on the cup and will it effect the outcome of the season? I sit firmly in the 'let's win every game' mentality. Success breads success and winning can become a habit.

Having not won the cup game, City have now not won in four which is worrying.

It is interesting that whilst Albion scrapped a win against Wigan and Derby have a reply at Southampton, City are in the same position as Forest, Leeds and the Blades having been knocked out. I am convinced that a strong City lineup would have swept Pompy aside. Time will tell if it was a blessing, I don't think it will make any difference.

Whilst we have been scoring goals for fun, is it therefore to the detriment of conceding goals? Is it the goalkeeper, the defenders? Are the wing backs leaving the team exposed? Is the midfield acting as a good enough shield? Is zonal making the issue? The defence has been a little unsettled recently with knocks to Timm Klose, the current absence of Jamal Lewis, Grant Hanley just returning after a long term injury and the sickness of Cristoph Zimmermann, the later has most definitely been playing whilst not 100% fit and it has cost us.

The collection of goals conceded can also be associated with the loss of the holding player and quick distributor in Moritz Leitner. When Mo is playing, the defence benefits greatly as his passing puts pressure on the opposition and therefore relieves defensive duties for City's back men.

My prediction for the Hawthorns is 2-2. Another game with plenty of excitement with lots of twists and turns to keep us on the edge of our seats.

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