April 18 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 15, 2013
Three successive draws have left the Canaries sitting 14th in the Premier League, and now only six points separate themselves and Reading who sit in the last relegation spot.
From West Ham – who are 11th – downwards every club is in the fight to stay in the top flight. These are worrying times I’m sure for some Norwich City fans having now gone nine games in the league without a win. Even more alarming is the fact that the team have scored only once in their last six games.
I know the lads haven’t conceded in their last two games and once again they look very solid defensively, but to win games you have to score goals, and at the minute Norwich City are finding it very difficult to find the net.
It’s not as if the forward players are missing chance after chance. They just aren’t getting as many chances as they probably should be. Against QPR scoring opportunities were few and far between. In fact, apart from Wes’ first half effort, which was superbly saved by Julio Cesar, I can’t remember another worthwhile opening being created.
It was the same last Saturday against Fulham. There were four efforts on goal, none of which really tested Mark Schwarzer. Is that enough from a side which is playing at home against another struggling team that can’t buy wins on their travels?
Fulham even had more possession than the Canaries. Martin Jol’s men enjoyed 57pc of the ball, which is quite disappointing as you’re not facing one of the top teams, or say a Swansea or Liverpool who set out to retain the ball. I’ve heard people accuse Chris Hughton of sending his team out to draw as many games as he can, hoping the boys will draw enough games in order to secure survival. I very much doubt this is the case, as Chris wants to win every game he goes into regardless of the opposition.
However, of late Norwich have been more defensively minded making them increasingly difficult to break down, inevitably causing the attacking unit to suffer which has been clear to see over the last few weeks.
This week Chris decided to take the lads away to the Middle East for some warm weather training. It’s become an increasingly popular destination for Premier League clubs to go to in the last few years, especially at this time of the season. Norwich City won’t be the only club there this week with Sunderland, Swansea and West Ham all taking advantage of a free weekend (excluding Swansea who face Liverpool in the league on Sunday) having all been knocked out of the FA Cup.
Some supporters will question the manager’s decision to take the lads out to Abu Dhabi, especially when they haven’t won in nine games. Personally I think it’s a good time to take them to a different environment and some decent weather, surroundings in which you don’t mind being outside for three hours training both morning and afternoon. The days of teams going abroad and partying more than they are training are a thing of the past, and while the lads will probably have a night out while they were out there I’m sure Chris won’t let them go over board and everyone will have been ready for training the next morning.
If the lads return from their little break refreshed and raring to go then Chris’ decision to take them away will be fully justified.
• Congratulations to Wes Hoolahan on earning his third cap last week for the Republic of Ireland.
It certainly wasn’t before time as the little Irishman has been outstanding for Norwich City.
I was driving back from Swansea last Thursday listening to TalkSport and people were ringing in raving about his performance.
Ex-pros who had played for the Republic were asking the question why he hasn’t been involved until now.
I’ve got a feeling he’s going to be part of that Irish squad for the foreseeable future, and his goal against Poland now means he’s scored more goals at international level than yours truly.
• LET’S HOPE GAZZA FINDS A WAY TO DESTROY HIS DEMONS
I was saddened, like I’m sure most people were last week, to hear of Paul Gascoigne attending a charity function clearly under the influence of alcohol.
The images of him shaking and slurring as he went through his questions and answers session was quite disturbing. He’s had a problem with drink for almost two decades now and is in desperate need of help.
He’s quite clearly a shadow of the Gazza we all knew a few years ago when he was an absolute genius on the football field.
I played against him when he was at both Newcastle in his early days and after his move to Spurs, and believe me he was one of the best players these shores has ever seen.
One of the problems with Gazza is that since an early age he’s surrounded himself with people who are there just for one thing; to take full advantage of his fame and the fortune he once had.
For some reason footballers attract these type of hangers on, and you have to be careful with who your friends are. Paul has always been a bit of a clown and a joker, but the situation he’s in right now is no joke.
In November 2005 football lost another genius in similar circumstances. George Best had battled alcoholism for many years and in the end it cost him his life. If Gazza doesn’t start listening to people, and most importantly helping himself, he could end up leaving us far too early.
He’s taken a step in the right direction by attending a clinic in Arizona having been sent there by some good friends.
Let’s all hope that it’s the first step in his rehabilitation and the start of Gazza destroying the demons he quite clearly has.