Opinion: Beating Manchester City is not Mission Impossible for Norwich City

Mission Possible? Mission Possible?

Friday, February 7, 2014
11:30 AM

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, Chris Hughton, is to find a way to stop Manchester City from embarrassing Norwich City again this season.

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Anthony Pilkington is congratulated after scoring the goal which saw Norwich City beat Manchester United 1-0 at Carrow Road last season. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdAnthony Pilkington is congratulated after scoring the goal which saw Norwich City beat Manchester United 1-0 at Carrow Road last season. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jose Mourinho found the tactical set-up to frustrate Manuel Pellegrini’s side when Chelsea became the first side to win at the Etihad this season on Monday night.

That 1-0 win was a masterclass of counter-attacking football from ‘The Special One’, with his team arguably unlucky to have not won by more goals, having struck the woodwork three times.

So can Hughton try to follow in the footsteps of Mourinho when Manchester City arrive at Carrow Road tomorrow?

Or will the backs-to-the-wall defensive approach which saw West Ham recently hold Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Upton Park, described by Mourinho as “football from the 19th century”, be attempted?

Goalkeeper John Ruddy celebrates after 
Anthony Pilkington scored the goal which saw Norwich City beat Manchester United 1-0 at Carrow Road last season. Picture: Jon Buckle/PA Wire.Goalkeeper John Ruddy celebrates after Anthony Pilkington scored the goal which saw Norwich City beat Manchester United 1-0 at Carrow Road last season. Picture: Jon Buckle/PA Wire.

As Chelsea had 39 shots that night, perhaps the phrase so famously coined by Mourinho of “parking the bus” is not the best tactic to try and repeat.

The Canaries manager certainly doesn’t have top-level talent such as John Terry, Ramires or Edin Hazard at his disposal for the clash, but can he take a similar approach?

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Terry has proved he is very much a Mourinho player, returning to the sort of excellent form which made him England’s captain when Chelsea won the Premier League twice in Mourinho’s first spell at the club.

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring the third goal for Norwich City in their 3-2 win against Manchester City at the Etihad on the final day of last season. Picture: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff
LivepicJonny Howson celebrates scoring the third goal for Norwich City in their 3-2 win against Manchester City at the Etihad on the final day of last season. Picture: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff Livepic

The 33-year-old centre-back has played every minute of Chelsea’s league campaign so far and given the Blues a solid base upon which to build a title challenge.

So can Norwich captain Sebastien Bassong prove he can be the same kind of foot soldier for Hughton, the man who brought him to Carrow Road?

Can the rest of the Carrow Road squad be inspired by the underdog spirit and rise to the challenge of upsetting a big team at Carrow Road?

It wouldn’t be the first time. Much of the current squad played in the 1-0 home wins against Arsenal and Manchester United last season, as well as in the valiant 4-3 home defeat to Manchester City.

Jonny Howson is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the third goal for Norwich City in their 3-2 win against Manchester City at the Etihad on the final day of last season. Picture: 
Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdJonny Howson is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the third goal for Norwich City in their 3-2 win against Manchester City at the Etihad on the final day of last season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

And of course we have the final game of last season, when the Canaries won 3-2 at the Etihad.

Some might say the Citizens’ big-money stars had already turned their attentions to their summer holidays, with Manchester United having already wrapped up the title.

Yet Norwich still played very well on the day and fully deserved the victory, which surprisingly saw them end the season in 11th place in the Premier League table.

So the likes of Bassong, Russell Martin, Alex Tettey, Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington are all well aware of what it takes to secure such an unexpected victory.

After such a disappointing season so far, the Carrow Road faithful may not dare to dream of such a victory – particularly after the 7-0 mauling at the Etihad earlier this season.

The Canaries players may have forgotten that they are capable of such feats as well, but they are, and it’s about time they reminded their thousands of loyal supporters of it.

There is plenty of evidence to prove that beating Manchester City is not Mission Impossible, if you choose to accept it.

Related links

Can Norwich City halt free-scoring Manchester City?

Norwich City should beware the ‘bouncebackability’ of Premier League’s big boys

Would replacing Chris Hughton with sacked Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup really be the answer for Norwich City?

30 comments

  • 3 sides to that prospect BPBP. Try the Golden Triangle in Norwich. Rich pickings for the new generation of Rachmans. Or should that be degeneration?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Of course its not mission impossible. All that is required is for the fans to get behind the team and stay positive. By the way, after I've won the lottery jackpot on saturday, I'll be moving to the Bermuda triangle, so you may not hear from me for a bit

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • DELUSION !!! Norwich beating Man City that is the funniest thing I have heard, can't even beat Cardiff so theres a fat chance of being Man City and I am quite happy to put a £100 bet on Befair tomorrow to say Man City will score at least 4 goals tomorrow..

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • It certainly shouldnt be impossible. This season Cardiff, Villa, Sunderland, and Stoke have all taken points off Man City. If we don't it's down to the Hoot.

    Report this comment

    Cecil

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • I understand that the queue for the toilet in the home dressing room has started to form already. The patrons are being asked to stack the bricks neatly against the wall.

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Nothing is impossible in football, but with Chris Hughton wading through another dour season with the same inane tactics and pretending he knows what's he doing on the touchline I'd say beating Manchester City is the closest thing to impossible right now.

    Report this comment

    Powers1902

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • .... couple of days ago you print a story stating we have no chance and questioning whether the "record 1-8 premier league home defeat will still be standing come Saturday night". Now an article stating we can win? What changed.....? Has Hughton finally been sacked?

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Keeping positive - anyone remember around mid sixties when Stoke were way clear in what is now the Championship and came to Carrow Rd to play an NCFC side that was having a poor season and was heavily hit with injuries, so a lot of non regulars in the starting side. City played brilliantly and tore Stoke to pieces winning 6 - 0, with Jim Oliver scoring a hatrick. Let's all hope.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Brew I bet the entire Archant newsroom do not know who Peter Rachman was. Hughton out.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .......... The arrogance of the norwich based media astounds!

    Report this comment

    Liz Knott

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Is Snott giving extras these days?

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Dubai Canarygirl? I covet your optimism. Pollyanna positivity. That said my bet, ie real money, is on us to win.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • It was good to have Michigan remind me of the Stoke game in the 60s. I was at that game and enjoyed Jim Oliver having a good game. Unfortunately today's team can't compare - there's certainly nobody in the current squad who can match the motivation, enthusiasm and commitment of Jim Oliver.

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

  • David Freezer. Seek help. The medication is wearing off and you have become delusional !

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Though I fully expect a defeat tomorrow Man city are different team away from the ethihad which is why they lost to Cardiff, sunderland and villa failed to beat stoke and Southampton. They've only kept a clean sheet one away and won this season and that was when Tiotes goal was disallowed. They're averaging 1.5 goals conceded away from home. Norwich average more goals for than against at home. I still don't expect anything from the game but a the score line could be a lot close. Man city have only won by more than 2 away from home once which was against spurs after rose was incorrectly sent off and a penalty given. I don't buy in to the idea that Hughton has no tactical ability. Though it hasn't got right much this season the wins against arsenal and man u show he can get it right but the players have to perform. Even the defeats against man u and Chelsea at home show the players can raise their game

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    James Dougall

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Even though we are the home team it's more than likely we'll try and 'park the bus' which I fear will fail miserably unless our new Nigerian recruit can stabilise us at the back. Our attempts at zonal marking couldn't contain Kenwyn Jones so I hope they've got a new plan for Negrado etc...

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Did Rachman get a bad deal from history ? Had lunch on a table next to ex NCFC legend Rob Newman today.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • If we lose 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 or even 1-3 I think most Canaries' fans will be relatively happy. The reality is those are the best results we are capable of achieving. Even a draw is out of the question, unless the Sprowston Manor chef can take out Dzeko, Negredo and Toure tonight!

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • I'm afraid it's all BO-LAX. We have a snowballs chance in hell of getting anything out of this game. Best would be a fighting defeat - worst is a normal performance.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Find so bizarre that I usually get destroyed by people on here and around the ground for being pessimistic and negative yet tomorrow im likely the most optimistic NCFC fan around. Me like Mad Brewer will have a little 2-1 Norwich bet on, although maybe I should be aiming lower with a cheeky 1-1...then again if thinking with my brain maybe 0-5 is more a reality ill be facing ;)

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Man City, a team who average 2.83 goals per game against a team who average 0.7 goals per game and on average concede 1.5 goals per game. definitely mission impossible with our tactically inept manager

    Report this comment

    Hitman79

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • 4 man defence, Tettey and Johnson fixed in front of them, and 4 players with a remit to run at Man City whenever they get the chance - Murphy, Redmond, Snodgrass and Hooper. If Chelseas can do it then it has to be worth a try...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • What's with all the questions Dave? Is this the 'dumbing down' of the Pink Un like the rest of society? Or are we trying to attract a younger audience? Either way, these recent articles really are quite pony.

    Report this comment

    Smudger75

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • James, my "seriously" was aimed at Archant, not you.

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Is Snott giving extras these days?

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Actually, our team is capable of beating any team in the PL on any given day. We have players that are both talented and professional enough to achieve this. Frankly I am fed up with hearing how many we are going to lose by. Dear fellow fans, lets look at how many we can WIN by shall we!! So On The Ball City and never mind the danger. We can win this game and we can win it well. So let's go for it and show Man City that they can be beaten. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Canarygirl

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Yes Brew he's hardly a Hoogstraten

    Report this comment

    Gruff

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Is Snott giving extras these days?

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Go back to your skeletons Snotty

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Seriously?....

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Friday, February 7, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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