Friday, April 11, 2014
Wes in the hole? Hooper or Van Wolfswinkel? The burning question this weekend will be who makes new Norwich City manager Neil Adams’ starting XI against Fulham.
Norwich City writer Paddy Davitt has chosen a 4-2-3-1 formation:
Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Johnson; Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Redmond; Hooper
Neil Adams has spoken this week about big characters and there is none bigger in the Norwich dressing room than Michael Turner. Chris Hughton resisted the temptation to bring him back in and there is no doubt it would be a gamble for such a high stakes game, given he has not featured since January 1, but his experience would be a key factor and he usually has a calming influence on Seb Bassong, who has been as inconsistent as Norwich this season.
Wes Hoolahan’s inclusion in a central role and higher up the pitch requires some extra insurance behind him so you would like to see Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson’s partnership revived to give Hoolahan the platform to link back to front.
Nathan Redmond would gives City a pace and directness on the counter and allied to Hoolahan operating in advanced areas ensure Gary Hooper is not isolated. Robert Snodgrass continues to look the only midfielder capable of carrying a goal threat so the Scot is a must on the right. Tough perhaps on Jonny Howson but by his own admission he would accept the last two games he has not been at his best and its all or nothing at Craven Cottage.
Sport reporter Mark Armstrong has elected a 3-5-2 formation:
John Ruddy (goalkeeper) City’s number one – a no-brainer for Adams.
Steven Whittaker (right back) Time to bring the Scot in from the cold – also allows Russell Martin to play at centre half.
Michael Turner (centre-half) City have missed his leadership at the heart of the defence this season. Willing to put his body on the line and attacks the ball well in both boxes.
Russell Martin (centre-half, captain) Centre-half has always been his preferred position and, from here, his reading of the game can really make a different to the City backline.
Martin Olsson (left-back) Has been one of City’s better performers in recent weeks. Needs to nurse that injured shoulder through to the end of the season.
Alex Tettey (midfield) City could really do with one of the bruising performances he is so capable of. Needs to dominate Steve Sidwell.
Jonny Howson (midfield) His absence has been a big miss this season. Adams must give the midfielder licence to get forward in support of the striker.
Nathan Redmond (left wing) The youngster has shown glimpses of what he’s capable of but he needs to start producing on a more consistent basis. Redmond is the only player in City’s squad with the kind of genuine pace that could trouble Fulham’s defence.
Wes Hoolahan (attacking midfield) Time to give the Irishman the freedom he needs to affect the game. When he plays well, so do City.
Robert Snodgrass (right wing) Has grown into a big presence in this City side. It needs to be one of those days when he delivers on set-pieces.
Gary Hooper (striker) Struggling for confidence but I still trust him to take a chance more than I do Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
• Other starting XIs for Fulham
Sport reporter David Freezer:
(4-4-1-1) Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass; Hoolahan; Hooper.
Norwich City columnist David Powles:
(4-4-1-1) Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Yobo, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass; Hoolahan; van Wolfswinkel.
PinkUn.com editor Pete Raven:
(4-4-1-1) Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Tettey, Howson, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, van Wolfswinkel.
Norwich City columnist Ian Clarke:
(4-5-1) Ruddy; Martin (capt), Turner, Yobo, Olsson; Snodgrass, Johnson, Tettey, Howson, Redmond; RVW.
Those are our starting XIs. What are yours? Let us know by posting a comment below.