Norwich City v Aston Villa
Norwich City, eh? For those of us of a certain age, it’s ‘jumpers for goalposts’ and Ray Graydon. In fact, let’s indulge in the ‘good old days’.
Below there’s a full re-run of the match.
Pushing aside it was a deliberate handball, that was an outstanding save from Mel Machin. Shame he was playing right back that day. The full match is at the end of this post.
A useless tidbit of information I came across the other day was that Kevin Keelan, the South African goalkeeper who almost became the first goalkeeper to save a cup final penalty, used to own a gentlemen’s outfitters in Norwich. Imaginatively, it was called Mr Keelan’s and Norwich City recognised his entrepreneurial endeavours by using his shop to buy their 1973 League Cup final suits.
Crushed velvet, putting the risible white suits worn by Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup final to shame.
All of which is a bit of a prelude, an aperitif if you like. Three points and a Reading win at Elland Road, as well as an unlikely alignment of the stars elsewhere, could see us close to the gap to the play-offs to just a point. In reality, I’d expect the gap to close to three points and we can’t complain about that, given we were teetering on the edge of oblivion a month or so ago.
As much as Norwich’s poor form is a cause for comfort – six defeats in the last seven – the fact that we’ve won just once away from Villa Park this season.
Coming so soon after the win over Wigan, there must be a temptation for Steve Bruce to tinker with the side and perhaps he will; there certainly won’t be complaints but the core of the side – 8 or 9 players – will surely remain the same as Saturday’s? Even though he returned from an ankle injury at the weekend, it’s hard to see Ross McCormack forcing his way back into the starting XI just yet.
I know the performance was bad but as a way of repairing the damage that the defeat against Leeds caused, it’s better. It was certainly not as comprehensive as Bruce would have wanted, it was a victory which makes it just one defeat in nine. It’s not hard to imagine Tshibola coming into the midfield but too much tinkering leaves the players searching for understandings and a disjointed performance follows.
I would like to see Kodjia spend the whole match in the centre. Not subbed off, just given a run in the side to get on the end of things. I certainly wouldn’t advocate bringing in Gestede or McCormack at his expense. Plus being away from home, I like the thought of Kodjia with Ayew and Adomah on the flanks; it’s a fast and powerful trio, leaving the only question whether we can offer them the service to exploit that pace.
History is on our side. We’ve only lost to Norwich once in eleven December meetings with the Canaries and that was the last one, in 2015/16 at Carrow Road. I can’t think of many sides over whom we have that kind of grips. Not convinced? On 13th December 1975, we beat Norwich 3 – 2 to Villa Park. C’mon, it’s written in the stars…
As promised, crack open a can and join us in reminiscing.