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Canaries need a victory against West Ham on Saturday

Chris Hughton's Norwich face West Ham on Saturday evening in a vital clash for the Canaries

Chris Hughton’s Norwich face West Ham on Saturday evening in a vital clash for the Canaries

At the beginning of the season a lot of people were decrying Norwich and saying that they would struggle this season.

However, I really did fancy them to be the surprise package this season, especially after bringing in some very decent summer signings.

Pressure

The Canaries currently sit in 18th position in the Premier League table and boss Chris Hughton is under immense pressure.

Last weekend’s 7-0 defeat at Manchester City had a minority of Canaries fans calling for Hughton’s head.

The deficit of the defeat just underlined the difference in resources available to the two teams though and many other teams will go to the Etihad Stadium and get comfortably beaten, just ask Manchester United.

Norwich may have spent big by their standards in the summer, but City are in a whole different league when it comes to finances. However, a defeat by such a large margin is always going to have people asking questions about a team’s qualities.

Better

Norwich City are better than 18th position in the Premier League table. Norwich had a solid squad last season and looked to have made some shrewd signings in the summer. This season though has just not panned out as everybody connected with the Canaries would have wanted it to.

Crucial

The Canaries host West Ham in Saturday’s evening kick-off and it has turned into a massive game for the side from Norfolk. The Irons are just above Norwich in the table in 16th place and a Canaries victory could move Chris Hughton’s side above the Londoners.

A win would also raise spirits, which seem rock-bottom after that heavy defeat at City. It is early in the season, but this game could be a season defining moment for Norwich. If the Canaries are to start moving up the table then they need to be winning games like this one.

Goals

One of Norwich’s main problems is that they are not scoring enough goals. It is not a new problem for the Canaries though, as they struggle to find the net last season. Only bottom of the table QPR and Stoke scored fewer goals than the Canaries in the last campaign.

Chris Hughton moved to solve the lack of goals with the signing of prolific striker duo Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. However, Van Wolfswinkel’s only goal of the season came in the Canaries opening day 2-2 draw with Everton.

The Holland international will miss the West Ham game due to a foot injury, which has prevented him from playing much football in the last few weeks. Hooper meanwhile has not been able to command a regular starting place in the Norwich team this season, with Van Wolfswinkel often preferred in the lone front man role.

Both Van Wolfswinkel and Hooper were prolific at their former clubs and much was expected of the duo, but neither has delivered so far. West Ham have a very good defensive away record this season, so the Canaries could struggle to put their goal scoring problems behind them in Saturday’s clash.

It is vital for Norwich that Hooper rediscovers his scoring touch. The former-Celtic man waited a long time for a chance in the top-flight and so far he has not made the most of it. Maybe he just needs a run in the team to get accustomed to the Premier League and the goals may then arrive.

Solid

For a decent period of last season Norwich had a pretty solid backline and kept a number of clean sheets. Sebastien Bassong and Michael Turner forged a good partnership at the heart of the Canaries defence.

However, in this campaign only bottom of the table pair Sunderland and Crystal Palace have conceded more than the Canaries, although the defeat at City did have a big hand in that poor defensive record.

Survival

Despite their poor start to the season I would back Norwich to survive the drop this season, although the bookmakers disagree with the Canaries 2/1 to be relegated. Chris Hughton is a decent manager, but needs his side to start getting results and fast.

Norwich also has a decent squad of players and when they find their form the Canaries will surely be good enough to survive the drop this season. There are still 28 games to go in the season for the Canaries to surge up the table and a victory over West Ham would be a good way to start that surge.

Are the Canaries in a false position so far this season?

Fri 8 November, 2013
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