Some useful comments here - it sounds like Napoli were able to play to their natural strengths in taking advantages of Man C''s weaknesses. I''m not suggesting Lambert should just show the players a vid of the Napoli games and say "off you go lads - just play like that. Job done."
But we are going to be under sustained pressure for large parts of the game on Saturday. Against Man U we conceded a lot of possession to their back line and did an excellent job closing them down in our half and protecting our back 4 against through balls. We were a lot tighter at Old Trafford than we were against Arsenal and I really hope we can recapture the approach we had against Man U.
And at Man U we didn''t just sit back and soak up the pressure, we tried - with a lot of success - to play our own game throughout and created plenty of chances, enough to have drawn or won with slightly better finishing and decision making in the box. I''m hoping we do the same on Saturday.
Another concern I have is weakness on our flanks - against Villa and Arsenal we left our fullbacks too exposed and we need to be set up to give them more support.
Yes it''s just speculation, but I figure that highlighting some of Man City''s weaknesses before Saturday can''t do any harm !
Last year we were often behind, or drawing at home, with 20 mins to go and went on to retrieve a draw or get a win. It''s like we have a playbook that the players are very comfortable with. 20 mins to go - we need a goal - bring on a couple of subs and go for it. E.g. against Forest at home we conceded a daft goal at the start, but I''m sure we were all confident that we''d plug away and get something from the game.
But this year we seem to have had plenty of occasions where we''ve gone ahead and it does feel like we''re not sure how to play it. E.g. against Villa and Arsenal. I wish we could master the art of scoring and keeping on playing just the same, pushing forward to get a 2nd but keeping it tight.
Thought people might be interested in the analysis in the paper yesterday from the 2 Napoli games. As Napoli got a win and a draw they must be doing something right.
1. Napoli were happy to concede possession to the Man C centrebacks and De Jong who they viewed as their weakest passing players. All 11 Napoli players were expected to cover back and close down all the rest. The idea being to force their weaker passers to play penetrating balls rather than have an easy outlet to one of the creative players.
2. Man C play very aggressively down the flanks with their fullbacks getting well forward. When they lose possession, the space left open on the flanks needs to be exploited at speed with high balls into it.
3. Also they tend to let space open up between their midfield and centrebacks.
4. The Napoli manager emphasised, as you''d expect, that all his players needed to be right on top of their game and not to let their concentration slip.
The article also pointed out that Man C are obviously taking the "we''ll score more than you" approach. Against Fulham they were 2-0 up but failed to close out the game and ended up drawing. Against Bolton they were 2-0 and then 3-1 up, both times they let Bolton get back to within a goal and apparently Bolton came close to an equalizer near the end before losing 3-2.
It''s hardly rocket science, and as I''ve said on another thread, we''ll never be favourites even to get a point on Saturday. But I really hope we don''t give them too much respect, keep tight and close them down, and make sure we keep playing our own game going forward - like we did at Old Trafford - and we could get something out of the game (still disappointed we didn''t come away with at least a point from that one).
[quote user="cornish_canary"][quote user="Twitchy"]No tellybox at the mo, any update on how MOTD painted us tonight?
[/quote] Very well I thought.......showed plenty of City''s chances and possession with very little of QPR, Warnock''s post match interview and QPR forums seem to tell a different picture however![/quote]
Yes, zero analysis on the game, just a general comment from both Lawro and Shearer that they felt both Norwich and QPR are looking comfortably good enough to stay up. I don''t expect great insight from either of them frankly, they mainly go with the herd, so it''s just a little bit reassuring that this is the view of many neutrals.
On Colin''s post-match interview, given his past track record I wouldn''t see his comments as inconsistent with us being marginally the better team, which seems the general view.
[quote user="Jacko"]You can interpret this game in many ways. Will they rest a couple? Will they lose some confidence? Or are we going to witness the mother of all backlashes? There is never a good time to play them. They have won every game this season with a bit to spare (Fulham apart which they should have). All we can do is try to remain in the game for as long as possible and hope an opportunity on the counter presents itself like we did against Arsenal. Its a very wide pitch at the Etihad so I would definitely give Bennett and Pilkington the nod in a 4231 system, with Morison as the lone striker.[/quote]
I really hope we don''t give them too much respect - which I think we were guilty of against Arsenal to an extent. There''s never going to be a time when we''ll be favourites even to get a point here but I think if you had to pick the time to go to them, now is a good time.
Also I think in some recent games they''ve been winning without playing that much better than the other side (which of course is key to winning the league!). Against Newcastle they were lucky that they didn''t concede in the first half at least twice and the scoreline flattered them. QPR could certainly feel they could easily have come away with a point. And the 6-1 scoreline massively flattered them thanks to some kamikaze attacking by Man U with 10 men.
Certainly not underestimating the task but I hope we go for it as we did against Man U in the knowledge that we should have come away with at least a point there.
[quote user="Eric Pickles Pie Supplier"]
Yep, every chance of this happening, ,Shack, though it will still be a tough ask. My heart bleeds for them if they have to "make do" with Dzeko, Lescott , Johnson and co as a second string......
On a wider point, do the sort of results seen last night and earlier in the CL not suggest that the Prem is perhaps not quite as good as it pretends to be ? The two Manc clubs are, by some distance, the best in England, but even they have struggled when they come up against well organised, fast Italian , Spanish, German and Portuguese sides.
Good point. There was a time recently when you could realistically expect 2 or even 3 Prem teams in the CL semi-finals, but not now.
On the trip to ManC, this looks like being our toughest away fixture. On that basis, it''s probably a good time to play them. It will never be easy and the odds are against us, but we are quite capable of getting a result.
Also has anyone else noticed that after ManC we''ll have played them plus Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Villa away ? So most of the "top" away fixtures with only 1/3rd of the season gone. I guess the flip side is we have them all to come to CR. But plenty of away games against the lower sides is not a bad thing IMO as it suits us when they have to attack us.
[quote user="Legend Iwan"]http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/21/premier-league-chalkboard-analysis Unsurprising to see that without Hoolahan we lose possession and our attacking impetus. I am impressed with out first-half passing stat.[/quote]
Thanks for the link - this analysis (and the Holtmania site) - to me are a good explanation of the game as I saw it on Sky. I particularly like the fact that the Guardian article points out that we were never out of it and their 2-1 lead didn''t look comfortable (unlike some of the more extreme reactions in the press and on here).
Concerns for me are that despite having Crofts, Fox and Johnson all with protecting the back 4 as a key mission, Arsenal were repeatedly able to open us up through the middle with fairly simple balls. Also both fullbacks were left one on one against their wingers most of the game. Tierney actually didn''t do that badly against Walcott over the 90 minutes, but was completely done a few times including the goal. Naughton was I think caught out a lot more often, but Gervinho failed to capitalise.
Looking back at Old Trafford we were a lot tighter, and denied a set of equally good players until very late in the game. Against Arsenal I never felt we were comfortable defensively at any point (although going forward I always felt they were vulnerable too). What I want to know is how we get back to playing more like we did a month or so back ?
Me too. I''ve always felt he has a lot of potential and might be good enough for the Prem, but it has been so long since he has played regularly that when he was in the team at the start of the season he looked well off the pace.
A loan would give him a chance to get going again. Meantime it isn''t long until the January window and really it would be a surprise if Lambert isn''t thinking about who might come in up front.
Thanks, I remember this game fondly and in a lot of ways it sums up our League 1 Champions season.
Wycombe were a solid and well-disciplined team and made it hard for us. We were on top throughout but their keeper was outstanding and you began to feel it would be one of those days. For past Norwich teams it probably would have been and around 75 minutes the players would''ve begun to stop believing, but instead we kept on plugging away. Wycombe had few chances although there were a few scares on the break, but their strikers always looked most likely to put anything into row Z (if indeed the stand went back as far as Z). Finally our pressure paid off and we had a more-than-deserved 1-0 win.
Exactly the sort of performance you need to put in to win things.
My next away trip is ManC and remembering this one makes me appreciate it all the more.
Came across the Wikipedia entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pink%27un
It says this :
Anyone care to take up this challenge ?
All 3 are games we''re capable of winning. If I had to bet I''d go for 4-5 points. If we come away with 5 I''ll be satisfied, and to get a couple of wins would, realistically, be a good outcome.
Yes if we did get 7-9 points I''d be delighted - but not particularly surprised. Which shows how far we''ve come so far.
[sorry have tried to quote Ken Foggo but "non matching quote blocks in post"]
True. I remember when we won at Man City a few years back and it was the first time in living memory for lots of us, so we''ve never had a great record against them away even when they were in the lower leagues.
Having said that, a month or so before the Old Trafford game Man U were looking outstanding, so let''s hope we really go for it. Can''t wait !
I see that Lawro says about us "They have gone to Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool this season and not been outplayed at all, apart from maybe the first 25 minutes at Anfield."
But he then predicts 1-1. Let''s just hope he''s wrong like he was with his prediction last week !
I think with the advantage of a full week off (no idea about the sort of team Blackburn put out in mid-week though) that Lambert will avoid any complacency and we''ll get a win. But I''ll be a nervous wreck until 5pm Saturday - this one''s got potential banana skin written all over it...