December 19 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Efan Ekoku has been impressed with how Manchester United have played their way to the top of the league this season, on the back of a five-game winning streak, but also believes the Canaries have shown enough recently to cause the Red Devils a few problems at Carrow Road tonight.
City are also on a good run having gone the last five matches unbeaten, in all competitions, and Ekoku says they need to continue to back themselves in the face of Fergie’s men.
“You have to be brave, not only in your team selection but in the way you allow the players to hopefully express themselves,” he said. “You’ve got a better chance of beating them at home if you go defensive and hope they don’t play well and don’t fire, particularly their key and most productive players.
“But more often than not that won’t be the case. Wigan got lucky when they beat them 1-0 towards the end of last season, while Spurs and Everton had to play very well to beat them this year.
“Norwich have had some good results in recent weeks and Grant Holt has been scoring.
“You just have to hope your players can play as close to their maximum, and United have an off day. It’s never going to be easy as we all know, but they’re not unbeatable and they have lost this season – which is why Norwich shouldn’t be afraid, especially at home, and Chris Hughton looks as if he’s finally been able to get things moving in the right direction.”
The Canaries have certainly tightened up at the back in recent weeks and clearly the onus will be on the likes of Sébastien Bassong and his defensive team-mates to limit United’s scoring opportunities.
“The longer Norwich keep it tight the better, that’s true. But you have to marry that with your offence as well. Will Chris Hughton start with Simeon Jackson or Steve Morison alongside Grant Holt? I expect he will go with Grant on his own and hopefully he will start with Wes Hoolahan behind him. I’ve seen Wes the last few weeks and I’ve been very impressed with him. At Villa Park I thought he was the best player on the pitch by a long way and Norwich should have won that game.
“Give him that little bit of freedom to trouble United’s defence, which hasn’t been in great form this season, and they may be slightly vulnerable at the back if Norwich have positivity about the way they set up and approach the game.
“Defensively Norwich will find it hard to keep a clean sheet against Manchester United, so you have to make sure the players go into it believing they can get something out of the game, and certainly their good recent form augers well.
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“Obviously the forwards will be very difficult to control. Wayne Rooney isn’t quite firing yet, but that can just click and you always hope that doesn’t happen against your team.
“Valencia has played well in recent weeks, but Robin van Persie is the man in form. He’s the one who seems to have really taken to the role and he’s in good form, and fresh. Both him and Wayne Rooney were pulled out from the international squads in midweek. Let’s say this, Sir Alex Ferguson knows when to pull his players out of international squads.
“Van Persie scored four goals against them last season and Norwich wouldn’t have forgotten that. He’ll take some stopping, but if they do that they can get something out of the game.”