December 8 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, December 8, 2012
East meets West this weekend but Norwich City’s trip to Swansea should accentuate the enduring similiarities between the clubs.
Both promoted in 2010. Both punched well above their collective weight, to not only survive but flourish, and both saw the summer departures of their respective managers allied to the inevitable warnings of impending doom second time around.
Yet, once again, they continue to prosper under new guidance and some astute summer signings. Chris Hughton’s squad is unbeaten in eight Premier League games. Michael Laudrup’s boys have lost only once in their last seven top flight matches – and that to the champions. Both also have Capital One Cup quarter-final ties next week.
Laudrup has embraced the passing philosophy of his predecessor, which won the Swans plenty of plaudits last season. Norwich’s recent rise has been founded on defensive resolution and sharp counter-attacking forays interspersed with quality set-pieces.
Swansea would expect to dominate possession with ball players like Leon Britton and Jonathan De Guzman.
The onus is on Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson to disrupt, to spoil, like they did in such impressive fashion against Arsenal’s similar style earlier this season.
If the visitors can establish parity in that key area of the park then the likes of Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt come into play. The duo struggled to impose themselves at Everton and Reading, but Norwich’s dominant second half display at St Mary’s was an encouraging sign on the road.
Michu’s 11 goals in 17 appearances following his £2m summer move from Rayo Vallecano looks the steal of this or any other season at present.
The 26-year-old has the physical presence to deal with the athletic nature of the English game and the mobility and technique to link seamlessly with the Swans’ midfield. Cut that supply line and Norwich’s prospects of continuing their unbeaten run improve immeasurably.
• Swansea City 2, Norwich City 1
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.