Dean Ashton expecting a Premier League cracker between Norwich City and West Ham
Dean Ashton feels this weekend's Carrow Road clash between Norwich City and West Ham is exactly the kind of game the edge of your seat was made for.
The Canaries Hall of Fame member and former Hammers hitman believes both teams will be bubbling with confidence following their last impressive outings and is expecting the Sky TV cameras to capture a cracker in Saturday's televised lunch-time kick-off.
'I see it being a very even match and I see West Ham being hard to beat. Both teams are full of confidence from the performances they had in the last game. I think it will be a cracking game,' said Ashton, who will be front and centre on the day as part of his television duties.
'After the Tottenham game Norwich's confidence will certainly be high and they will be looking to win the game,' added the 28-year-old, who was impressed by the Canaries' resilience in their 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane just before the international break two weeks ago.
Ashton, who made 46 first team appearances for the Canaries, scoring 18 goals, believes Chris Huhgton's mem must continue to demonstrate such positivity and play to their strengths to achieve success, especially at home.
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'In the Premier League you've got to look to be winning your home games against teams other than the top six, which is different. They've got to try and beat the teams around them and Norwich will be looking at this game and be thinking that they can win it,' he said.
'If you start playing against teams at home where you're looking to mark certain players of the other team that's not a good way to start,' added Ashton. 'I think they will be looking more at themselves and thinking how can we counteract them and be more positive and get in behind them. Obviously they will know what West Ham are all about in that they don't mind going direct.
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'I know Andy Carroll is out but I am sure that Carlton Cole will come in and you know he can hold the ball up well and then it's the case of getting the players like Jarvis and Noble and Matty Taylor around Cole.
'Norwich will want to play their own game and their own system and at the moment that system can be difficult to play against because players like Snodgrass and Howson interchange with each other so well having played with each other before at Leeds.
'I think City look really strong in midfield. The three lads from Leeds in Johnson, Howson and Snodgrass look superb players and you've also got Pilkington who had a really good season last year. So I think they will be a real threat to West Ham and similarly West Ham will be looking at how they can stop them playing. Teams like West Ham playing away from home know that any points they can pick up on the road are good points.'
The Hammers enjoyed a convincing 3-0 win in their last match against Fulham, who thumped the Canaries 5-0 on the opening day of the season. But Ashton does not believe these results will weigh heavily on the City players' minds – or have a bearing on Saturday's match.
'It won't, not at all. I think that the way Norwich have played since that opening game proves that,' explained Ashton.
'I think that game on the opening day of the season gave them a kick up the backside and that's why they have played so well since, and I don't think that will be any different at the weekend.
'West Ham will be disappointed to have lost Andy Carroll, especially given the way he played against Fulham.
'Just how well they perform without him since the last game will be interesting.'
Ashton is convinced the Canaries have the talent in their squad to get a result on Saturday and pointed to the way Swansea dealt so well with the visit of the Hammers.
'I'm sure they (Norwich) will have seen the tapes of West Ham away at Swansea,' said Ashton.
'West Ham looked good up until Swansea scored and once Swansea scored West Ham struggled after that.
'Swansea really handled the game well and I think Norwich will look to that and try and get an early goal and press West Ham and if they can do that then that might be enough.'