Norwich City bid to bridge the inequality gap at Arsenal
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich's latest assignment at Arsenal merely underlines the cruel demands of the Premier League.
City's impressive financial figures outlined in the recently published accounts graphically illustrate the upside to continued top flight membership, but the stark realities revolve around Chris Hughton's attempts to bridge the inequality gap.
Norwich's vibrant efforts against Chelsea in a losing cause prior to the recent international break ultimately floundered on the enviable depth of the Blues' squad. Hughton concedes Arsenal's resources are no less impressive.
'We saw with Chelsea the difference can be three substitutes they can bring on with a value of £80m or whatever it was,' he said. 'Similarly to the Arsenal squad, they have a wonderful group of players and real good choices in that midfield area but your mindset has to be the same.
'There is no doubt when you play the top teams the task becomes even more difficult. You have to prepare and nullify their strengths and you always have to be in the game.
'We are aware of the task and how strong they are and how well they are playing, but anyone watching that Chelsea game would feel we were unlucky not to pick up at least a draw and maybe more. You always want to go into an international break with a win and take that feel forward but what we did manage I think was the confidence from a good performance. What you can't do is go there with any type of fear. You know the qualities they have got and we have to try and stop those.'
Hughton is adamant City's lowly league status does not equate to any brittleness within the ranks.
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'No, there is no problem with the confidence. It's not a question of building it back up again because as I say our form is good,' he said. 'The reason we are in this game is to enjoy these moments and the challenges they present. That is why we feel we have improved the squad and with that comes the challenge of playing against the best teams and looking for the opportunity to try and get something - otherwise there is no point in these players turning up every day. We know we have a tough group of games coming up but we have to look forward to them.
'Chelsea was a disappointing result but a good performance so, for us, it is more of the same. Against a very good Arsenal you have to make sure as a team you are prepared to defend and get bodies back.
'Sometimes in these type of games where we aren't expected to win you can surprise a few.'
Hughton is convinced Arsenal will not run out of steam after an impressive start to the new Premier League campaign following the club-record summer signing of £43m midfielder Mesut Ozil.
'I envisage them being right up there,' he said. 'I feel it will be a bit more open this season. Certainly with Liverpool starting the way they have and the money Tottenham have spent in the summer. I feel it will be open in that top group of teams and Arsenal will be right up there.'