Norwich Half-Term Report: Hughton, Bassong & Ruddy Are Making Defending Sexy

After getting beat by the European Champions some Norwich fans wanted Hughton out. Fools...
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After getting beat by the European Champions some Norwich fans wanted Hughton out. Fools...

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Team: Norwich City

What's going right?

Everything at the moment. With a stuttery start now a distant memory, the defence is looking rock solid, the midfield hardworking and adventurous and Grant Holt is still Grant Holt. With Wes Hoolahan linking midfield to the big man, we seem to have found our groove. Pilkington on the left and Snodgrass on the right, and Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson impressing in the centre (Jonny Howson as back up), we have proven more than a match for many teams on our ten-game unbeaten run. Then there’s Sébastien Bassong. A last-minute tackle in the penalty area to deny Wigan an equaliser, the big man glided in to prise the ball off the attacker’s toes with surgical precision.

What's not?

Our options up front are limited should Holt get injured. Simeon Jackson and Steve Morison can do a job, but Holt is a game changer. He does a lot more than people give him credit for. When you watch Holt battle, you see a player doing everything within his power to help the team. Wasn’t that long ago that he was in League One. An astonishing rise.

Got the right manager?

I think Hughton is a great manager. There were some fans moaning after our loss away to Chelsea (that’s the European Champions by the way) that Hughton was doomed and that we had to get him inside the ejector seat at once. But the defence settled, Tettey made his appearance in midfield and Holt hit form (against Chelsea), to get things clicking. A victory against Arsenal kicked things off and then the win against Man Utd had confidence soaring. Some managers just look keen and driven. Hughton has a great managerial track record right now and coming to Norwich City, where the previous manager had excited, and eventually upset, the fans in the way he had, was always going to be a slightly tricky situation for the replacement. Future Spurs manager? Could be, but I sincerely hope not.

Star player?

John Ruddy and Sebastian Bassong are – in my opinion – the best players in the side at the moment. Hoolahan is an exciting player to watch but I think in terms of visible class the two big men at the back are impressive. Ruddy inspires confidence in both his team mates and the fans. You seem him come for a cross and you can start checking your phone.

More...

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Who would you like to sell in January?

I would like to see a new, possibly foreign striker. We have used the lower leagues here for some time and to great effect, but the club is moving along now at a fair old clip and I think we need some real class. Morison represents a tasty prospect for a Championship side. This is more a case of if we HAD to sell, as I like Morison. However, if he was replaced by someone better I wouldn’t grumble.

Who do you want to sign?

I would like us to buy a player I have never heard of. I would love our scouts to surprise us with someone of Benteke’s class. A Michu or a Jelavić. Might test our wage structure a tad but there’s rick pickings up for grabs next season which could prompt a fairly ferocious feeding frenzy come January.

Best chant so far?

[To the tune of La Bamba]

Javier Javier Garrido,

Javier Javier Garrido

he likes paella

and how he’s a yellooooww.

Best opposition player / team you've seen this season?

Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz. World class.

Biggest **** of the season

Referee Lee Probert was in charge of our recent match against Wigan. Suffice to say that the man seemed at times to visibly acknowledge his ineptitude. Like a spoilt rich kid ruining a birthday party I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d stuck the ball up his shirt and just watched the clock count down – all eyes on him. Strutted about in a rather confused manner, like a post-stroke Michael McIntyre.

End of season prediction

11th. One place higher than last year.