Ahead of today’s game between Manchester City and Norwich, we chat to Read Norwich‘s Sean Galea-Pace to get his view on the game.
Norwich currently lie in 16th position so far and have had a mixed start to the season. Is this the sort of start you expected?
We always knew it wasn’t going to be easy, it never is as a Norwich fan! But I was really impressed as to how we started the season, but unfortunately, results haven’t been going our way lately and Alex Neil needs to keep the morale up to ensure our heads don’t drop. I think if you asked at the start of the season, most Norwich fans would have taken 16th at this point.
Do you think you are better prepared for a relegation fight this time around than you were in 2013/14 under Chris Hughton and then Neil Adams?
It’s hard to say really, we have the exact same defence that we got relegated with last time and that’s a worry. We don’t have any proven Premier League goal scorers either but I think our midfield is stronger than last time with Hoolahan, Howson and Redmond all coming a long way from two years ago. We’ve also added Dorrans, Mulumbu and Brady which has strengthened us massively.
What did you make of the signings made this summer?
I think most of the signings we’ve made have turned out very well. It’s the signings we didn’t make that’s the problem! We failed to bring in a centre-back having been linked with a whole host of names over the summer. This left us with only three senior centre-backs – Martin, Bassong and Bennett and you can’t play a full Premier League season with those three at the back. Brady has been a great addition, filling in at left-back when Olsson’s been injured, Mbokani has looked good from what we’ve seen of him so far. The loan of Jarvis really surprised us on deadline day and I think all Norwich fans have been delighted with the impact he’s had so far.
Looking to the game now, how do you think Norwich will set up having seen City’s firepower at home? Will you get men behind the ball?
I would expect us to be very cautious and play a counter-attacking game against City. We know it’s going to be a difficult match but City do concede chances and if Norwich can hold City’s firepower off and sneak in an early goal, it could be a very interesting game.
Who do you feel could be the key man for Norwich?
I think it has to be Redmond. His pace and flair could be the key to Norwich getting anything from this match, on his day he can change any game! The only problem with him is that he can be inconsistent and frustrating at times so hopefully he turns up today! Hoolahan is another key player for us and is our ‘David Silva’ but he tends to get most joy out of playing teams in the bottom half of the table, but you’ll still have to keep him quiet.
Which City player do you fear the most?
Now usually it would be Aguero, the man is arguably the best player in the league! However, your whole team is full of quality and we will have to watch out for Bony because I think he’s going to want to take these chances to show he can compete with Aguero. Sterling and De Bruyne were your big money signings and we’re going to have a massive job holding them off. Sterling ripped Bournemouth apart the other week and we have to make sure the same doesn’t happen to us. You can’t forget about Yaya Toure and Hart either.
You may recall that in your last trip to the Etihad, you shipped seven goals against City. Does that worry you?
It’s in the back of our mind but we’re in a different place now. Chris Hughton was too much of a defensive manager and he went there aiming for a draw. Alex Neil will want the win while making sure Norwich aren’t exposed at the back and for a 7-0 to happen again, we will have to really implode.
Finally can we get a prediction from you?
I’m going to go for a 2-1 win to City. I think we’ll score but City will have too much quality.