Norwich – Villa; A tough one.

The good and bad news is I’m back home.
The bad of course, was walking into 8C at 3AM in the morning.
On the other hand, it does mean that I’ll be able to watch the game tonight.

And it’s not an ideal one, with us facing a Norwich side that has only lost one in ten games, so soon after Saturday’s game.
The good news is that their solitary defeat was at home, against Stoke, just before the international break.
Hence they’re certainly not unbeatable, even on their own turf.

The bad news for us, is that Jon McGinn is suspended after incurring 5 yellow cards.
I think he’s a fabulous player, who we’re bound to miss in the middle, but we do have Conor Hourihane who can do equally well on his day and I’d expect him to come in as the replacement.

Talking of personnel changes, with the games coming so thick and fast this week, I think I’d be expecting Dean Smith to change things up anyway, purely to give some of the players a breather.
Even I’m not so old-fashioned that I’d expect players to be able to play three games in a week.
Also Smith can get a look at some more of the squad in an actual game.

As per usual, we don’t have many options at the back, but in the middle, the manager might want to have a look at El Ghazi and perhaps a better look at Bolasie. We definitely have good options for width.
I’d expect Grealish and Abraham to be certs, but you never know.
I just wonder if Smith might be looking at the QPR game on Friday, as a more likely chance of a win?
Maybe not, as he goes out to win every game, doesn’t he?

Still, while I’m sure he’ll go for it, you’d also expect that he has to be pragmatic too and it’ll be interesting to see if Bjarnason is retained, along with either Whelan or Jedinak, just to help cover the defence.
Again, maybe not as for me playing 2 holding midfielders means you lose something in the attack and I’m sure this is where Smith will be concentrating.

I’d be looking at a 4-1-3-1-1, myself, or something not too dissimilar.
You could put Abraham up top and allow Jack to play a free role. Bjarnason anchors the midfield, with Hourihane further forward to assist with the press. And then it’s any two wingers.

But what do I know?
I’m only putting that out there as I hardly ever predict tactics, because I’m not a football manager.
It doesn’t matter what I think anyway, as I’m sure Dean Smith will know exactly what he plans to do.

One thing we can be sure of, is that if whatever the plan is, isn’t working, Smith will change things up.
He also won’t look to hold on to any 1-0 lead we might take either.
And that will be refreshing.

To be honest, I think this game might be a bit of a stretch for us, but I think I’d happily take a draw at this stage.
If we were to get the win, I’d be ecstatic and would seriously be thinking that we’re on our way already.

The realist in me though, is going for a 1-1 draw.

The game is available live on Sky or via AVTV for international plus subscribers.
Bring it on!


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  1. Avatar
    Hitchens60 October 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm .

    I’m with you on this one Badger – a draw for me at best with McGinn a big miss and Villa having a poor record at Norwich. Can Smith beat his own away day duck?

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 October 23, 2018 at 6:10 pm .

    I’m looking forward to the game tonight. Norwich are expected to win on current form so we can play without pressure. Pity McGinn is suspended but we have plenty of options within the squad. Might make sense to play Jedinak or Whelan alongside Hourihane as two holding midfielders with Bolasie, Grealish and maybe El Ghazi behind Abraham to offer pace on the break. One concern for me is Norwich like to get crosses in and Taylor isn’t the best at stopping them. If Taylor plays then we might need someone like Adomah to help out because El Ghazi isn’t proven yet. I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw but I’m not confident about it.

  3. Avatar
    nath October 23, 2018 at 6:42 pm .

    toughie midweek game, one that will test our new management team. norwich are a very attacking team, but they do leave spaces when attack. so i expect us to be counter attacking them. they also play most of their good stuff on the floor like swansea did so our defence wont be tested in the air as much. unless norwich target this i know i would, if i was the norwich manager i would test our goalkeeper and back four with some teasing high balls between them,

    its really hard to call, we have some fast exciting skilful forwards so counter attacking should suit us more, big question is will the defence unit be able to stand up to the norwich pressure. norwich 1 villa 3 we will need to be at our best to win and we will

  4. Avatar
    Ardent Villain October 23, 2018 at 7:16 pm .

    The realist in me says that we’ll do well to come away with a point. But the tiny optimist in there somewhere is saying we’ll sneak a win – but it is a big game for Smith when he’s only had some of the squad for a few days so far…

  5. Avatar
    badger123 October 23, 2018 at 7:28 pm .












    In a 4-4-2, according to that, but not far off what I predicted.

  6. Avatar
    badger123 October 23, 2018 at 7:34 pm .


    Bunn (GK), Jedinak, Bjarnason, Lansbury, El Ghazi, Hogan & Kodjia

    All very logical, I’d suggest.
    Although, no Bolasie?

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 October 23, 2018 at 7:38 pm .

      Badger – no Bolasie – is there a problem?

  7. Avatar
    badger123 October 23, 2018 at 7:43 pm .

    Saving him for QPR?
    I don’t know mate.
    Bear in mind, there’s still the suggestion that he isn’t fully fit.

  8. Avatar
    badger123 October 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm .

    Zimmerman fouled for a cynical tackle on Jack.

    1. Avatar
      badger123 October 23, 2018 at 7:50 pm .

      Oops, booked.

  9. Avatar
    badger123 October 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm .

    Bright first 10 mins, but Norwich starting to dominate.
    Sloppy passing again now.

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