The Villa Appetiser: Norwich City v Villa 2016
In seasons gone by there was an extra buzz around this fixture due to the Paul Lambert connection.
Heading to Carrow Road in 2013, the weary Villa fans chanted the name of soon-to-be manager Paul Lambert, but the last time we met the Canaries away saw a 2-0 loss under the doomed Remi Garde.
It’s a different league now and both teams have similar aims, but Villa and Norwich are going in the opposite direction as far as form is concerned.
Will the Leeds away game turn out to be a blip on the road, or will our Sky Sports misfortune continue as Bruce takes on old club Norwich?
Alex Neil on Villa
“We’re looking forward to the Tuesday game now because we know we’ve got to respond.
“It will be a difficult game, they’re a big, strong, physical team, and they’ve put some decent results together. There’s certainly been an improvement defensively from them since Steve’s gone in there.
“They drew a lot of games earlier in the season and conceded a lot of late goals, whereas that seems to have stopped. It allows them to pick up more points.
“It’s going to be a tough match, but we’re more than capable if we do what we can.”
Steve Bruce on Norwich
“My first five or six games away from home have all been against sides challenging for the top six. So it’s another tough one, the Championship is unforgiving.
“We played Brighton on a Friday night and now Norwich on a Tuesday. Any chance we could play just around the corner for once?
“Maybe that’s too sensible. It’s a long trip and a tough one.
“It’s all about finding consistency. Brighton have it, Newcastle have got a bit of it and that’s what you need.
“We have now lost one in nine but this is a big important month. Norwich won by five last week and lost this weekend so we’ll prepare for that.”
NORWICH have lost 6 of their last 7 matches
28th December 2015 Norwich 2 Villa 0
Just over a year ago Villa fell to a miserable defeat during the Garde reign.
Norwich – Last five matches at home: W 3, L 2
Villa: Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
One to Watch
Jacob Murphy – The Norwich winger is the club’s top scorer this season, scoring in the recent demoliton of Brentford.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
You only have to look at Norwich’s last two results for an insight into the unpredictability of the Championship.
While they lost 2-1 on Saturday to newly-promoted Barnsley, they put five past Brentford the week before at home!
Villa have recorded most of their wins under Bruce by a one-goal margin, so the Brentford thrashing will surely be on Bruce’s mind ahead of Tuesday’s clash. In fact, there have been over 2.5 goals in 14 of Norwich’s last 16 games, so it could be a high-scoring clash.
Norwich have suffered a bit at home of late, but they’ve scored at least two goals in 6 of their last 7 home matches, so finding the back of the net isn’t a problem for them.
Add to that that Villa have failed to win 9 of their last 10 away matches and it looks like another tricky fixture for Bruce, and to make matters worse, it’s live on TV again!
We all know how bad our away form is generally, and no current Football League club has won fewer league away matches in 2016 than Villa.
We’re a much better team under Bruce, but it will be another tough away test for the team as they try to banish memories of the Leeds defeat.
“they’re a big, strong, physical team, and they’ve put some decent results together” – Alex neil on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Norwich are turning into something of a yo-yo club. Alex Neil got them promoted, and then oversaw their relegation. The Norwich board’s decision to stick with the Scot at the start of this campaign looked to be a wise one, but their form has tailed off. Badly.
Neil’s men have lost 6 of their last 7 Championship matches, and but for the Brentford victory when they were last at home, their manager could have been fearing the sack.
This will be an important game for the ex-Hamilton Academical manager as he fights for his future, and there’s bound to be some nervousness around Carrow Road, especially if the history books are anything to go by. They usually are!
Villa have won 5 of their last 6 matches against Norwich in all competitions, and the defeat last season stood out as an anomaly in the strange history of the two clubs.
A man of tremendous experience, Steve Bruce is actually something of a hero at Carrow Road, carrying on the weird trend of ex-Norwich associates as Villa managers, after Lambert and Sherwood.
Joining from Gillingham in 1983, Bruce scored a first minute own goal during his Canaries debut! He made up for it though with a famous goal against rivals Ipswich in the semi-final of the Milk Cup. You can’t say we don’t do our research.
Before their current poor run of one win in seven, Norwich had lost just once in eight games beforehand, so there’s certainly a chance that Bruce could enjoy a second away win as Villa manager.
We mentioned early that you can often learn from history. The last time we met Norwich in the second-tier was in April 1975 – Villa won 4-1 at Carrow Road. That season saw promotion for both Villa and Norwich – how’s that for a good omen?
Saturday’s win has helped us forget about the Leeds loss, and has probably restored a bit of confidence to the players.
But for Grealish’s late winner, the Wigan game wasn’t pretty. Against 8th placed Norwich, a win in a similar manner would be a terrific result.
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