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The Scout Report – Norwich City

Already billed as a clash between title contenders, United’s midweek fixture against Norwich has a lot riding on it. Both sides have started the season positively, with tonight’s opposition sitting in 1st place.
The bookies have Newcastle United as clear favourites to win. What do you think?

Norwich City – A Factfile
Founded: 1902
Nickname: The Canaries
Stadium: Carrow Road (27,244 capacity)
Manager: Alex Neil
2015-16: Premier League, 19th
Major Honours: League Cup (1962, 1985)

2016-17 Scout Report

Notable Signings

Michael McGovern – GK – Signed on a free transfer by boss Alex Neil after an impressive European Championships campaign as Northern Ireland’s Number One, McGovern is a player who has peaked rather late in his career but is giving resident Canary ‘keeper John Ruddy a run for his money.

Alex Pritchard – LW/RW – Once on Newcastle’s radar, ex-Spurs graduate Pritchard is a player who many pundits and fans admire for his direct attacking play and threat in the final third. The 23-year old is renowned for his goalscoring ability from midfield, netting 12 times in 45 league games for Brentford during their 2014-15 season. However, after failing to break through into Spurs’ first team or that of West Bromwich Albion while out on loan, Pritchard sealed an £8m move to the Canaries this summer, looking to replicate his 2014-15 form.

Nelson Oliveira – ST – 16 cap Portuguese international striker Oliveira is a man familiar with the Championship following a loan spell with Nottingham Forest last term. The tall, abrasive forward scored on nine occasions during 28 league outings for Forest before heading back to parent club, SL Benfica. A handful in the air but also adept with the ball on the ground, many Norwich fans will be hoping for him to bed in to the starting XI once he has settled at the club.

Notable Departures

Nathan Redmond – RW – One of the most high profile departures from the Championship this summer was that of Norwich man Redmond who switched Norfolk for the South Coast, joining Claude Puel’s new-look Southampton in a £10m transfer. Quick and tricky on the ball, Redmond’s pace is his main attribute and Norwich will be looking to the likes of Pritchard and the Murphy brothers to fill the void left by the England U21 winger.

Dieumerci Mbokani – ST – Last season’s top scorer returned to parent club Dynamo Moscow before heading to Hull City meaning Norwich were in need of a goalscoring striker to bolster their attacking options. The imposing Congolese frontman scored late on in the 3-2 defeat of Newcastle in the closing stages of the 2015-16 season which all but condemned United to a relegation scrap.

Key Players

Russell Martin – CB – Centre-back and captain Russell Martin has been a Canaries veteran over the past couple of seasons, both in the Championship and the Premier League. The Scottish international has been pivotal to Norwich’s rise to the Premier League in 2012 and also during their 2015 Play-Off final triumph. A disciplined figure, leading the team and leading the back four, Martin is a formidable opponent.

Wes Hoolahan – CM – Norfolk’s very own resident Irishman is entering his eighth season as a Norwich player, which has seen him go from League One, to the Premier League, before dropping back down to the Championship, sampling a European tournament along the way. To say the 34 year old is experienced would be an understatement, and with his slight 5ft 6in frame, his nimble style of play threading through balls and scoring the occasional goal is one to be admired in the modern game where longevity is less common.

Robbie Brady – LM – Beginning his career at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson’s watchful eye, Brady didn’t quite make the grade but has had a great career thus far, turning out for Hull City and Norwich in the Premier League, as well as temporarily becoming a national hero in Ireland for his goal against Italy at Euro 2016 which secured passage into the knockout round. Brady is versatile and capable of playing left-back as well as left-wing meaning his deployment on that side of the pitch is often a considerable threat for opposition full-backs.

Manager: Alex Neil
One of the younger managers in the Championship, Neil is a terrier-like Scot who was named Norwich manager in January 2015 after impressing as Hamilton Academical’s player-manager for two years. Neil guided the Canaries to promotion in 2015 at the expense of Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough in the Play-Off Final but succumbed to immediate relegation last term finishing in 19th, one place below Newcastle United. Neil will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season’s visit to St James’ Park which resulted in his side shipping six goals, one of which scored by United’s Number Forty-Five Aleksandar Mitrovic. Neil seems to have instilled a gritty determination into the core of his young squad, and with a mix of old-heads too, Norwich stand a great chance of bouncing back to the Premier League at the first attempt with their current boss and current setup.    

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