Norwich City need right midfield blend for crucial Brentford and Leeds United matches
Make no mistake about it, the next week or so will be season defining for Norwich City.
Dean Smith’s men face the gruelling prospect of three games in nine days – including against Brentford and Leeds, two sides woefully out of form and realistically among the few we are still capable of catching.
Take Brentford, who visit Carrow Road tomorrow. After a strong start to the season The Bees have just one point from their last eight matches. That run has seen them fall to within three points of the drop zone – and seven clear of the Canaries, having played a game more.
A point worse off are Leeds – where we head the following weekend. They have dispensed of boss Marco Bielsa after a six-game winless run that has included 21 goals conceded.
As I wrote in the opening paragraph, it really is make or break time. Five points from safety with just 12 games to go, there is little room for error, especially in the games against those also fighting for survival.
With that in mind, the Premier League’s decision to re-schedule our game against Chelsea for next Thursday night – owing to the Blues’ FA Cup progression – could hardly be less convenient.
It hampers preparations for the trip to Elland Road and demands so much from a squad that has already had to travel to Liverpool (twice) and Southampton in the last few weeks. But while it does seem unfair, all we can do is get on with the task at hand.
One thing is for sure, Smith’s side will have to perform significantly better than during their last Premier League outing, at Southampton.
Key to that is finding the right midfield mix, which has been an issue for large parts of the campaign. The return of Lukas Rupp is certainly welcome and his confidence will have been boosted by the goal he scored at Anfield on Wednesday night, as City exited the FA Cup following a respectable, if not predictable, 2-1 defeat.