This time last year, Norwich were in the middle of pre-season preparations for their return to the Premier League. In a few hours’ time, they could be mathematically relegated from the top flight.
Five straight league defeats since lockdown have effectively consigned Daniel Farke’s side to the Championship and, with 10 points separating them from 17th-placed Watford and only four matches remaining, just one more loss will end any last lingering hopes of survival. Today they welcome West Ham to Carrow Road knowing that another defeat would confirm relegation.
To make matters worse for the Canaries, Todd Cantwell remains doubtful for today’s clash due to a thigh injury. The 22-year-old, who has this week been linked with a £10m move to Sheffield United (as per Daily Star), faces an assessment prior to kick-off. Farke must also plan without longer-term injury absentees Sam Byram, Grant Hanley, Christoph Zimmermann and Moritz Leitner.
Our predicted Norwich line-up for today’s game shows just the one change from the team that started the defeat at Watford on Tuesday:
Tim Krul is set to be in goals once more while Norwich will likely have the familiar back four of Jamal Lewis, Timm Klose, Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons, given that a spate of defensive injuries have severely limited Farke’s options in this department.
There could be changes in the midfield, where the Canaries have a wider selection. Alexander Tettey’s ineffective performance at Vicarage Road could see him drop out, with Kenny McLean taking his place alongside Mario Vrancic in the holding midfield area. The Bosnian at least had a couple of shots against the Hornets whereas Tettey could boast none, hence why he could be the fall guy.
Cantwell might not be ready to feature today, in which case Onel Hernandez will keep his place on the left wing. The Cuban’s assist on Tuesday could be enough for him to stay in the side anyway, while Emiliano Buendia will likely start on the right after his goal in midweek. Marco Stiepermann might also be retained in the attacking midfield role, although Lukas Rupp and Ondrej Duda are also in contention for that berth.
Despite Norwich badly needing wins, Farke has persisted with one centre-forward of late and therefore doesn’t seem likely to deviate from that despite the gravity of the situation. Teemu Pukki started on Tuesday and, although he hasn’t scored since February, Josip Drmic’s goal record is not encouraging while Adam Idah still seems raw and missed a glorious chance to equalise in midweek. Therefore, the Finn could get the nod again.
Everything Farke has tried over the last month hasn’t worked out. After today, what he does in his next three games could be sadly irrelevant.
Norwich fans, do you think this is the team that will start against West Ham? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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