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Norwich City preview and pub guide: Don’t leave early!!

Norwich City preview and pub guide: Don’t leave early!!

Norwich are having an extraordinary season so far and go into the new year second in the table to Leeds.

The Canaries have powered into the automatic promotion places thanks to an amazing run of late goals that have earned them 20 points in eight games.

City’s late shows have picked up points against:

Birmingham (A) Drew 2-2 with 94th-minute equaliser

Preston (H) Won 2-0 with goals in the 80th and 87th minutes

Wigan (H) Won 1-0 with 86th-minute goal

Nottingham Forest (A) Won 2-1 from 1-0 down with 84th-minute goal

Millwall (H) Won 4-3 from 3-2 down in the 83rd minute with 92nd and 97th-minute strikes

Bolton (H) Won 3-2 thanks to 93rd-minute winner

Blackburn (A) Won 1-0 with 86th-minute goal

Nottingham Forest (H) Drew 3-3 from 3-0 down with their final two goals in the 94th and 98th minutes

However, it has also worked against them as their final goal in a 4-3 defeat by West Brom in August came in the 83rd minute and then on Saturday, they were involved in another seven-goal thriller – this time against Derby.

Having taken a 3-2 lead in the 81st minute, there was then a floodlight failure at Carrow Road. After a 25-minute break, the match resumed and ex-Bee Florian Jozefzoon equalised for the Rams in the 87th minute before Jack Marriott hit their winner two minutes into stoppage-time.

That defeat by Derby was Norwich’s first defeat in 13 Championship games since a 1-0 loss to Stoke before the October international break, which dropped the Canaries to eighth in the table.

Since then, though, they have won nine (including the 1-0 defeat of us) and drawn three of their matches, before meeting Derby, to give themselves a great chance of ending their three-season absence from the Premier League.

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Daniel Farke was appointed as Alex Neil’s successor at Carrow Road at the end of May 2017.

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Farke took over as Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team coach in 2015 – replacing David Wagner after he left to go to Huddersfield.

Stuart Webber, now the Canaries’ sporting director, was with the Terriers at the time that Wagner joined the club.

Farke, who spent his playing career in Germany’s lower divisions, is Norwich’s first foreign manager.

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Brentford’s record against Norwich in the Championship is poor, with one win and four defeats in our seven meetings.

There were two away wins in 2014/15 – our first meetings in league action for five seasons – as a goal from Alexander Tettey and a Cameron Jerome double gave the Canaries a 3-0 win at Griffin Park, before Jota and an Alex Pritchard penalty, either side of Nathan Redmond’s equaliser, gave us a revenge 2-1 triumph in Norfolk.

After a season in the Premier League, Norwich returned to our fixture list in 2016/17 and we failed to score against them in our two meetings.

We were on the wrong end of a 5-0 hiding at Carrow Road, with Jacob Murphy, Graham Dorrans, Robbie Brady, Nelson Oliveira and Alex Pritchard on target, before holding them to a 0-0 draw in the return.

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We met three times last season, with the Canaries drawing first blood in a 3-1 third round Carabao Cup win at Griffin Park, with a Mario Vrancic double (one a penalty) and Josh Murphy strike making Josh Clarke’s late reply a mere consolation. The most notable event of the tie for the Bees was Chris Mepham making his full senior debut for the club.

We beat them for the first time in four meetings in the Championship just before Christmas with our 2-1 Friday night win at Carrow Road.

Lasse Vibe’s first half double set up the victory, with Nelson Oliveira replying in second half stoppage time.

A worldie from James Maddison in the fifth minute at Griffin Park continued the run of away wins in meetings between the two sides as it secured a 1-0 success for City.

OPPOSITION VIEW

BBC Radio Norfolk sports editor and commentator Chris Goreham tells us what pre-season expectations were for Norwich, what key factor has made the difference this season and explains what makes the Canaries so enjoyable to watch at the moment.

Q – What has been behind Norwich’s extraordinary record of last-gasp goals in recent weeks?
 
A – There is certainly a very good spirit and togetherness about the squad this season.  Daniel Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber are very keen on getting the right sort of characters into the dressing room and don’t just judge players on talent.  Farke is also a big believer in fitness and it can be no coincidence that Norwich seem to get more dangerous as matches go on.
 
Q –  What were the expectations for the club at the start of the season – promotion push, play-off bid, mid-table safety or even relegation battle?
 
A – It was hard to know what to expect but there was definitely a lot of concern among fans.  James Maddison and Josh Murphy were sold to Premier League clubs for understandable financial reasons, but with Nelson Oliveira out of favour too it meant Norwich started the season without their top three goalscorers from last season.
 
They had only scored 49 goals in the league as it was.  With that in mind I would say most fans thought a similar finish to last season’s 14th might be on the cards but we hadn’t bargained for the quality of the recruitment or the emergence of some of the academy players like Max Aarons.
 
Q – What has made the difference this season compared with 2017/18 to make this such a positive campaign so far?

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A – More goals is the obvious difference. Norwich are already only two goals short of their entire Championship goals haul from last season. They have certainly been more ruthless in front of goal with Teemu Pukki being ruthlessly efficient with his chance conversion rate. It’s hard to think of a better free transfer.
 
It’s clear that Daniel Farke has certainly learnt from his first season in English football and is better prepared for the Championship now.  The same goes for players like Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann who have excelled have admitting they found it difficult to adapt at first.  There’s a nice blend of youth and experience too.
 
Q – It is Daniel Farke’s second season in charge – what sort of impact has he made at Carrow Road?
 
A – He’s become a very popular figure this season and there is already some concern about the fact that his contract runs out at the end of the season. His first season was unspectacular but there was a willingness from most fans to make allowances for the fact he was settling into a new country while trying to manage a squad that was having its wage bill drastically slashed and needed to bring in money to make up for the loss of parachute payments.
 
Jonny Howson, Jacob and Josh Murphy, Alex Pritchard and James Maddison are among the players to have been sold by the club since Farke’s arrival so he has certainly not had it easy.  He has a great willingness to show faith in young players though and that always sits well with fans.
 
Q – How much have players like James Maddison been missed – if at all?
 
A – Clearly somebody as good as James Maddison is going to be missed intThe Championship but his departure has meant that Norwich have had to come up with other ways of paying as he hasn’t been directly replaced.  Last season they were often relying on a moment of Maddison magic to win games, as Brentford fans saw last season, now it’s a squad without any real household names or star players, but it works better as a collective than what we had last season.
 
Q – What style of play should Brentford fans expect to see on New Year’s Day?
 
A – Patient and possession based with the pace being stepped up in the later stages of the match. Don’t leave early because there are always late goals where Norwich are involved.  The Canaries simultaneously have the joint-worst defensive record in the division at home and the second best away defensive record which shows how much fun they are to watch. You never quite know what you’re going to get.
 
Q – Who are the key Canaries players to watch out for?

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A – Teemu Pukki has to be the main shout in terms of attacking play, especially now that he has caught up with Neal Maupay in goalscoring terms.  I’ve been really impressed with right back Max Aarons too. It’s amazing to think he only made his debut in August.
 
Q – Finally can you give me an expected line-up and formation please?
 
A – (4-2-3-1)  Krul – Aarons Zimmermann Klose Godfrey – Tettey Vrancic – Stiepermann (as a deep No.10) – Cantwell Hernandez – Pukki.

 

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook

PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS

For Norwich fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

As you are probably well aware, Brentford is well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground.

The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and the Royal Oak are the other options.

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Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.

The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields. The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) by the away turnstiles.

There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave)– right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.

And another new pub worth checking out is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road.

There is a pub right by Brentford mainline station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.

For real ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push.

The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super-adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge, and across from the site of the Bees’ new stadium at Lionel Road, with a deck overlooking the river – and The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel. There are a load more pubs in the river in Kew if that takes your fancy.

A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many, many more too if you have a look around.

Parking near the stadium is a no no but is pretty easy in the streets north of Griffin Park on the other side of the A4 Great West Rd via Ealing Road or Windmill Road. Make sure you look our for the parking signs which change from area to area.

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Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.

On New Year’s Day, there is one train an hour from Waterloo at ten to the hour and two trains back into town at 12 and 42 minutes past.

By tube, it’s 35 minutes to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (less from Paddington) and then 15 minutes walk to Griffin Park from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford pub crawl outlined above (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe, Griffin) of course. If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops).

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.

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About The Author

Ian Westbrook

Bees fan since 1971 - been through all the ups and downs. Written about, reported on, commentated on and wittered on about all things Brentford in that time as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands of games, and loved every minute of it!

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