Fulham vs. Norwich City - Three Questions

Clive Rose

There's no SB Nation Norwich community. However, there are a lot of SB Nation sites, and I recently discovered David Wyatt who writes for Gang Green Nation is a Norwich supporter. An Englishman from Norwich who roots for the Jets might almost be as weird as an American in Seattle who supports Fulham. But he's a constant an Norwich home games, so who better to talk about this match.

CC: For some reason Fulham seem to have Norwich's number. Fulham have never lost to Norwich in the Premier League, and haven't lost to them in any competition since 1986. Is there any rational explanation for this? What kind of expectations do you have for Saturday?

David Wyatt: It seems as though every Premier League team has their bogey opponent, for us it seems to be Fulham and Liverpool. Unfortunately we have both before the end of the season. I always think it's more mental than anything. Obviously back in 2004, we lost at the Cottage to relegate us, there aren't many holdovers from that period so although that shouldn't affect us, it probably does to an extent. Saying that we have just sacked Chris Hughton, so Saturday has been shifted in terms of expectation. With Chris's boring, defensive style, I expected us to lose quite comfortably. However with Neil Adams in charge, I'm hoping we see a more open attacking style and if we can play to the strengths of our strikers, then maybe we can actually score some goals. A new manager is exactly what was needed to lift the fan-base. Saturday we heard the boos at Carrow Road and it was a poisonous atmosphere throughout. Now with a new man in charge, a man who led our youth team to success in the final last year and a Norwich City legend at that, I fully expect us to put up more of a fight.

CC: After this match Norwich have a brutal stretch: Liverpool at home, Manchester United away, Chelsea away, Arsenal at home. If Norwich don't pick up any points this Saturday, they face the very likely outcome of ending the season with 32 points. If Fulham defeats them, they will be only 2 points back with home fixtures against Crystal Palace and Hull. Fulham's away fixtures are at Spurs and Stoke, two teams with little to play for. Are you worried about Fulham making another great escape, at the expense of Norwich?

DW: A lot has been made about our run-in and there is no doubt this weekends fixture takes on extra importance with you guys around us. I think Fulham have a great chance to get out of trouble, but I also think the likes of West Brom and Swansea may be in trouble. So I don't think it's a case of Fulham or Norwich for the drop, however if we fail to pick up any points against you this weekend, it means we have perform against some of the bigger teams in the division. We have beaten Spurs and drawn against Manchester City this year, so I still won't be throwing in the towel if we lose this weekend. However it obviously becomes more likely we'll be relegated and Fulham will survive. I think we can get something against Arsenal, and potentially at Old Trafford, but it's asking a lot. Win this weekend and we'll be fine, lose and we're likely down.

CC: What's gone wrong for Norwich this season? What has gone right?

DW: We haven't been able to score goals. We spent a lot of money on Ricky Van Wolfswinkle and Gary Hooper and they've managed just 6 league goals between them and Ricky has only scored once. We haven't played to their strengths and Chris Hughton always set us up not to lose, with the team we have, we should be attacking more, playing a more open free-flowing game. Unfortunately playing the Chris Hughton way, a lot of the players seem to be frustrated and no-one more so than Van Wolfswinkle. He'll run all day for you and if we can play to his strengths, I think we can get the best out of him. We've also suffered a fair amount of injuries this season, Leroy Fer who has been one of our better players is currently out. Jonny Howson was out for a long time and we lost Elliot Bennett right at the start of the season. Ricky has experience some injury problems and I can't remember the last time we had a full squad to choose from. Unfortunately not a lot has gone right, we've kept a lot of clean sheets, and our home record is quite good. Which is why the West Brom result was such a surprise. We hadn't lost all year (2014) at home until Saturday.
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