On April 12th, Norwich City travel down to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham. After sacking their previous manager, Chris Houghton, earlier in the week, Norwich will be expecting a good result today against relegation threatened Fulham. Looking at Norwich’s run in for their last four games, this is the Canaries final reasonable shot at picking up the points needed to stay in the Premier League.
After getting smashed by a combined 8-1 in their previous two games, Fulham were able to grab three points versus Aston Villa to drag them off the bottom and into 18th place. Fulham will try to take momentum from that win and beat 17th place Norwich. If they were to do so, that would give the Cottagers real hope of staying in the Premier League next season. This is a relegation six-pointer with huge ramifications for whichever team can grab the three points from this game.
Norwich will have to deal with an injury to star man Leroy Fer who will be a game time decision. The Canaries will also have to deal with injuries to centre-back Michael Turner and midfielder Elliot Bennett. Fulham are dealing with an injury to their record signing, Kostas Mitroglou, with fears that he could be out for the season with a pesky knee injury. Fulham will also be without the services of Damian Duff and Dan Burn through injuries. The Cottagers could have Scott Parker and Gergious Karagounis who will both face late fitness tests.
- Norwich have conceded 15 goals in their last four trips to Craven Cottage.
- Norwich are yet to win an away game in 2014.
- Fulham have only kept one clean sheet in their last 18 games.
- So far Norwich have scored less than a goal per game.
- Last season, the only two teams that scored less than a goal per game were relegated.
- Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper cost Norwich £13.5m and have only scored six goals. That averages to £2.25m per league goal. While that is bad, Fulham spent £12m on Kostas Mitroglou and he is yet to score for Fulham.
One player who has flourished at Fulham since Felix Magath took over has been Ashkan Dejagah. Dejagah flourished under Magath at Wolfsburg and seems to enjoy playing under him at Fulham as well. Since Magath took over, he has scored three goals and bagged an assist in six appearances. Over the entire season, he’s created a chance every 58 minutes for Fulham and has converted an impressive 36% of his chances this season. With record signing, Kostus Mitroglou, arriving to Fulham unfit, Dejagah has been Fulham’s main goal threat lately.
While he has struggled for form recently Norwich striker, Gary Hooper, does have the natural ability to score goals, something Norwich have struggled with. It has been a long time since Hooper scored a goal, in fact he has not scored since Boxing Day. His lack off production coupled with the poor play of Norwich record signing, Ricky Van Wolfwinkel, has resulted in a tough season for Norwich. The Canaries have only managed 26 goals, second to last in the Premier League, which has led to their poor league position. If they are to stay up, Norwich will need Gary Hooper to step up his game and score some goals.
The horrible defense of Fulham will need to prevent the inept offense of Norwich. This is a game where it really doesn’t do either side any good. Hopefully, this will cause both teams to go for the game and hopefully make for a wide open game of football. If Fulham were to lose this game they would fall eight points behind Norwich and could fall eight points short of safety, depending on other results. That makes this game a must win for Fulham in their hopes to stay up. In the end, I think Norwich will come away with the points