PR: Hull City vs Norwich City
Norwich are yet to win, and even Tuesday’s penalty shootout triumph over Birmingham City came after a two-goal second-half collapse. Having said that, City have been unconvincing. A last-minute win on the opening day perhaps glossing over what we have seen since; being dominated against Preston and then on Tuesday night, a disappointing defeat against an opponent from two leagues below.
Previous games vs Norwich have at least been exciting affairs. The Tigers won 4-3 at home in March 2018 whilst at Norwich last time out, the Canaries managed a 3-2 win. The bookies have Norwich as favourites, with odds as low as Evens for them to overcome Shota Arveladze’s side. This seems a bit harsh considering the poor form of the visitors, a smarter bet instead might be betting on both teams to score or over 2.5 goals. Other than that, it’s a difficult game to call.
Not only have Norwich managed to retain the majority of the players from their relegation-doomed team from last season, they also added to it with the signing of Gabriel Sara, a 23-year-old attacking midfielder who won the Brazilian championship with Sao Paulo in 2021. The main danger remains Teemu Pukki of course. The Finnish finisher managed 26 goals the last team he played at this level. Don’t be fooled if you see Aaron Ramsey on the Norwich teamsheet. The midfielder is the younger brother of Aston Villa’s Jacob, not the former Arsenal and Juventus star. Fun fact: Aaron and Jacob’s Dad Mark was a professional boxer who twice went the distance with Ricky Hatton (but ultimately lost both times). Hopefully, on Saturday, Ramsey Jr will also be on the end of a losing points outcome vs his own Northern opponent.
I’d expect to see a City lineup similar to the team that faced Preston, rather than the XI that turned out against Bradford. Ingram should return in goal with Baxter still out. Tetteh and Oscar will hopefully continue to look sharper as they gain match fitness. Those two getting amongst the goals could well be the difference in what could otherwise be a tight affair. I’m going to stick my neck out and predict a 2-1 victory, with a goal apiece for the two strikers. My fellow OSC previewer Rob Black last week said, “the key to a successful season…is to win your home games and pick up points on the road”. Should the boys grab a 2-1 win as I’m predicting, it’ll be 7 points from 9 in the league. A promising start considering the number of new faces still settling in at the MKM. In truth, even a draw on Saturday would be a positive result against a recently relegated side.
Jason Harrison from Hull City OSC