Writer: Nick Sellers
Date:Saturday December 7 2013
You'd think after his previous two hat-tricks we'd have gotten the message by now.
But surprise surprise, Luis Suarez struck four more goals past a Norwich defence who will be understandably sick of him by now. If we're being perfectly honest though, with or without Suarez it was always going to be a long night, both in terms of the quality Liverpool possess and miles racked up on the coach.
Losing to the bigger clubs isn't so much a problem, but getting battered so unceremoniously leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. A taste we've endured our fair share of this season already.
In my last preview, I made something of an impassioned plea to give Hughton the credit he'd deserve if we could manage to get a result at Anfield. I should've known we'd get slaughtered thereafter, but my points from that entry still resonate in this edition.
With the greatest of respects to West Brom, a decent team in their own right, this is winnable game much in the same way our trip to Stoke looked good on paper. Of course we won at the Britannia, so we ARE capable of producing the goods outside of Norfolk on occasion after all.
Their form is a little patchy, and that makes this an important fixture for both teams in terms of trying to get their seasons back on track. WBA still harbour hopes of a potential Europa League spot, while our original target of a top ten finish isn't totally impossible if we can stop leaking goals.
Perhaps Hooper's exclusion from the starting line-up against Liverpool was intended to give him some respite for this weekend's game. It was still a surprise we went with Elmander as essentially the lone striker up front, especially with Becchio on the bench.
In midfield, it's good to see Hoolahan getting some game time again. The final result on Wednesday was dissapointing, but City did have their moments on occasion, and against a slightly more forgiving front-line it should be a slightly more comfortable afternoon for our defence.
With each passing defeat, Hughton arguably gets closer and closer to the exit door. But as he keeps proving; when the pressure mounts, he gets his team to deliver the goods.
Let's hope that trend continues on Saturday. After all, last time we played West Brom, albeit at Carrow Road, the 4-0 win was arguably the scene of his greatest triumph in his reign so far.
Here's your usual bits and bobs.
Jonas Olsson is suspended for WBA, while Youseff Mulumbu returns to the fold after serving a suspension of his own.
Nothing new to report from the Norwich camp. Van Wolfswinkel is still waiting for his comeback while Snodgrass and Pilkington are still out of action along with other long-term absentees in Tetty and Elliot Bennett.
Last time we met
Norwich were in the middle of a superb ten game unbeaten league run prior to their last trip to West Bromwich, but it came to an end after a tight contest at the Hawthorns.
Robert Snodgrass had put the Canaries in front with a peach of a free-kick, only for goals from Zultan Gera and Romelu Lukaku either side of half-time to cancel it out. This goal trail actually ended a poor spell for WBA who hadn't scored a goal in six hours of play going into the game.
Despite their excellent run going in - and the good performance in the game itself - the Canaries haven't rediscovered such form to this day. That first defeat in 11 matches is something which we never really seem to have come back from, providing almost a curse of sorts.
West Brom - LWDDLL
West Brom haven't been reaching the highs they experienced last season, but remain tough to beat all the same. Since they were battered 4-1 by Liverpool, they bounced back with a win against Palace before drawing with Chelsea and local rivals Aston Villa. They go into the Norwich game on the back of defeats to Newcastle and Man City.
Norwich - LLWLWL
That's 19 goals conceded in their last six now for the Canaries in all competitions, something which you hope doesn't get much worse any time soon. The two victories both came in home games but away form is still a big worry.
What's in store this time?
It ought to be a good contest and both sides will be going for it, especially with recent form not being great in either case and the points at stake becoming all the more vital.
Shane Long is always one to watch in games against the Canaries, and his record against us means he'll surely be handful. But with no Lukaku to contend with this year, they don't quite pose the same threat as they did throughout last term.
The key, as ever, is our actions in both boxes. Hooper is slowly finding his feet at this level and Becchio looks like he'll at least get a small window of opportunity to force his way back into the manager's plans. Elmander remains the biggest question mark, but maybe he too needs a bit of time to get bedded back in to Premier League proceedings.
As long as we don't get another Russell Martin apology at the end of a game, we'll be doing something right.
Date:Saturday December 7 2013
City Defeated In Five Goal Thriller (Sunday April 20 2014)
The Liverpool Preview (Saturday April 19 2014)
Adams Gives Injury Update (Saturday April 19 2014)
A Team To Beat Liverpool (Friday April 18 2014)
The Liverpool Point Of View (Friday April 18 2014)
Ruddy: We're Scrapping For Our Lives (Thursday April 17 2014)
Sturridge Will Miss Norwich Clash (Wednesday April 16 2014)
'Treat Norwich Like They're AC Milan...' (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Hello Neil - The Fulham Podcast (Monday April 14 2014)
Adams Insists There Is No Issue With Bassong (Monday April 14 2014)
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