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Can Norwich scrape any points from their remaining games?

The Boot Room

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Last weekend’s game against Fulham represented a real six pointer for the Canaries. In a relatively close game Norwich certainly had the better chances with both van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer forcing David Stockdale into two excellent saves, whilst the crossbar helped keep out a dangerous free kick from Robert Snodgrass.  Even after Hugo Rodallega’s strike late in the first half Norwich still looked on for a comeback.  Yet, it was Fulham who eventually prevailed after a period of some real last ditch defending leaving Norwich without a goal now in their last three matches.

After the game new manager Neil Adams could not fault the effort of his Norwich players emphasising the first class fighting spirit they displayed throughout the game. Nevertheless, the question still remains that if the Canaries cannot pick up any points in a relegation six pointer how can they hope to gain any from their last four games against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal?

Evidently, the Canaries aren’t going to be favourites in any of their remaining games, least of all against current league leaders Liverpool. After the rousing scenes at the end of the Red’s 3-2 victory against Manchester City few sides would relish the prospect of playing a buoyant Gerrard and co. Suarez in particular will look forward to this fixture having put four beyond the reach John Ruddy when the two sides met in the league back in December. The Uruguayan has now scored 11 goals in his last five games against the Canaries and will seek to lay further damage to the survival hopes of Neil Adams’s Norwich side. Whilst Norwich will be in front of their home crowd at Carrow Road they will feel that they need more than 12 men to beat a Liverpool side looking to extend their winning streak to a record 11 games as they close in on their first league title in 24 years.

When the fixture list came out back in June Norwich would have no doubt been dreading a trip to Old Trafford at this pivotal time of the season. As it is this fixture could present Norwich with a half decent chance of picking up some vital points. United’s poor home form has been well documented this season, as has their frequently unsteady defensive showings. The Canaries will look to take advantage of this as much as possible as they seek to avenge a 4-0 defeat inflicted on them in the League Cup at Old Trafford back in October.

Jose Mourinho may well still be conceding that Chelsea’s title hopes are over yet Manchester City’s latest 1-1 draw with Sunderland has thrown Chelsea right back in the mix. Add to this the fact that City have still got to go away to Everton and people will start believing Chelsea really can regain their first Premier League title since 2010; everyone except Jose that is. This again highlights the fact that the Canaries will have to produce something extra special to beat Mourinho’s men. Chelsea currently have the best defensive record in the league, conceding only 24 goals, and for a Norwich side who have only scored 26 goals all season and failed to find the net against Fulham, the omens do not look promising.

The Canaries final game of the season comes against Arsenal and presents their best chance of picking up points. Whilst evidently subject to change, Arsenal’s current away form is poor having only picked up three points from their last five away games. Norwich’s home form in comparison presents positive reading for the Neil Adams and his men with eight points picked up from the same number of games. Form guide aside, with a must win FA Cup final the following weekend Arsene Wenger is likely to rest some of his key players. Norwich will hope that Arsenal’s trip to Carrow Road will be a mere sideshow to the main event for the Gunners in turn helping Norwich’s chances of picking up some vital points on the final day of the season.

Overall, Neil Adams does not have a bad squad at his disposal. Norwich have a real team ethic with a group of players capable of banding together to produce solid performances.  Yet, the problem for Norwich remains to be their lack of killer instinct in front of goal, and as the old saying goes ‘goals win you games’. The bookmakers are not favouring Norwich’s chances either with SkyBet placing the Canaries at 4/9 to go down despite the fact that Neil Adams’s side are currently two points clear of Fulham. If this season has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected. There is bound to be a few more twists and turns in the relegation battle yet so despite the incredibly difficult task ahead for Norwich such facts will at least keep the players motivated for an upset. Ultimately however, whilst Norwich may gain a few of points from their remaining fixtures, they will not pick up enough points to avoid the drop.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Everton

Everton fans react as Hirving Lozano puts Germany to the sword

The Mexican winger scored the winning goal and is being linked with Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Photo: Getty Images

Mexico have caused a World Cup shock by defeating Germany 1-0 in Russia. The player who scored the goal was Hirving Lozano, one of the players tipped by The Boot Room as one to watch at the World Cup.

The PSV Eindhoven winger put in a fine performance as Mexico put Germany to the sword. Throughout the game he left Germany’s excellent right-back, Joshua Kimmich, chasing shadows and his goal was a demonstration in poise.

Few fans should be surprised. ‘Chucky‘, as he is known, was incredible for PSV last season. He scored 19 goals and provided 11 assists for the Dutch side last season.

One team’s fans who were watching with interest were those at Everton.

Lozano has been heavily linked with a move to Goodison Park in recent weeks. He is a firm favourite of new Everton director of football Marcel Brands, who signed him at PSV.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

So his performance against Germany certainly impressed fans at Everton.

However, there was also a concern after the result.

Because now Everton fans are of the belief other teams will be coming in with better offers and the chance to play in the Champions League.

There was plenty of negative thinking from Everton’s fans, who are now afraid the talented attacker might head elsewhere.  

But with Brands’ influence, Farhad Moshiri’s funding and a strong link with his agent Mino Raiola Everton must keep the faith and hope that they can win the race for Lozano this summer.

Here is some of the reaction to his match-winning performance against Germany…    

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Tottenham Hotspur

Matias Vecino is not the man to replace Mousa Dembele for Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur may need a replacement for Mousa Dembele this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur are now being linked with a move for Inter Milan midfielder Matias Vecino. Tuttosport are reporting that Spurs, along with Everton, are keen on the Uruguayan – who has been told he can leave the San Siro this summer.

The fee involved would reportedly be in the region of £26.3 million for the player. The obvious link here is also the interest in Mousa Dembele from Inter. The Belgian is high on the Italian side’s wishlist, as his contract situation at Tottenham turns rotten.

But Spurs should steer clear of any deal for the Uruguay midfielder this summer.

Undoubtedly, he is a very good player. The 26-year-old is neat and tidy in midfield with an excellent passing ratio.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

But, as anyone who saw the recent Uruguay v Egypt game will testify, his passing range is hardly expansive.

Vecino prefers a sideways or backward pass, rather than trying to probe the opposing defence. It is for that reason that Tottenham should simply steer clear.

If Spurs are going to replace Dembele this summer they need to do so with a player who has the ability to be better than the Belgian. Vecino, simply put, does not even come close.

The impact of losing Dembele will be keenly felt at Spurs if the experienced midfielder goes and ensuring a top replacement is brought in is imperative for future success in North London.

Vecino is not the man for the job at Tottenham Hotspur and he would simply not last the course if he made the move this summer.

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West Bromwich Albion

Should West Brom have given Ali Gabr a chance at £1.1 million?

West Brom did not hand the 29-year-old a chance during his recent loan spell.

Mathew Nash

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When Egypt took on Uruguay in the World Cup recently it was a game West Brom fans watched with interest. The player they were keeping eyes on was Egypt centre-back Ahmed Hegazi. He is of course still a West Brom player, although has been linked with an exit after the club’s relegation. But alongside him in the heart of the Egypt defence was another player who should interest West Brom, Ali Gabr.

The 29-year-old was signed on loan in January to add strength to the West Brom defence. However, with the Baggies struggling to survive he was not given a chance in the first-team.

Gabr instead played just two games for the club’s under-23s. His first appearance was in a 2-0 defeat against Norwich City before he was given the runaround by Swedish striker Viktor Gyorkes in a 5-1 loss against Brighton.

West Brom will not be keeping him, based on his performances at the club.

(during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at Etihad Stadium on January 31, 2018 in Manchester, England.

The Express and Star reported this month that a £1.1 million option to sign him permanently had passed and he would be returning to Egypt.

But his performance against Uruguay suggested he deserved better. Gabr looked strong and solid defensively and was also impressive with the ball at his feet.

It certainly looked like the form of a player who could be effective in the Championship, especially with Jonny Evans leaving and Craig Dawson and Hegazi wanted.

West Brom cannot be blamed for deciding not to throw Gabr in last season and, it is hard to suggest he might have helped them stay in the Premier League. But based on his performance against Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez last week he might have been able to help them return.

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