Norwich are playing a game of football against a team called Sheffield United this Saturday which means it's time for Clare, Rich, Seb and Zoë to make some more wild predictions.
With four wins on the spin - five in total - and sitting third in the league, it’s safe to say Sheffield United are enjoying themselves. What an excellent time for our ‘work in progress’ to visit them. ‘Eee by gum.
It’s been six years since we last visited Bramall Lane. Back then we were the newly promoted team, with a highly regarded manager, players full of spirit, swagger and togetherness. And were making the step up to the Championship look simple. Unfortunately it’s now 2017; Sheffield United fit that description and we are casting a slightly green eye at our next opponents. Ok, a very green eye. It’s like an ageing man who is losing his looks (and weathering something of a midlife crisis) coming face to face with his twenty year old self. Galling.
Their team isn’t full of household names (ok, one of them is - absolutely not going there) but they play with with a ton of Yorkshire grit and determination. Impressive wins over Sunderland and Derby, and a hard fought 1-0 at Bolton on Tuesday that Chris Wilder hailed as the best result of the season; they have proved more than a match for most. United have a 100% record at home, and Norwich’s outstandingly terrible away form, one suspects this may be a tough one for City. Let’s roll that new impermeable defence out again. And cross every finger. All twelve of them.
Sheffield Utd almost signed a 17 year old Diego Maradona in the 1970s, but couldn’t agree a fee. Instead they plumped for another Argentinian, Alex Sabella, who was definitely not the greatest player the world has ever seen.
CT: The game against Birmingham showed Norwich are capable of digging in and doing the ugly stuff, but let’s face it; it’s an away game against a very good team who are full of confidence. I’m quite scared, nay, terrified. Just can’t see us getting anything here apart from more away day doom. I’m also hoping my incredible skill with these predictions continues, and I keep my record of 100% failure.
Clare Calculates: The defence will be less permeable than the last two away games, our performance more robust. Yet we will still lose. A painful 1-0 defeat.
RJ: This is a similar test to the one we faced at Millwall, both teams having come up from League One, and both being ‘no nonsense’. United though are flying. We obviously need to man up and acquit ourselves better defensively at Bramall Lane than we did at the Den and I think our improved solidity since that dark day will continue. Farke is bound to play with two sitting midfielders and I’d be surprised if it’s not Tettey & Trybull again. I feel we will concede but won’t capitulate this time, I also think we’ll notch a ghoul. Sheffield is a great place and there’s a lot to like about The Blades, apart from, well you know.
Rich Reckons: Honours even in the battle of the major food groups. Greasy Chip Butties, 1 - Weißwurste und Brezeln, 1.
ZW: I hope we hammer them and I hope he-who-we’ve-decided-not-to-name looks really sad about it, but I’d better not go into my feelings on all that. Four points from our last two games isn’t a disaster and we’re still unbeaten in September, a run I think will continue as City venture into God’s Own County. Now we’re excellent at defending, it’s time to rediscover our goalscoring form and locate a cutting edge. I really don’t ask for much. Seriously though, I’d take a point now.
Zoë Assumes: A well-earned point away from home, with some sparky signs we’ve remembered our va-va-voom, and some concern we’ve already forgotten how to be excellent at defending. 2-2.
SW: The last time we played Sheffield United I was there and Andrew Crofts basically scored two identical goals from corners. I went pretty mad celebrating those goals if I remember rightly. Oh how the two teams’ circumstances have changed in the period since. But here we are, back in the Championship, ready to face off again.
Their strong start to the season is only tainted by losses to Middlesbrough and Cardiff — two teams Steve Claridge will predict to be ‘there or thereabouts come the end of the season’. An unbeaten home record is a worrying thing for a Norwich side under pressure to ‘bounce back’ after that Burton draw, and now with Goaliveira injured, Cameron Jerome is called upon to actually put the ball in the net. I hope he can do it, as a 93 day emergency loan for Andrew Crofts is explicitly not an option.
Seb Foresees: A 1-1 draw in which we score from a set piece.