Robins vs Canaries. A bantamweight match up that should see the feathers fly. Look, having been on the receiving end of bird puns for many years, we’re not going to miss the chance to use one or two when we get the chance. Deal with it.
The Robins are perched in joint third in the table after a barnstorming first half of the season, which, I think it’s fair to say, surprised most neutral observers. No wonder their fans are chirpy.
They’ve lost their last two in the league however, admittedly they were against Wolves and Villa, though the latter scored five past them last time out.
This is an incredible turn-around for Bristol City under manager Lee Johnson, as 12 months ago he looked to be a certainty for the chop having just overseen their eighth consecutive league defeat (a club record).
Again, that was from the outside looking in, as despite fan protests the club owner and board stuck with him, believed in his ability and the project, and are now reaping their rewards. This is particularly interesting as they have achieved what they have without any big name players as such, the emphasis is very much on the team ethic and system with academy players coming to the fore along with astute signings. Sound familiar?
One of their big hits this season has been Aden Flint, a Centre Back that we were linked with before he joined the Robins. The name of academy product Joe Bryan came to wider attention after his thunderbastard winner against Manchester United in the Caribbean Queen Cup. Our former pupil Korey Smith is also a reliable performer in central midfield.
In their league cup exploits this season they have beaten four Premier League sides (that’s two more than West Brom have managed); Watford, Stoke and Palace in addition to the aforementioned Manchester United on their way to the semi-finals. They also gave a more than creditable account of themselves in the first leg away at Manchester City this week, having the temerity to take the lead only to be clawed back before Aguero scored a late winner. Still, an away goal and the tie’s alive for the return to the West Country, could be a cracker.
Puff out your little red breasts lads, that’s amazing.
Incredibly, Bristol City and Bristol the city have never tasted top flight football. Could this be the season that this changes? They’ve redeveloped Ashton Gate wonderfully, with the fans in mind, and seem to have a team that may ensure Premier League football graces it. RJ
Bristol has a proud maritime heritage, apart from the slavery bit, that is. Captain Jack Sparrow off of out of on the Pirates of The Caribbean was a fictional Pirate. Not so Blackbeard who Sparrow’s look was based on, who is probably the most infamous and notorious pirate that ever sailed the seven seas, oo-ar. He was a Bristolian by birth and though it is Bristol Rovers who have his likeness on their badge, he was a regular on the terraces at Ashton Gate back in the day and a Robin through and through.
Bristol was the home of the innovative 1990s Trip Hop scene and spawned acts such as Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead. Coincidentally Bristol City once fielded the heaviest front two ever to play professional football when Harold ‘Tubby’ Taylor was paired with St John ‘Chunks’ McGeoghan for a 3rd Division South match against Barnsley in 1954. The pair weighed in at an impressive 34 stone 11 lb between them. That really was *takes off sunglasses and looks to camera* a Massive Attack. RJ
RJ: I feel we may see our back three in evidence again this weekend, for no other reason than I liked it. Bristol are one of the teams to beat and are way out of sight in terms of league position. The result very much depends on which Norwich shows up, if it’s the cohesive unit that held Chelsea in the Cup we can perhaps nick a win, if it’s the rabble that succumbed to a vibrant Brentford we’re in for a long afternoon. Let’s hope Bristol City’s Caribou Cup exertions have their minds elsewhere.
Rich Reckons: We’ve clicked and can build on our 7 points out of 9 from our last three league games. Brizzle Cizzle 1 - The Shizzle 1.
CT: Pritch-less and facing high-flying and uber confident Bristol City. Doesn't exactly sound like a recipe for a fun Saturday afternoon. In saying that, if the Norwich that performed so well against Chelsea turns up- Pritch-less or not- we *might* be ok. We can only hope Bristol are worn out from coming closer than most to giving Manchester City a fright.
Clare Calculates: Red Breasts 1-2 Yellow Birds. Because football sometimes surprises you when least expect it. And I'm feeling a bit crazy.
ZW: Seems like ages since we last played in the league for some reason, but we can’t forget that things were actually going alright at the back end of Christmas there. The Chelsea challenge should have continued that momentum, especially as it went pretty well in the end, didn’t it? It would be great to pick up three points away at one of this year’s properly decent sides, and I believe we’ll do it, as they’ll be tuckered out.
Zoë Assumes: BCFC 0-1 NCFC. The finest city to take away 3 points and a clean sheet.
SW: Having ditched the Pritch we’re undoubtedly without one of our best players. Having got shot of Wildschut, we’re arguably without one of our worst players. Hanley's presser suggested that we'll stick tight with the back three that was so solid against Chelsea, which is no bad thing if Pinto and Lewis can continue to bomb forward and provide much needed width. But if we could pick up a winger on the journey there that would certainly help. Surely there’s someone hanging about in the hard shoulder with an outstretched thumb, or waiting at a convenient service station equidistant from Norwich and Bristol. Robert Eagle? Michael Spillane? Anthony McNamee?!
Seb Foresees: A tricky little 1-2 win for the Norwich, with the winning goal ricocheting off Hanley’s massive arse.