Norwich City face a long trek to Wales to face Cardiff City for their opening game of the 2022/23 Sky Bet Championship season. They will be hoping to leave Wales with all 3 points and a positive start to the campaign, but Cardiff will not make it easier. Cardiff finished 18th in the table and will want to improve that result this season. Norwich will be entering this game as strong favourites to win the game.
Whenever Norwich have played Cardiff, it has always been a close game on the scoresheet the last three times they played there has only been one or two goals between the team and overall Norwich have played Cardiff City 58 times and won 33 games, drawn 9 games and Lost 16 games. You will have to go all the way back to 14th April 2018 was the last time Cardiff was victorious over the Canaries.
One player to watch for Cardiff is their Player of the season Rubin Colwill who is a very lively winger who likes to use his pace to get past players and cross balls into the box although his stats say he has had a poor season. It is quite the opposite he has proved himself to be a vitally important player in the Cardiff team who also is not afraid to track back and help the defence out when needed.
The following game they will be welcoming Wigan Athletic to Carrow Road and this will also be their first home game of the season they will be hoping to get another positive result. The fans will also turn out with an expected sell-out crowd wanting to see vast improvements in their team after the abysmal football they watched last season in the premier league. Wigan are coming off the back of an amazing season finishing top of league one on 92 points just 2 points ahead of Rotherham.
Wigan player of the season Jack Whatmough has been a must starter in defence helping them to keep 16 clean sheets has been extremely consistent with his levels of performance across the last season at centre back. Jack would be the player you need to look out for with his constant performance but another player to watch out for is James McClean who has been an absolute menace he has been causing defenders a whole load of issues and is very good at tracking back and helping the defender.
The head-to-head record says Norwich should win comfortably with us last losing to Wigan on 4th March 2015. Norwich have played Wigan 15 times, won 7 games, drawn 5 games and lost 3 games so this shows they should win but you can never ever underestimate a team in the championship.
They then welcome Birmingham City to Carrow road for a Carabao Cup match again expect to see changes in the team this gives Dean Smith the perfect opportunity to see some of the other players in a competitive action. Birmingham City have had plenty of plenty of issues with their club this season after the constant mismanagement of the club by the board the fans have had to protest on multiple occasions and they had shut their stadium for repairs, but they seemed to have gone nowhere and the owners have never approached or spoke to the media and kept the fans updated. Birmingham will be wanting to come and cause upset but they also understand that this isn’t going to be an easy game.
Their best player from last season was Matija Sarkic who was a keeper on loan from Wolves he played 26 games for the blues and kept 10 clean sheets before he got a season ending injury. The 2 players that could stand out would be Youngster Jordan James and Veteran Gary Gardiner they both got young player of the season and Players’ player of the season awards for their effort in the midfield to try and keep Birmingham a float both of them offer some different things such as long balls out wide to the wingers and then being able to do the technical dribbling around the opposition defenders.
Norwich had one of their worst seasons in their history and will be looking to assure they trim the squad down and allow some of the youngsters to go out on loan and get experience in a range of different leagues.
Norwich City have made several signings of both players and also backroom staff to help sure they improve in their areas of weakness. One of the first signings was an addition to their backroom staff Allan Russell joined the club from the England national team set up as specialist set piece coach after watching Norwich last season this will be welcoming news to a lot of Norwich supporters who week in and week out left the stadium angry and the distinct lack of quality in our set pieces.
Allan has experience with the England senior team and he has helped develop their set piece from being one of the worst teams to one of the best whilst also helping them to get all the way to the Euro Final which they narrowly lost to Italy.
Then the first big signing for Norwich was Isaac Hayden from Newcastle on loan. Isaac will obviously now struggle to get into the Newcastle team with the new owners, but he comes down to Norwich with a point to prove. He brings bags of experience with after being at Newcastle for 6 years and playing over 150 games for them, he has experienced the highs and the lows of League football and he fits perfectly into the philosophy that Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare are trying to create.
Isaac is seen as a defensive midfielder, a position which seems to have been an issue ever since Oliver Skipp left the club. Norwich Have been wanting a player who is willing to graft and then knows when to put a tackle in when needed to help relieve the defence, but the fans may have to wait a few more game to see him in action after he had a minor operation to drain the fluid from his knee after seeing it swell during a pre season session at Colney.
The club’s second signing of the season came in the form of Gabriel Sara for a reported club record fee and there is a full scout report on the player already available on the woodwork by a fellow Norwich City fan in Ben Holding which you can find here: https://www.thewoodworkuk.com/post/a-look-into-norwich-s-new-club-record-signing-gabriel-sara
Also saw Norwich release a few players Josip Drmic who had never really made an impact at all to the squad when he was on the pitch and when he came in was playing as a 2nd choice striker behind Teemu Pukki but Norwich sent him out on loan after it is believed he had a fallout with Daniel Farke he went to Rijeka in Croatian top league he went on to have a really good season playing 30 games and scoring 21 goals which is something that wouldn’t have happened under Farke due to his playing style. He has since been released and Dynamo Zagareb signed him on a free transfer.
Norwich have also released a number of other players such as Aston Oxborough who has had horrible luck with injury. Also, Lukas Rupp was also on the released list and he is still looking for a club.
Norwich also sold youngster Akin Famewo for a rumoured 54k after his quality seasons with Charlton. He went for experience and never really got the opportunity in the Norwich City team but in those seasons has improved massively in several areas such as defending skills and also his tactical awareness. He has signed for Sheffield Wednesday with the hopes of helping them get to the playoffs and also try and stabilise his career. He has massive potential and he will definitely be one player to keep an eye on for the future.
Also, a number of youngsters got released such as Reece McAlear, Nelson Khumbeni, Soloman Alidor-Hamilton and Olatune Okeowo; they have all featured for the Norwich youth teams on a number of occasions. Reece McAlear spent the season out on loan at Inverness CT where he regularly featured in the team he made over 34 appearances for them. He then this summer signed a 2 year deal with League Two side Tranmere Rovers and was hoping to be making an impact in the team.
Norwich City start the season with a good run of games and will be hoping to get the maximum amount of points and they will also be watched as everyone expects Norwich to be promoted comfortably. However, they also have been watching Norwich this season and know that they may potentially exploit a number of different areas of the pitch.
The most obvious one being the midfield which has been very poor for several seasons. This will be the area that should be focussed on the most in the transfer window. Also, another of the areas of weakness is the attacking midfielder position which they have struggled to find consistency, but reports are suggesting that Norwich are close on signing a Brazilian winger called Gabriel Sara from Sao Paulo who would help fill the gap in the team.
I would say my players to watch this season would be Andrew Omobamadele who has shown us glimpses last season what he was capable of and he added to the centre back role perfectly he was physical and also was quick to shut down any chance he could get to. Sadly, his season was cut short due to a back injury that kept him out for the rest of the season.
The next player who is vital to the Norwich City team is none other than Teemu Pukki who has consistently performed at championship level and has plenty of goals and he will be key this season if Norwich want to get promoted.