Daily Archives: 26/04/2018

Norwich Blog “City of Yellows” Guest Previews Canaries v Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

Hoolahan

Carrow Road bids farewell to Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan on Saturday v United

I’m very glad to publish an “opposition preview” of the coming weekend’s game at Carrow Road, as Leeds travel to meet the Canaries. In the reverse fixture, we managed a narrow 1-0 win over City via a Pontus Jansson first half header. Despite Saturday’s game being meaningless as far as the league season goes, you’d imagine that Norwich will be keen to end their home season on a high by gaining revenge, especially as they say farewell to a legendary performer (and someone I for one would have liked to have seen playing for United) in Wes Hoolahan. Thanks to Charlie, one of the editors at City of Yellows, for providing this insightful match preview. 

Recent defeats to high-flying Cardiff and Fulham forced Norwich City fans to reflect on what might have been, and how far we still have to go. Now, the final home game of the 2017/18 season will provide a different sort of reminder – a warning. Our opponents, Leeds United, represent what Norwich City must desperately avoid as old legends move on and the ‘Farke-life’ new era continues.

Formerly one of the greatest sides in English football, a couple of uninspiring seasons quickly turned into a stagnant decade of second and third division football for Leeds United. They are now one of the most experienced cellmates currently trapped in the Championship prison; past mistakes have left them tied to mid-table, with nothing to do but remember happier times. Wes Hoolahan’s final game for the Canaries symbolises Norwich leaving an exciting time in its own history behind; hopefully, we will not be punished for it as Leeds have been.

On Saturday, Carrow Road will play host to two teams sitting side-by-side in mid-table obscurity; two sets of players who have failed to fill the boots of their predecessors, and two sets of passionate fans who deserve better. Commentators and fans tried their best to put a positive spin on City’s previous 0-0 draw away at Preston, but it is one of countless score lines that reflect the Canaries’ lack of threat in attack. Leeds’ vulnerable defence, having conceded 62 goals this season, could be there for the taking – it is up to City to pleasantly surprise their fans by actually taking advantage.

Bolstered by their retention of tricky attacker Pablo Hernandez, Leeds will be determined to finish their own season on a high – if only to take their minds off a questionable upcoming post-season tour of Myanmar. With more action off the pitch than on it, you may think that Leeds fans see little promise in their future. Just one visit to Elland Road would prove you wrong: every time I have visited Elland Road, I have always admired the Leeds supporters’ refusal to have their spirit and passion quashed by boardroom shenanigans; the atmosphere they create is always palpable whatever dreadful circumstances their team find themselves in.

With Wessi waving his final goodbyes and the presentation of the Player of the Year trophy (can’t think who that’ll go to…), the match is bound to have an ‘end-of-season’ feel to it.

On paper, this result means nothing for either set of players, other than a step closer to their summer holidays. But football, of course, is not played on paper. Leeds will bring their usual spirit and grit to the game, challenging Norwich players to prove that they have the determination and passion that they claim to have whenever they are interviewed!

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International Call Up for Leeds Striker Ekuban Proof of Quality – by Rob Atkinson

 

Ekuban

Caleb Ekuban shows striking potential for United

It must be a bit of a kick in the teeth for the self-proclaimed experts on the Leeds United #LUFC Twitter hashtag, or feed, or whatever these geeks call it, to see that Whites striker Caleb Ekuban has been called up by the Ghanaian national squad. It’s always a bit galling when mere football professionals dare to set up their opinions against the omniscience of the Twatterati, but there you go. Some people just haven’t got a clue.

In the real world, of course, those in charge of the Ghana squad have seen the potential in Ekuban; possibly, they even feel all that’s required is for the lad’s confidence to be given a timely boost. It’s the sharp edge of his game that needs honing to perfection, that ice-cold instant of detached judgement that makes the difference between a finish and a miss. Even Roy of the Rovers had similar issues at some stage, even Jimmy Greaves, Robbie Fowler – any striker worth the name. Any and all of them will tell you that most of the art or science of playing in attack is to be in the right place at the right time. For the most part, Ekuban has demonstrated this facility, together with an appetite for graft that has endeared him to those in the Leeds crowd who appreciate that sort of thing. “You’ve got to be there to miss the chances”, as old-school centre-forwards would tell you – getting into the positions, that’s the secret. The rest is down to that elusive quality of confidence, something that has been shouted out of Ekuban’s game by the clueless mob who pour scorn out of their idiot box keyboards.

The call up to the national squad could make a big difference to our Ekuban, and the team may well reap the benefit of that when it matters, next season. Alongside the expected renaissance of Samu Saiz, and given a season a little more blessed, with no niggling injuries for Caleb and no bloody silly suspensions for Samu, there’s a formidable attacking partnership ready to blossom. Mark my words.

And, if you don’t believe me, put your faith in the judgement of the Ghana national tam selectors – they should know a decent striker when they see one. I’m not saying that Ekuban is another Yeboah. Then again, I’m not saying he doesn’t have the potential. All I want is for the lad to be given a fair chance, without a bunch of clueless yahoos just waiting to pounce on any missed chance and jump on an easy bandwagon. Yep, that’d be nice.

I won’t hold my breath, though. Good luck, Caleb Ekuban – and I hope you ram the flawed judgement of our resident online idiots right back down their throats.