Category: Norwich City

Frustrated | Once again Arsenal failed to break down inferior opposition in a pattern drearily reminiscent of previous seasons. (Image | The Guardian)

With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.

Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.

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Stalwarts | Paul Lambert and Grant Holt have, more than any other figures, been synonymous with Norwich City’s mercurial rise from League One to the Premier League. Both will be sorely missed. (Image | EDP)

“It’s over, you don’t need to tell me.”

Norwich City Football Club look almost certain to lose manager Paul Lambert, the man who took the Canaries from bedraggled League One also-rans into genuine contenders in the Premier League. Further to this. With Aston Villa expecting to name Lambert as their new permanent boss on Wednesday, it has been rumoured that the Scotsman will make Grant Holt his first signing, for a fee in the region of £3m.

This is the nightmare scenario for City: while it is understandable that Lambert, who is fiercely ambitious and has worked wonders in the space of three years at Carrow Road, would want to move on one day, the timing is painful for the Yellows. Having acquitted themselves tremendously in the top flight, and not once looked out of place against more illustrious and financially potent competitors, the club is set to lose its heartbeat, the core of a tight-knit group of players and coaches.

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Grant Holt scored twice at the weekend to see off Wolves, but nationally he is still somewhat of an irrelevance.

The cult of Grant Holt, the portly former non-league Norwich City forward, is much like the city he plays in: provincial and retarded. Holt has adapted exceptionally well to the challenges of Premier League football, making a similarly seamless step up to the top flight as he did to Championship football following the Canaries’ promotion in 2010.

However, the cult surrounding his modest debut season in the “greatest league in the world” is enough to provoke an intense vomiting fit. Holt is no superstar. Nor is he supremely talented. Holt’s game relies on intense physicality, the skewing of the spirit of the game to the maximum extent permissible, usually based on the referee’s inability to adhere to the rulebook, and opportunism. Now, you wouldn’t build a shrine to Dave because he managed to get a senior managerial job at EDF Energy immediately after quitting the humdrum of installing Virgin Media aerials, would you?

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Andre Villas-Boas was sacked as Chelsea manager Sunday after a 1-0 away loss to West Brom

Well, the inevitable happened again. Chelsea fired a manager. Big deal.

Andre Villas-Boas has looked ready for the chop since Christmas. The youngest manager in the Premier League, in his third season as a manager, sitting in the hottest seat in world football? Working for the most trigger-happy owner in top-class sport with a record of three wins in 12 games? Fighting a losing battle in seemingly trying coerce a group of veteran superstars into his new-age training and tactical methods? It could never last.

And yet, after casting aside numerous more successful managers without a second blink, that trigger-happy owner didn’t want to fire this one.

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