After a week’s break for the QPR game, Sixy Talk is back as Matt from Holtamania pops round to talk about how Norwich are finding life in the barclayspremierleague, how Grant Holt is coping with a new role and how to turn your half-time pie into a leathal weapon. Over to you Matt…
Wigan Athletic – what do you really think about us?
If you don’t like Wigan, you don’t like football, frankly. I don’t understand the people who criticise the club based on history or attendances etc, as if football should only be a competition between the 20 biggest towns and cities. Wigan’s constant survival is a reminder that unfashionable clubs can be well run, can play good football and can upset teams. And the football that Martinez has you playing these days is better than most teams in the Premier League. Last season at Carrow Road we drew 1-1 but you guys should have won by about 3, you were passing it at ease through our defence only to end up skying it from about 9 yards. Some of your defenders are pretty rank though. Mainly Gary Caldwell.
How you finding the Premier League? All good or have you found the poisoned chalice yet?
It’s still exciting… for now. Upsetting big clubs has made this season worthwhile because were less fun to watch now Lambert has left. More solid, but less fun. I think everyone that comes up from the Championship accepts that league is more enjoyable than this, mainly because it’s more equal. Unfortunately the Prem will generally end up in the same way every year, threes very little scope for clubs to really grow without Billionaire owners and while its always good to see the best players at your stadium, threes something very.. sterile about it. I also find the fans get more annoying.
Grant Holt is apparently finding it a bit harder this season. Is that hangover from the summer’s shenanigans, a loss of momentum, or something else?
We’re playing a different system under Hughton than we did under Lambert. Last season we were very attacking, only the top 5 or 6 scored more goals than us, and everything was geared into being a good attacking unit. So Holt was able to thrive under numerous crosses and through-balls. Now he’s being asked to lead the line as a lone striker in a much more defensive system. He’s still got a couple of wingers but they get forward less. He’s got 4 goals so far this season and I do think hell get double figures, but I try to look past the goal numbers and see the general play, and he’s doing fine for me. He’s working very hard, occupying defenders, trying to win the ball high up the pitch. Holt is a deceptively hard worker (to fans of other teams), and that is one of his biggest strengths.
Ultimately as long as someone is scoring and he’s pulling his weight, I’m fine with him.
A lot of people had you down for a dose of (ahem) second season syndrome this time around, but yesterday I was told that you’re going to be European challengers. Which is nearest the truth, and what’s going to keep you up?
I hate the term second season syndrome with an absolute passion because it’s a complete fallacy. It’s happened about 6 times in 20 years. But yes, lots of people expected us to be found out and that wed suffer from Lambert leaving, including plenty of our own fans. Early in the season it looked like they might be right, but we’re now 9 unbeaten in the league and closer to the top 4 than the bottom 3. Now if we finish in that sort of position itd be an incredible season, but I find it hard to judge. Plenty of teams below us will get better (like Villa, Sunderland, Southampton) and we need to keep our foot on the pedal to make sure they don’t catch us.
Ultimately this season as long as we finish with three teams below us, I’ll be happy. Anything else is a bonus. If we do stay up, it’ll be because of our new found defensive solidity. Bassong has been playing incredibly well and Alex Tettey is an absolute steal, protecting the back four and keeping opposition players in his pocket.
How will tomorrow’s game pan out?
Hmmm. I think we’ll win, we’ve won 4 in a row at home now, conceding just 1 goal, and I think we can keep you guys at bay. But then I could be completely wrong. I’m going for 2-0. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kone scored, though. He’s looked good.
I’m guessing that your favourite filling is pork, but what’s your recommended method for eating a pie? What condiments and otheraccompaniments do you go for?
I’m actually a vegetarian, and at Carlow Road they occasionally put on this curried bean/lentil sort of pie, which is pretty damn good. I find the best method for eating the pie is to put a straw through the top and ingest the curried goodness from within. You’re then left with a sort of pastry shell which you can fill with stones and throw at the opposition fans, or listen to the sea through the hole, like the conch in Lord of the Flies. (I don’t actually do this, often).
Cheers Matt, one of those pies sounds just the trick to clear this monster hangover I’ve got this morning. Stick us one in the post…
Holtamania is the premier Norwich City blog providing thoughts on depth tactics, stats, memories about Norwich in years gone by with some just stupid pictures and bad jokes, thrown in. You can find them on the web, on Twitter and on Facebook
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