April 13, 2012
While Manchester and England's top two clubs have been going back and forth in the playground squabble over whether the title race is finished or not, Norwich have been quietly getting back to form and picking up points. Even this morning, Roberto Mancini has done his best to play mind games with his United Counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, albeit in somewhat broken English/Italian.
However, unlike the last time the two teams met at Carrow Road, when Delia Smith left a famous imprint in the day's events and even less like that painful day in December of last year when Man City took all three points at the Etihad in a 5-1 drubbing against Paul Lambert's men, tomorrow's early Premier League kickoff promises to be a battle of a different nature. Mancini would to well to forget about Manchester United and focus solely on Paul Lambert.
When Manchester United visited in back in February they came up against a resilient and resourceful Norwich side. Had it not been for an excruciating Ryan Giggs volley, the title race could be a great deal closer. Coincidentally, since then, Manchester City have been on a dismal run of away form, having claimed just eight points from the 27 available.
April 3, 2012
Back in the middle of March, the League Managers Association asked all of the Premier League managers to answer a few simple questions; a survey, if you will. Each manager was asked to give his opinion on a number of questions including "Who is the most impressive boss?" and "which team do you most enjoy watching?" (75% of managers, accurately identified Spurs as the most enjoyable team to watch).
Bearing in mind that this was a survey of the Premier League's most erudite minds (and Mark Hughes), it was noteworthy that the top flight's newest managers, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert, amassed 87% of the votes for most impressive boss; Rodgers with 47% and Lambert taking 40%.
It comes as little surprise to the Swansea and Norwich faithful. We've watched these two teams build formidable reputations as tenacious competitors and who believe that you win games by playing attractive football.
A survey like this would ordinarily churn the rumour mill and cause great concern for the fans of smaller teams with revered managers. Which bigger club is going to take our manager? However, Norwich's recent run of poor results will leave many City fans feeling calm with regards to Paul Lambert's immediate future.
Although it only took him two and a half years to be inducted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame, it's possible, just possible, that the City gaffer's almost perfect record as the Canaries' boss is showing signs of weakness and the wheels could be coming off.