Ask The Opposition w/ Michael Manson – Norwich City vs Manchester City (Premier League)

After two painful weeks of international football, the proper stuff is back for your viewing pleasure! Manchester City will be looking to pick up where they left off, as they travel to face a Norwich side hampered by injury. It’s been a fixture that has favoured the blues of Manchester in recent meetings, with some dramatic scorelines including a 7-0, 1-6 and a 5-1 victory against the Canaries.

But ahead of this game, we’re facing a whole new side, and some may suggest a whole new club with the remarkable changes made to management and in the hierarchy of the Canaries in recent years – changes that have seen their deserved return to the top-flight. Daniel Farke has instilled an exciting style to this team and one Pep Guardiola will certainly be aware of going into this one.

Ahead of the game, we spoke to lifelong Norwich City supporter Michael Manson (Twitter – @MichaelManson93), who shared his thoughts on a variety of topics!

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Thanks for joining us Michael ahead of Saturday’s game! With the Premier League now four matches into the new season, how would you assess Norwich City’s start to life back in the top-flight?

All in all, we’ve made a positive (and tough!) start to life back in the top-flight.  Aside from West Ham, our performances have been solid with plenty of positives and we have shown that we can compete in the best league on the planet.  

What’s pleased me the most is that we are doing it our way. Yes teams may find us out as we’re quite one dimensional and don’t really have a plan B, but it’s sticking to the philosophy and style that got us into the top flight in the first place. Our performance against Newcastle a few weeks back just shows that we can turn it on against teams when we want too.  Following on from the game against Manchester City, we have a few nicer looking fixtures where we will realistically be hoping to pick up some points.

I’m just grateful, as I’m sure every Norwich fan is, to be playing football back in the best league in the world, where we belong.  


I’m sure everyone was aware of Teemu Pukki’s quite remarkable goalscoring antics in the Championship last season, but did you expect him to start this season in the manner he has done?

First of all, lets just talk about Teemu Pukki’s goalscoring antics last season.  My word, absolutely unbelievable.  No Norwich fan could have predicted that when we signed him on a free, that he would go on to score 29 goals in his debut season for the club.

It’s hard to predict whether any player can make the step up to the Premier League, but I was quietly confident that he would have no problem continuing his goal scoring form, and he has done just that.  Five goals and one assist in his first four games says all you need to know. It’s not just his finishing that makes him a joy to watch, it’s his runs and his movement to make space to be able to score goals and his selflessness.

Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling for Golden Boot?!  Absolutely not, Teemu Pukki’s name is already on it!

(Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Norwich City have already faced off against two of the Premier League’s traditional top six, and despite losing both games, what did you make of those performances? 

Both were really positive.  We brought the game to Liverpool and Chelsea, showing them that we weren’t scared of playing against some of the world’s best players. Our performances weren’t naive as some pundits we’re calling it.  We stuck to our attacking style of play and we won’t be changing it just because we’re playing against any of the big six.

Take a look at our game against Chelsea, we put them to the sword and almost got a result from the game.  However, their depth and class within the squad showed throughout the game.


Patrick Roberts hasn’t had the best of starts to life at Norwich City. What have you made of the Manchester City loanee and what would you highlight as the main reason behind his absence from the starting XI?

This is an interesting one. Through no fault of his own has he had a difficult start to life at Norwich.  During pre-season, he showed some real signs of promise with an absolute cracker of a goal against Luton. It didn’t help his case at all that the game he started against Crawley in the League Cup, we went on to lose 1-0.

Unfortunately for him, at the moment, we just have players such as Cantwell and Buendia, who are performing better than him and whilst that’s happening, he will struggle to get the break he needs.

It’s an ongoing internet meme that Pep Guardiola couldn’t do it at a ‘lesser side’ – so on that note, what impact, if any, could Pep Guardiola have on this current Norwich City side?

None.  Daniel Farke is our King.

Manchester City have had a quite remarkable start to the campaign, and have only been faltered through the intervention of VAR. What have you made of our start to the season?  

You’ve made an incredible start to the season, as expected. I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing your world class team grace the Carrow Road pitch.  It’ll be a pleasure to watch. I do believe that you will go on to retain the Premier League once again come May, however… I wouldn’t mind seeing Liverpool lift the trophy (sorry!).

How do you see this weekend’s fixture panning out?

It’s going to be an exciting game – end to end stuff, with plenty of goals.  If you can get a message to Pep Guardiola to give Raheem Sterling a rest, all Norwich fans would greatly appreciate it.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Norwich City predicted starting XI and score prediction?

We’ve had some extremely bad luck since the beginning of the season leaving our defence depleted beyond belief.  Add to that the injury that Max Aarons picked up whilst on international duty leaves us with currently four first team defenders. I may have shed a little tear whilst watching him hobble off the pitch.

That being said, I think this is the most likely starting XI; Krul, Bryam, Lewis, Amadou, Heise, McLean, Tettey, Buendia, Steipermann, Cantwell, Pukki.

I admire any Norwich fan who thinks that we can get a result but I just can’t see it happening, especially with how many changes we’re going to have to make:

Norwich 1-5 Manchester City.

You can follow our guest on twitter here: @MichaelManson93

You can follow the author on twitter here: @FreddiePye_

You can follow us here: @City_Xtra

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