With Milot Rashica and Mathias Normann excluded from Norwich City’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, Dean Smith has to make decisions.
The Kosovar international started his quality after a £ 9 million move from Werder Bremen in the summer to show, but a groin injury is likely to exclude him from the Canary Islands’ festive schedule.
Normann’s forecast is more optimistic, however. Injections are used to treat the Norwegian’s pelvic problems and he should be back for next weekend’s game against Manchester United.
Will Smith show confidence in those who do after a frustrating mid-week tie against relegation-threatened Newcastle failed to break ten men, or looking for new faces in the capital?
Here are some of the critical issues City’s head coach is facing ahead of Sunday’s game against Spurs.
Just as that Kosovare seemingly in impressive form, a training mistake put him on the injury table for three to four weeks prior to City’s trip to Newcastle United.
Rashica’s groin injury will likely mean the 25-year-old will be out of a busy festive schedule / p> On Tuesday, this presented an opportunity for Christos Tzolis, but he was sacrificed when Smith wed during the lull in the clash t made a tactical tweak to the Magpies on Tuesday.
The Greek international had a conversation with Smith after that game and understood the reasons for his substitution.
Smith saw the teen’s reaction in training that he saw himself wished, but whether that leads to another start remains to be seen.
Todd Cantwell might also be a contender to replace Rashica after missing the trip to St. James’ Park after being pinged.
The creative midfielder then returned a PCR test after the club took additional precautions and has now returned to training. It’s another setback in a season of frustrations so far for the academy graduate.
His last game against Southampton came when Smith admitted Cantwell’s lack of game fitness. It will be up to City’s boss to decide whether the trip to Spurs comes too early for the 23-year-old or not.
Mathias Normann’s setback is not as bad as initially feared, and City will continue to deal with it take care of the pelvic problem that has plagued him since arriving at the club.
The Norway international will miss Sunday’s trip to the capital but is expected to return as City welcomes Manchester United to Carrow Road next weekend.
Lukas Rupp stepped into the middle of midfield and acted impressively during a 55-minute cameo against the wolves. Despite criticism of Newcastle, it was another solid offer overall.
The German offers legs, experience and the security of possession that City may need to get points out of Spurs.
Given that Smith put a lot of emphasis on a higher press and more energy, an axis by Kenny McLean and Rupp is likely. Throw Billy Gilmour into the mix and you have a midfield threesome that City’s head coach thinks is closer to his vision. The American international was influential against Southampton but could do that level against Wolves or Newcastle won’t repeat.
Injuries elsewhere may extend his stay on the team, but with Tzolis, Cantwell, Dowell, Placheta and Adam Idah all waiting in the wings, the time for delivery is getting closer His efforts or pace of work outside of the ball are fair, but his technical ability in close quarters and his goal scoring are open to debate. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would be the perfect stage to silence those who doubted it.
Most thought the talks about who would be better suited for this position as a left-back ended when Smith decided to put Brandon Williams in to start his first game in charge of Dimitris Giannoulis.
The Manchester United loanee has performed well in Smith’s first three games, but Giannoulis’ impressive cameo against Newcastle seems to have reopened the debate.
Giannoulis’ shortcomings are obvious to most; Defensively, he looked shaky at certain points this season. However, Williams’ right footer means he’ll bring the piece back to the central areas if City works it out wide.
Given that Tottenham will likely take on Lucas Moura as the player of choice, it seems likely that Smith is in the lead again for Williams. Especially in view of the work he did for Nicolas Pepe at the beginning of the season.
But Giannoulis knocks loudly on the door and offers attack advantage, but also balance. The competition is healthy and Williams will have to perform here.
Here is Connor Southwell’s predicted Norwich City XI ahead of her trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
– Credit: Archant