FA cup preview - Norwich City vs Fulham
The FA cup third round kicks off on Saturday with all the twenty premier league sides joining the competition. Fifteenth place Norwich host Sixteenth place Fulham in what promises to be an exciting contest. Although the FA cup is not priority for either side, a win would certainly help boost the confidence of the team.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton mentioned in his press conference that he would use this game as an opportunity to rotate his squad. The manager already has enough injuries to deal with and the one match suspension of midfielder Leroy Fer deepens his crisis. “We will certainly use the squad, but that is more a necessity with the ones we have out and some which have knocks”, the manager said in his press conference.
A positive for Chris Hughton is that Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has returned from injury and is expected to start. “Ricky will certainly play. He has had an introduction, if not starting, since the injury so the call to start him on Saturday is the ideal one.”
The lethal dutch forward who signed from Sporting CP in the summer has failed to adapt to the english game. He has managed just the one goal, which he scored on the opening day of the season. Fans will be hoping that Ricky will soon re-discover his goal scoring form and fire Norwich to league and cup success.
Recently appointed Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen has no fresh injury concerns ahead of this third round FA cup clash. He is yet to find the perfect winning combination for Fulham, but he has incorporated a system of football to suit his aging squad.
It has been an emotional roller coaster since he took charge at Fulham. Just one week ago, Fulham were handed a 6-0 thrashing by Hull and a few days later they emerged victorious against local rivals West Ham.
Rene Meulensteen has been making several changes to his starting eleven each game and you can expect him to continue to do so when his side travel to Carrow road on Saturday.
Interestingly, neither side has won the FA cup in the history of the competition. Norwich have reached the semi finals a few times, most recently in 1992. Fulham reached the finals of the FA cup once, way back in 1975.
Fulham and Norwich in the FA cup in the last five years :
Year Fulham Norwich
2009 quarter finals 3rd round
2010 quarter finals 2nd round
2011 5th round 3rd round
2012 4th round 5th round
2013 4th round 4th round
The FA cup has lost its shine over the years, with teams treating the tournament lightly in order to stay focused on the league. However, cup glory is every fan’s dream. If a team can qualify to the fourth round, from there onwards, anything can happen. Remember, Wigan Athletic went onto win the FA cup last year by beating Manchester City in a remarkable fashion. It is the drama and passion that makes the competition so special.
The start of the FA cup presents new hope to players and fans alike, maybe this could be their year.Published 03 Jan 2014, 17:17 IST