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Half Term Report

After  the turmoil of Lambert leaving and Grant Holt wanting away, Chris Hughton came in, one of his first jobs to negotiate Holt's new deal, meaning City would kick off their campaign with their captain and tailsman still in the fold.

The opening day at Fulham looked like a game City could get something from  starting the season off on a positive note, sadly and shockingly City folded to a very poor 5-0 defeat,  City fans were in shock and looked quickly to the first home came of the season against money bags QPR. 

The two games against Rangers last season produced 6 points, many of us looked forward to opening our account with the first win. The game ended in a some what disappointing 1-1 draw, but after the Fulham debacle made this looked like a  positive result.

A 1-1 draw at Spurs gave everyone a big lift which didn't last that long, a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham was followed by a close 1-0 defeat to Hughton's old club Newcastle.  This was followed by a home thrashing at the hands of Liverpool 5-2 with Suarez loving his return to Carrow Road.

If things looked bleak after that disaster but it wasn't to get any better with a trip to Stamford Bridge, a Grant Holt opener gave everyone of us a little hope, which was soon short lived as Chelsea hit back to win the match 4-1

The following game saw Arsenal flying into Carrow Road, most of us feared the worse, but City shocked just about every football follower in the Country by dispatching the Gunner's back to London with their tails between their legs thanks to a Grant Holt strike.

This stood us in good stead to take on Paul Lambert's Aston Villa, a Michael Turner goal was enough to give us a share of the points, rather fortunate for Villa,   City took their improved league form to the Captial One cup with a sterling fightback to edge out Spurs 2-1 and secure a quater final place.

A 1-0 vistory over Stoke at Carrow coutesy of a Johnson goal, was followed by a hard fought draw ar Reading. A big home game followed with Man Utd being the visitors, many fans if they are honest didn't expect to see City getting much from this game.  But again just like Arsenal before, Utd were sent home pointless, thanks to a terrific Pilkington glancing header, Sir Alex went as far as to say City deserved their vistory as they were the best side on the day, some praise indeed if not totally heartfelt.

Bassong secured a 1-1 draw at Everton and Snodgrass helped Norwich repeat the scoreline four days later at Southampton with a free kick.

December saw City continue the improved form with a 2-1 defeat of Sunderland, then the goals started flying in with a terrific win at Swansea's Liberty Stadium; City romped into a 3-0 lead, a second half fightback by the home side brought the home side a little closer, but a well taken Robert Snodgrass finally killed off the Swans.

Villa were the visitor to Carrow Rd, a quick return to Norfolk for Lambert in the Capitol One cup quater final, a disappointing result for City saw Villa run out quite comfortable winners 4-1. Nobody seemed that concerned by this defeat , while Cup finals are a great day out and gives the winners a crack at Europe, the league is where the long term furture and income lays.

A visit to the Hawthorns home to WBA, held no fears for City,  after all we beat them there twice last season once in the league followed by the FA Cup.  City looked to be coasting taking a 1-0 lead, a dubious goal brought Albion back into the game on the stroke of half time and a Romelu Lukaku header was enough for the home side to take the points and end City's impressive 10 game league run.

A close 1-0 defeat to a resurgent Chelsea on Boxing Day hasn't dampened the optimism that covers carrow Road, the game showed how far City have come in a short time since the loss at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City are the next visitors to Carrow, we can enter the game with confidence that we are the under dogs as we were for the Arsenal and Utd games, and who is to say we cannot dispatch the reigning champions in the same way ?  

To get anything from these games against the top sides is a bonus, as we are not expected to get anything, with most writing us off days before a ball is kicked. It is games with those teams around and below us which will be the important points to insure survival; the others are extras that helps the total that bit more.

With half the season gone City sit very proudly in 11th place level  with the mighty Liverpool (tic) on 25 points, well over half  of the magical 40 points already in the bag.   How many of us can honestly say we expected this after trooping out of Carrow Road after the dismal defeat to Liverpool, the team we are now level with.

I think this shows quite clearly just how City have improved, and are now a difficult team to over come, this work must now be carried on into the second half of the season, the Business End.   If 40 points are again to be enough to guarentee another season in the top flight, then City need just 5 wins from the remaining 19 games. I am not saying that is or will be enough, nor should they rest on their laurels at all they have to go out with the belief they now have and try to win every game.

Whether Hughton will dip into the madness of the January transfer window remains to be seen, however many fans believe we need another couple of additions, a striker for sure, a another defender, and perhaps a midfielder who can do the same type of job Hoolahan does; if that is at all possible to find. 

Teams will be well aware of Hoolahan, they will will sit men on him,  with the view to stop him you will stop Norwich, there may be a little truth in that. 

After the dismal start to the season during which many feared for our safety, nothing but praise and 100% credit to all at the club, Hughton and his back room team and all the squad even those who don't make the pitch; they add to the oneness and togtherness of the squad and the competition high for places.

Poor start, excellent mid term revival has brought about  much, much improved performances and attained a very creditable position for half term.

There must be no let up in the hard work for the next half term.

Full Credit to all involved and finally Paul Lambert    WHO.....


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