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The Daily Mirror’s Neil McLeman looks ahead to West Ham United’s trip to relegation-threatened Norwich City
The Daily Mirror’s Neil McLeman looks ahead to West Ham United’s trip to relegation-threatened Norwich City...
It was a fantastic night at Upton Park on Tuesday and Slaven will be hoping West Ham carry the momentum of knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup into this game, but Norwich City are fighting for their Premier League lives.

Norwich have been on a really bad run and if they are going to stay up this season, they’ve got to win their home games.

They have lost five on the trot, so if they are going to stay up, this is the sort of game Norwich have got to win, so they’ll be looking to take advantage of any fatigue or injury list that West Ham are suffering at the moment.

Carrow Road is a super ground and there is an excellent atmosphere, with a really good home crowd, so Norwich will be looking to start well. Alex Neil will be saying ‘let’s get into them from the first whistle’ and they’ll be looking for an early goal and to get the momentum.

They need to change the fortunes of their season, so West Ham need to be aware of that from the kick-off.

Slaven Bilic is without a few players at present, so I see Michail Antonio as an important player on Saturday. He has come in and done really, really well.

Antonio is a player who spoke to the press at the start of the season and we were all impressed with the way he spoke. He has got a really good story, having come up from non-league and everything.

Just because West Ham were playing so well, he didn’t get a chance earlier in the season, but he has come in and scored goals and has looked really lively as well. He’s the type of player you need in your squad at this time of the season, when you’re in the FA Cup and have heavy ground and are going to pick up injuries.

Antonio is the sort of player you need to have because he has come in and been ready to go and has been a vital squad player. He’s got to the point now where he is saying ‘keep me in the team’ when the likes of Manuel Lanzini come back.

There are plenty of links between West Ham and Norwich historically and the two clubs also have similar footballing philosophies, as Norwich like to play football as well.

Norwich have always played good football and are still trying to do that in their current situation. They’ve got Wes Hoolahan, who I think is a super player, and they like to get the ball on the ground and knock it around – Alex Neil encourages them to do that. It should be a good, entertaining game.

This is a test for Alex, who came in last season and did really well, bringing up a squad that wasn’t far off the one which was relegated from the Premier League the previous year.

They are looking for that x-factor to keep them up. They brought in Diomerci Mbokani up front, who looks good, and the winger Nathan Redmond has a few goals.

The problem they have is that they don’t have a regular goalscorer like the other relegation candidates – Sunderland have Jermain Defoe and Swansea have Andre Ayew who can get you eight or ten goals. Norwich don’t have a go-to goalscorer, but rely on the whole team contributing.

The other side is that their defence is pretty leaky and they do let in too many goals, so I think there will be goals on Saturday.

I see it being a draw. Norwich will be keen to end their losing run, but West Ham should enough to get a point.