Norwich beat Hull City 1-0 on Saturday, thanks to an 87th minute header by Ryan Bennett. According to the goalscorer, the Canaries were bolstered by a banner reading “Hughton Out.”
But not in the way you might think. The banner wasn’t waving at Carrow Road, encouraging the sacking of Norwich City manager Chris Hughton to the home faithful and players alike. Instead it was displayed at Craven Cottage on Tuesday, during the FA Cup replay against Fulham. The Canaries lost 3-0, knocking them out of the Cup.
Rather than spurn the players into action against the beleaguered manager, however, the fans’ banner served to do the opposite. “There’s no need for that,” Bennett told BBC Radio Norfolk, “You see that and it spurs you on and you don’t understand what they’re thinking. We went out there to do the best for the whole group, that’s the staff and players.”
And in so doing, Norwich’s performance, and Bennett’s goal, may have saved Hughton’s job – at least, for a few more weeks. With the three points against Hull, the side have now moved up to 12th. That doesn’t mean they’re sitting safe, as it’s just five points from the relegation zone. But it does end the Canaries’ six-game winless streak in the Premier League, and will most likely bolster confidence amongst the players.
The Norwich City fans that hung the banner at Fulham didn’t succeed in getting the manager sacked. Yet they may have won the larger battle: uniting the players, giving them one more reason to press a little harder, dig a little deeper. Absent the first fifteen or so minutes, Norwich looked the better side on Saturday, giving more than a glimpse of a squad that shouldn’t be fighting for Premier League survival. So while no club wants to encourage its supporters to turn against the manager, perhaps this banner accomplished its true purpose – driving the Canaries toward victory.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.