Premier League Preview: Norwich City

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Each day from now until the beginning of the Premier League season, we will preview two teams from England’s top flight. You can view them all here at PST Preview central. Don’t forget, the 2013-14 PL season begins on August 17th, and for the first-time ever you can watch every game live on NBC Sports.

Two points from a top-10 finish last season, Norwich City reloaded in the off-season. The Canaries offloaded 13 players and picked up eight, giving the squad a whole new look heading into the 2013-14 season. Particularly of interest is the team’s new desire for foreign talent, having signed a player from Spain, two from the Netherlands and a Swede.

Transfers In: GK Carlo Nash (Stoke City), F Gary Hooper (Celtic, Scotland), D Javier Garrido (Lazio, Italy), M Leroy Fer (FC Twente, Netherlands), D/M Martin Olsson (Blackburn Rovers, Championship), M Nathan Redmond (Birmingham City, Championship), F Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), D Semi Ajayi (Charlton Athletic, Championship)

Transfers Out: M George Francomb (Wimbledon, League Two), GK Jed Steer (Aston Villa), M Tom Adeyemi (Birmingham City, Championship), D Marc Tierney (Bolton Wanderers, Championship), D Elliott Ward (Bournemouth, Championship), F Chris Martin (Derby County, Championship), F Simeon Jackson (Eintracht Braunschweig, Germany), F James Vaughan (Huddersfield Town, Championship), M Korey Smith (Oldham Athletic, League One), F Grant Holt (Wigan Athletic, Championship), D Leon Barnett (Wigan Athletic, Championship), GK Lee Camp (released), M Andrew Surman (loan, Bournemouth, Championship)

source: Getty ImagesKey Player: With Grant Holt, the top scorer in Norwich’s last four seasons, gone, young Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel will be squarely in the public eye this season. Van Wolfswinkel signed for a club record £8.5 million from Sporting Lisbon, where he scored 28 goals in 55 appearances over two seasons.

The burden on his shoulders: continue scoring boatloads of goals after moving to another foreign country at age 24. Sounds simple enough.

Manager: Chris Hughton has been manager of Norwich since Paul Lambert left for Aston Villa after leading the Canaries to two successive promotions. Hughton led the team to its 11th-place finish last season, one spot above Lambert’s final season at Norwich.

Hughton has a reputation as a player’s manager, and he has found success at every club he’s coached. He has a habit of taking small clubs to higher places, such as when his team beat Arsenal and Manchester United last year, and when he led Birmingham City to the UEFA Europa League group stage while in the Championship.

Outlook: Whenever clubs reload as quickly as Norwich has this summer, the risk is a lack of cohesion. However, the team is legitimately better now than it was before, so even if it takes a month or two, Norwich has the potential to be one of the major risers this season. A top-10 finish is not out of the question, and neither is a European place with a deep run in the FA Cup.

(MORE: Read all the Premier League previews for each team here)

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.