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05 August 2017 Venue Craven Cottage Attendance

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Match Previews

In Focus: Fulham

4 August 2017

Norwich City kick off their 2017-18 Sky Bet Championship campaign with an away trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Here’s a closer look at what City fans can expect from their opponents at the weekend.

Summer signings
Fulham made arguably their biggest signing of the summer transfer window last week when they signed 22-year-old French striker Aboubakar Kamara from Ligue 1 side Amiens.

Kamara scored 11 goals in 29 games last season as the French club secured promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history. His £5m transfer was manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s sixth summer signing, added to the arrivals of Marcelo Djalo, Lucas Piazon, Oliver Norwood, Tomas Kalas and Belgian defensive midfielder Ibrahima Cisse.

Cisse joined the club from Standard Liege for a fee of around £2.1 million in July and could make his debut for the Cottagers against City on Saturday. The 23-year-old is an U21 international with Belgium and scored in the 2016-17 Europa League for his former club when they beat Panathinaikos 3-0 in the group stages.

Key players
Floyd Ayite (below) scored the third goal in Fulham’s victory at Carrow Road last season and was instrumental in their terrific campaign which almost ended in promotion. The Togo international winger grabbed nine goals and seven assists in 35 appearances last year and proved to be a hugely influential player in Fulham’s best season since 2014.

Another source of Fulham’s creativity last season was captain Tom Cairney. He, too, scored in the 3-1 win over the Canaries and was named EFL Player of the Year at the London Football Awards in March. Cairney made his Scotland international debut last season, five years after his previous outing on the international stage with the U21s which outlines the extent to which he impressed in 2016-17.

Fulham are also a force at the back and on-loan defender Tomas Kalas has become a real asset to Jokanovic’s defence. Kalas played 36 times for the Cottagers last season and scored once, while helping his team keep ten clean sheets in games he played.

Fulham decided to take the Czech defender back on loan for this season and his place at the heart of the back four is almost a certainty ahead of the new campaign.

Canary connections
There are several connections between the two clubs, with the most relevant at the moment being City’s new left-back James Husband.

Husband, 23, signed for the Canaries from Middlesbrough in July and played 17 times for the Cottagers while on loan there in 2015.

Suffolk-born Chris Martin, who made 117 appearances for City between 2006 and 2013, spent much of last season on loan from Derby County. He scored 10 times including once against the Canaries in the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage in November. Martin was also sent off in the return fixture.

Ex-Norwich midfielder and manager Peter Grant is currently head coach of Fulham’s U23s squad, who will be taking on the young Canaries at the end of October.

In the squad
Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli, David Button.
Defenders: Ryan Fredericks, Ryan Sessegnon, Denis Odoi, Tim Ream, Michael Madl, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Marcelo Djalo, Tomas Kalas.
Midfielders: Kevin McDonald, Neeskens Kebano, Stefan Johansen, Tom Cairney, Oliver Norwood, Ibrahima Cisse.
Forwards: Floyd Ayite, Cauley Woodrow, Lucas Piazon, Sone Aluko, Aboubakar Kamara.

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Match Reports

Oliveira fires late equaliser for City

5 August 2017

Nelson Oliveira’s brilliant late finish gave Norwich a deserved point in a thrilling season-opener at Craven Cottage.

With the clock ticking down to full-time, substitute Oliveira brilliantly chested down a chipped pass from Wes Hoolahan, turned and slipped the ball under David Button with three defenders desperately trying to crowd him out.

It capped off a breathless, end-to-end match that could have easily have ended with a much larger scoreline.

City started with the same personnel and shape as the final pre-season friendly against Brighton, with Marley Watkins partnering Cameron Jerome up top. Yanic Wildschut and James Husband settled in as wing-backs, with Harrison Reed sitting behind James Maddison and Mario Vrancic in midfield. Russell Martin, Christoph Zimmermann and Marcel Franke formed a back three in front of Angus Gunn in goal.

Fulham started brightly, with Stefan Johansen missing two clear chances inside the first 10 minutes – first air-kicking from six yards and then dragging a shot well wide of Angus Gunn’s left post. City grew into the game, and Watkins went agonisingly close after nine minutes. Vrancic and Wildschut combined well to set up Watkins, but his goal-bound effort was blocked on the line.

With the Canaries settling – and Zimmermann dominating in the air – Vrancic went close from 10 yards but could only scoop the ball over the crossbar following a neat cutback from Wildschut. Two minutes later Watkins stabbed goalwards from the edge of the area but Button saved comfortably.

While Norwich looked threatening going forward, Fulham were finding joy down the flanks. Ryan Sessegnon benefitted from some open space to drive into the city area on the left. His cut-back ricocheted off the unfortunate Martin and squirmed past Gunn to give Fulham the lead.

The tempo didn’t die down after that, with Gunn saving brilliantly to his left from a Ryan Fredericks drive from only 10 yards.

An end-to-end period saw City almost equalise when Husband picked out Vrancic on the edge of the area on the left, but his drive whistled narrowly over the bar. Immediately after, Zimmermann’s last-ditch block denies Floyd Ayite, who then nodded over from the resulting corner.

It was then Maddison’s turn to go close, wriggling to find room in the penalty area before shooting just over with 10 minutes to go. There was still time for Gunn to pull off another excellent save at his near post before half-time.

Fulham almost doubled their lead shortly after the restart, with the excellent Ayite cutting in and powering a drive against the post. Three minutes later, Watkins should have done better from inside the area but his side-footed effort was straight at Button.

Daniel Farke made his first change after 59 minutes, with Josh Murphy coming on for Wildschut and five minutes later Nelson Oliveira replaced Cameron Jerome. City gradually began to take control of the match, and there were huge shouts for a penalty as Martin's volley from the right of the area struck Denis Odoi's arm but the referee waved it away.

Farke made one final throw of the dice, bringing on Wes Hoolahan for the excellent Harrison Reed. It was Hoolahan who conjured a bit of magic, spotting Oliveira’s run and chipping it perfectly into his path before Oliveira did the rest.

Both sides looked for a winner in the remaining few minutes, but a draw felt a fair result in a pulsating encounter.

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Ticket News

Mixed section tickets on sale for Fulham

18 July 2017

Norwich City fans can now purchase tickets in the Putney Mixed Section for the opening Sky Bet Championship fixture against Fulham.

Tickets in the away end sold out quickly for the trip to Craven Cottage, but seats are available in the Mixed Section. These seats are likely to sell out in advance, so fans are encouraged to buy ahead of match day.

Prices in the Mixed Section are £35 for Adults, £30 for over-65s and 18s-21s and £15 for 17s and under.

You can purchase tickets by phoning the Fulham ticket office on 0843 2081234 or online HERE.

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