Norwich manager Alex Neil pleased to have selection headaches

first_img The Canaries hosts Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes defending an unbeaten four-match run, which was within moments of including a victory at West Ham before conceding an equaliser deep into stoppage time. On-loan Irons winger Matt Jarvis – who had netted twice in three appearances – returns to contention having been ineligible against his parent club last weekend, when Robbie Brady staked his claim for a starting berth with the opening goal in what was an entertaining 2-2 draw at Upton Park. Press Association Norwich manager Alex Neil is ready to do his own bit of tinkering in search of some different options as he aims to get the better of Leicester at Carrow Road on Saturday. Leicester retained their Premier League status under Nigel Pearson following an impressive end to last season. Ranieri has continued that work, with last weekend’s 5-2 loss to Arsenal a first league defeat. “He has done well, has come in and picked up a lot of points early, which is always good,” Neil said to Norwich City TV. “If we beat them though, we can go above them so that just shows how well we have started as well. “We are confident going into the game, and are really determined, particularly at home, to make sure we force that and get the three points.” Belgian international midfielder Vadis Ojidja-Ofoe has returned to Norwich from a spell at Rotherham, while 21-year-old forward Jamar Loza has joined Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage on a one-month emergency loan. Congo forward Dieurmerci Mbokani, meanwhile, could be handed the opportunity to lead the attack in the Barclays Premier League for the first time since arriving on loan from Dynamo Kiev. Neil said: “It is a great problem to have. I have three excellent players down that left-hand flank. “It will be obviously a decision to make and I am pretty clear what I am going to do. “Then in terms of the top end of the pitch I think Dieumerci is a completely different option to Cameron (Jerome) and once we get him fully up to match speed then I think, depending on who we play, he might be a different option to how we approach things. “Cameron, so far, has led the line really well for us, but it’s good to have that variety.” Aside from the opening day defeat to Crystal Palace and a 3-0 reverse at Southampton, Neil’s men have acquitted themselves well back in the top flight following promotion in the play-offs, currently in 12 place. “We are pleased with our performances and have competed well,” said the Scot. “For how well we have played, we are probably three points short of where we should be, but we are comfortable at this level.” last_img read more

Defense-1st strategy not enough in 5-2 loss to No. 6 Cornell

first_img Published on January 29, 2019 at 11:01 pm Contact Danny: | @DannyEmerman Despite the 5-2 result, Syracuse — for even a short period — demonstrated a formula to beat faster, stronger and more talented teams. By committing to a defensively oriented gameplan predicated on forwards skating back on the defense and generating chances on counter-attacks, Syracuse (6-17-2, 6-5-1 College Hockey America) took an early 2-0 lead on No. 6 Cornell 14-2-5, 5-2-1 Ivy League) before losing momentum and surrendering five unanswered goals. “Just trying to adapt to their speed,” center Brooke Avery said of the commitment to pinching back on defense. Center Lauren Bellefontaine, who was key in dropping back on defense and winning the puck in the neutral zone, set up Syracuse’s first goal. Four minutes into the game, she dropped off a pass on the left wing for Allie Munroe, who carried it behind the net into Gretzky’s office and put a wraparound shot on net. Munroe’s shot was deflected and finished by Anonda Hoppner.On one play in the second period, Bellefontaine tracked back on defense to help freshman defenseman Shelby Calof double team a Cornell forward in the deep corner. The trap led to a turnover and counter-attack. Bellefontaine recorded four blocks in the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Because they have a lot of speed on their team,” Bellefontaine said, “(And) a lot of skill, they like to dangle around players, so it was very important for us to be in the right place at the right time so they wouldn’t get by you.”Ally Walsh | Staff PhotographerTo go up 2-0, winger Emma Polaski got back on defense to capture a steal in the neutral zone. The ensuing back-and-forth combination between her and Abby Moloughney on the counterattack led to Polaski’s team-leading tenth goal of the season.Another one of SU’s best chances started on defense. Early in the first period, defenseman Allie Olnowich won possession in the back and angled a pass off the board perfectly to Polaski streaking through an open space in the neutral zone. Later, forward Victoria Klimek got two breakaway chances by leaking out after defensive stops. Cornell’s Grace Graham cut Syracuse’s lead in half nine minutes into the first period with a wrist shot from the slot. Goalkeeper Allison Small (25 saves) didn’t react in time. Cornell would tie it in the second period with a deflected shot from the blue line. Syracuse’s defensive strategy faltered further when two forwards missed assignments in the D-zone to open the third period on a Cornell power play, which made it 3-2. A miscommunication on the back end led to Cornell’s fourth goal, where goalkeeper Allison Small (25 saves) couldn’t hold on to a shot under pressure. A minute later, an over-the-top lob pass found a streaking Amy Curlew for a breakaway which she finished.“The most glaring aspect of the third period was they were more fit than us,” Flanagan said. “They just looked like they were wheeling pretty good and were making crisp passes, and they just seemed to have more energy.”With Kristen Siermachesky (upper body) and Lindsay Eastwood (illness) watching from the bleachers, SU played Logan Hicks, typically a forward, heavy minutes in the back. Dakota Derrer, another SU defenders it relied on earlier in the year, ended her Syracuse career with a concussion on Nov. 5. Hicks last played defense as a freshman before transitioning to forward, but she said she was comfortable.“Everybody was helping out,” Hicks said. “We were really focusing on … getting everyone involved in the d-zone, making sure we got it out and not getting stuck in our own end too long.” On one play, a Cornell forward had a step on Hicks through the blue line, but Hicks recovered and cut off the angle, eventually deflecting her shot off the boards. Hicks recorded two blocks in the game. The Orange contained one-on-ones in the first two periods, but struggled as the game progressed because of fatigue, Flanagan said.Big Red forward Maddie Mills, who leads Cornell in goals with 14, entered the game ranked 18th in the country in points. The SU defense limited her to just one shot on goal. The Big Red, who average an 11th-best 3.15 goals per game, entered the third period with two scores before exploding for three in the third. Head coach Paul Flanagan attributed their slow start to being “half asleep.” Cornell woke up, and Syracuse’s defensive strategy fell apart. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more