Two clubs tipped to challenge at the top end of the Championship this season led to high hopes all round. City have started OK, but Villa are yet to win and were thumped 3-0 at Cardiff. Andrew Lawn spoke to Dan Bardell ahead of what already feels like a key game.
Andy - On the back of some high profile signings and subsequent expectation levels it's been a pretty underwhelming start, what's your take on your season so far?
Dan - You know when you really look forward to the football season starting and then it starts and you think "I wish it was the off season again" That's how I feel.
I choose to remain optimistic but things need to change fast. There's a danger we get stuck in rut again and we write off another season. If you hang around in the Championship too long you get stuck there.
I can't actually get my head round what's happened so far, I don't understand it.
Ah yes, the very same thoughts crossed most City fans minds after Sunday's defeat to Sunderland. The impressive midweek win over QPR has seen our excitement return however.
You started really well against Hull on the opening day and could have wrapped the game up by half-time, but then seemed to run out of steam. Is it a case of playing well in parts of matches then fading or have performances not picked up from then?
That was the case against Hull, but not in the other games, we've regressed since day one, which is very worrying. Away form is obviously a problem again, think we've won 4 away games in 2 years. We've had a tough start, but if you want to go up you have to beat the tough teams.
Obviously, you are now coming off the back of that vital first win which isn't ideal. I'm very worried.
We're probably the team to play in that case, apart from Fulham where we haven't won in 30 years I can't think of a ground we perform worse at than Villa Park. See our abject 2-0 defeat as we both tumbled out of the Premier League as a case in point.
John Terry obviously gets all the attention, but who should we be wary of Saturday and where might we get some joy?
At the moment I genuinely couldn't tell you, we are playing so within ourselves. I suspect with Hogan looking likely to miss out through injury that Gabby will be leading the line on his own. In fairness to him he has a goal and an assist to his name so far this campaign. Guess that makes him our most productive player. Christ. He's got a very good record against Norwich, so I guess he's your worry.
You might get some joy if the fans start to get frustrated, at that stage a fear factor seems to strangle some of our players. I don't think we have any weak links, but obviously we've shipped 5 in 2 so the defence is struggling at the moment.
Agbonlahor is like a poor man's Luis Suarez to us, we just don't seem capable of stopping him scoring at will. It's quite annoying. What's happened to Jack Grealish and his tiny socks?
I really feel for Jack, not rated by everyone but there is a good player there. Growing up at Villa must be hell for the youngsters, especially those like him that have a genuine affection for the club.
I maintain if he was at a Club like Southampton his development would not have been stunted and you see the player we all saw at Wembley against Liverpool in 2015.
Unfortunately, he's out for months with a kidney injury picked up in our final pre-season game. The team was going to be built around him at long last as well. Annoying.
Very frustrating as he looked a real player. Back to Saturday, how do you see it panning out?
I’m unsure of the type of football you guys have played thus far, but as Villa are involved it'll undoubtedly be scrappy.
My heart says 1-0 to Villa, a vintage Steve Bruce victory, but my head is saying "you're in trouble here lads." Recent form dictates if we go behind then it's over, but if we go ahead we still might mess it up and draw it. I think we have a good record against you at Villa Park and generally we are decent at home at Championship level, so we might win.
Basically I've given you the only 3 scenarios that could possibly happen in a football match there.
Covering all your bases. I like it. Under Farke we change formation more frequently than Donald Trump changes facts, but we do like to keep the ball.
I'd take a draw and with that in mind I'll go for 1-1 with us continuing our Villa Park woes by conceding late and snatching a draw out of the jaws of victory.
While you're here.
To keep AlongComeNorwich advert free and to help us fund additional initiatives aimed at improving the Carrow Road atmosphere, we occasionally produce exclusive t-shirts.
To celebrate the latest Barclay classic chant, Farkelife we've done another one. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the profits back into the site and things we can all enjoy.