Hello and thank you for joining us today on Sports Mole
for live commentary of Norwich City
's match with Crystal Palace
Today's match sees 16th up against 19th, but Norwich are on a poor run of form, winning just one of their last six. Palace, meanwhile, beat Hull City last weekend in what was Keith Millen
's last match as caretaker boss.
That was the club's first away win of the season and the perfect way to welcome new manager Tony Pulis
. The former Stoke City boss has been in confident mood this week, saying that avoiding relegation is possible.
Palace will probably be hopeful of picking up a positive result this afternoon. While Norwich beat West Ham United in their last home match with a brilliant comeback, they have struggled overall and there have been murmurs of discontent at Carrow Road.
Right, let's take a look at the teams.
NORWICH CITY XI: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Fer, Howson, Redmond, Hoolahan; Elmander, Hooper
NORWICH SUBS: Nash, Whittaker, Johnson, Turner, Garrido, Becchio, Josh Murphy
CRYSTAL PALACE XI: Speroni; Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Bannan, Puncheon; Chamakh, Jerome
PALACE SUBS: Price, Mariappa, Phillips, O'Keefe, Gayle, Jonny Williams, Kebe
So, Hughton makes three changes to his team, as Johan Elmander, Sebastien Bassong and Wes Hoolahan come in. Pulis also makes changes, bringing in Jason Puncheon for the suspended Yannick Bolasie and Cameron Jerome for Dwight Gayle.
The inclusion of Elmander and Hoolahan certainly suggests that Norwich will look to attack this afternoon, and Bassong is a strong presence in the back four.
Jerome starts for his former manager Pulis after he openly criticised the manager following his departure from Stoke. However, Pulis says that Jerome's performance against Hull convinced him that he was worthy of a start this afternoon.
Let's have a closer look at Pulis. He has yet to be relegated in his managerial career and takes charge of his seventh club this afternoon. His greatest success came, of course, at Stoke, where he secured promotion to the top flight and gradually built the club up.
Due to that success, it was no surprise when Palace approached him to replace Ian Holloway. Part of the appeal might have been his defensive-first style of play, which was at times criticised.
However, Keith Millen
said earlier this week that Pulis was the ideal man to keep the club up. "What I thought was needed was someone with experience at this level because we haven't got a lot of that," he told BBC Sport
. "For me, Tony was top of the list and I'm delighted he's on board. I'm sure he'll be pleased to see the team here and see their commitment to the club. It gives them something to work with."
Given that clubs often up their game when a new manager comes in, Palace could easily leave Carrow Road with maximum points this afternoon. They will have to be wary of Norwich, though, who showed against West Ham in their last home match that they are more than capable of producing quality football.
The issue for Hughton has been his side's away form. They have picked up eight of their 11 points at home, but have struggled to replicate that on their travels.
Norwich are missing the talents of Anthony Pilkington and Robert Snodgrass today, but as I said earlier, Hoolahan is more than capable of unlocking a defence.
Just 10 minutes to go before the action gets underway in Norfolk. The atmosphere is building nicely, but it is too early to call this a relegation six-pointer?
You would have to say that whoever loses this will be deep in trouble, but history has taught us that the Great Escape is possible.
Prediction: Time for my pre-match prediction. Against West Ham, I said that the Canaries would triumph 2-1, and I think I'll stick with that today. Palace will pose a threat, but I think the home team will edge a scrappy affair.
The Norwich fans are in good voice as the players emerge. The managers shake hands and it's almost time to go!
KICK OFF: The referee blows his whistle and we're off.
CHANCE! Well, interesting start from Norwich. They win an early corner and the ball is played into the centre. Bassong goes up for a header but places it wide. However, replays suggest he may have had his shirt pulled.
The ball has spent a few minutes in the middle of the pitch, moving from side to side as both teams get to grips with each other.
Pulis is barking orders from his touchline, but so far Palace have failed to test the Norwich defence.
SAVE! Simple save for Ruddy in the home goal. Dikgacoi collects the ball on the corner of the box, but his low shot lack powers and bobbles into Ruddy's hands.
There's no doubt that Norwich look quicker on the ball so far. Good play from Hoolahan on the wing wins them a free kick in a dangerous position.
HITS THE BAR! The ball is swung in and Elmander steals an inch on his marker and crashes a shot against the bar. The ball comes back down on the line, but did not cross it. Replays show that the striker back-heeled his effort! What a great goal that would have been.
SAVE! It has been a high-tempo start to this match. This time Redmond jinks his way into the box and fires a decent shot at goal. However, Speroni pushes it away for a home corner. There's no doubt that Pulis will be slightly concerned with the amount of space the Palace defence gave Redmond there.
The Eagles have stemmed the tide in terms of home chances, but they are lacking a cutting edge upfront.
Palace are working hard, but they are giving the ball away cheaply. Norwich, on the other hand, look composed in midfield and are using the width of the pitch.
Again Norwich come forward. Redmond works his way down the left and clips a ball into the box, which is cleared for a corner. The delivery is poor, however, and possession is with the away side.
We're 25 minutes in and Redmond looks the most likely player on the pitch to do something special. His teammates try to find him again, but the pass is poor and drifts out for a throw in.
One shining light for Palace has been Cameron Jerome. He beats two Norwich defenders down the wing and crosses the ball into the middle. However, the shot is cleared for a corner, which comes to nothing.
You can't fault the effort of the players this afternoon, but the quality in the final third is missing. As soon as the play makes its way past either midfield, the move breaks down.
GOAL! NORWICH 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE (HOOPER)
Norwich's good start to the match pays off and what a smart goal it is. Redmond shows his pace to get past Moxey, before the ball finds Elmander, who then gives it to Hoolahan in the box. However, he opts against shooting and finds Hooper, who takes a touch before tapping the ball in. Lovely goal.
HITS THE BAR! What a brilliant response this has been by Crystal Palace. They are inches away from finding an equaliser when Ruddy saves Jason Puncheon's shot. However, the ball is deflected into the path of Bannan. He cracks a volley first time against the bar with Ruddy beaten. On closer inspection, it appears as if Olsson got a crucial goal-saving touch on the line.
The match is beginning to open up now. Both teams look dangerous going forward, and Hoolahan is just unable to reach Martin's cross.
The stats show that Norwich have had 65% of possession. However, Palace are now using what time they do have on the ball much more wisely.
A sustained period of Norwich play sees Elmander poke his shot wide after the ball had been played in by Redmond. In truth, that was only ever a half-chance.
HALF-TIME: NORWICH CITY 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
That was a decent half of Premier League football at Carrow Road. There's no doubt that Norwich deserved their lead when it came, but Pulis should be impressed with how his players responded.
The half-time stats say that Norwich had six shots compared to Palace's five. As I mentioned earlier, though, the home side have dominated possession.
What can Pulis do to rectify that? Well, he probably won't want to change too much, but a slight tweak here and there, especially in midfield, could work in his favour. Then again, Gayle is on the bench and his skill and pace would undoubtedly worry a shaky Norwich defence.
Looking back on that early Elmander chance that hit the bar, it really was a fantastic piece of skill to hook the ball towards goal.
Hoolahan completed 23 passes in the first half, and his composure on the ball stood out. If Palace can restrict his influence, you feel that they might turn this one around.
KICKOFF! Both teams are out and the second half is underway at Carrow Road.
It's been an even start to the second half, although Fer almost forces his way through with a strong run from midfield.
MISS! Oh! Redmond blazes a shot over the bar after a lovely counter-attacking move. Hooper brilliantly controls a high ball and slips a short pass to Elmander. He then finds Redmond, but his shot goes wildly over.
Despite that chance, Norwich look sluggish at the start of this second half. Palace, meanwhile, look dangerous, and they have a free kick about 35 yards from goal.
The ball comes in and a scramble ensues before it is finally cleared.
There is nervousness in the air at Carrow Road. The home fans are beginning to get restless and the home players are struggling to get in the game.
BOOKING! There's little to report on in terms of chances, but Mile Jedinak gets the first yellow card of the game for a bad foul.
SAVE! It was as if they heard me! Norwich's midfield finally keep the ball for a few minutes, before Hoolahan picks it up and drives at goal. However, his shot is straight at Speroni. There were better options out wide, but you can't blame him for having a go.
How has that not gone in!? Chamakh has the ball on the edge of the box and fires it across the face of goal. Bassong slides in and somehow directs it over the bar for a corner. That was either brilliance or luck.
Despite the one-goal advantage, Hughton will not be happy with how his players have performed since the break.
The Canaries are starting to pose questions again, but the quickness of their passing has slowed. There's very little movement in attack, but they still hold the lead.
Redmond's shot is blocked after the home side counter, but again Palace win the ball back. The match is end-to-end now.
PALACE SUB: Pulis make the first change of the afternoon, replacing Bannan with Williams.
PALACE SUB: Another change for the away side. Kebe comes on for Puncheon, who struggled to show his best today.
NORWICH SUB: It's the home side's turn now, as Bradley Johnson replaces Hoolahan.
PALACE SUB: Pulis makes his final switch of the match, and it's a positive one. Chamakh, who has been average, comes off to be replaced by Gayle.
BOOKING! Martin goes into Chris Foy's book for a late lunge on Jedinak. Meanwhile, Becchio has come on for Elmander for Norwich.
SO CLOSE! Palace are inches away from equalising. Kebe, who has only been on the pitch for a few minutes, smashes a low volley just wide of the post from the edge of the box.
What a huge few minutes this is for both clubs. Norwich are sitting back now and inviting Palace to push forward. Whether that it smart, only time will tell.
MISS! It almost wasn't very smart at all! The ball bounces around the Norwich box, before being deflected into the path of Jerome. He rushes his shot however, and shins it to Ruddy. If only he had of taken a touch and composed himself.
NORWICH SUB: Final change for Norwich and it's the goalscorer, Hooper, who makes way for Steven Whittaker.
Frantic moments in the Norwich box. A Palace free kick isn't cleared and Gayle tries an acrobatic volley. However, he fails to make contact and Norwich get the ball away.
FULL-TIME: NORWICH CITY 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
What a crucial win that is for Chris Hughton
and Norwich City. It wasn't pretty, but I doubt the home fans will care about that tonight when they look at the Premier League table.
The Canaries are 14th
, four points clear of Fulham who lost 3-0 today to West Ham United. Palace, however, slip to the bottom of the league after Sunderland's 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
That's all we've got time for here, but please stay with us for all of today's reaction and other sports news.