Wes Hoolahan can expect a hostile reception from a packed Vicarage Road on Saturday when he makes a return to the ground where he shamelessly dived to win a crucial penalty last season.
The Republic of Ireland international took a theatric tumble after Miguel Layun stuck his left leg out and deceived referee Carl Berry into pointing to the spot. Gabriele Angella, Ben Watson and Layun were particularly furious about the decision. Lewis Grabban scored the resulting penalty and Norwich went on to win the game 3-0.
Never one to pull his punches, Troy Deeney was furious at the time about the decision which changed the course of the Championship game in February.
“It’s a dive,” said Deeney. “Wes told us he dived, during the game and after. And that is frustrating. Look at his reaction. Is he rolling around in pain or did he get straight back up? There is a linesman on that side as well. The linesman is that side yet a penalty is still given.”
Quique Sanchez Flores was coming to the end of his second spell at Getafe when Hoolahan took a tumble, but Deeney will have no doubt filled him in on the events of that controversial afternoon. Sanchez Flores has studied edited highlights of Norwich’s recent games against Swansea and Chelsea, and sat down and watched the entirety of Sunday’s match against Arsenal.
“Hoolahan is a very good player and part of the success of this team,” Sanchez Flores said. “They are a very compact and physical team but Hoolahan is one of the players who can make the difference. He is very clever, very fast, very left footed so we try to be careful with this kind of player.”