There was an interesting ‘stat’ offered by the BBC’s website ahead of this evening’s trip to Wolverhampton.
That if Norwich had only held onto every lead they’d enjoyed this season, they would now be above Arsenal in the table.
All of which will only serve to add further fuel to certain message board fires this evening as the Canary faithful mull over two more leads ‘lost’ and a ‘mere’ point gained from a 2-2 draw away at Wolves.
I presume that the same calculation could be made of Arsenal; that they must have – on occasion – lost a lead this season. Therefore, if they had held onto every lead they had enjoyed this season, they would now be above Manchester United in the table…
It is, to my mind, a ridiculous stat to throw at people. So if Norwich hadn’t conceded a goal every game and yet had still scored a goal in every game, they would now be above Manchester City in the table, right?
The reality is that Norwich have picked up two away points at first Everton and then Wolves on the back of a home win against Newcastle United – and the problem is?
Five points from an available nine. Over the course of a 38-game season, that would work out to be, what, 62, 63 points? And any reasonably-minded Canary punter was hoping for what in their first season back in the Premiership? Survival via something around the 40-point mark?
It is very interesting to see the debates that rage around Norwich’s supposed defensive ‘frailties’ and the fact that they are ‘only’ ninth as of tonight.
If Norwich City Football Club managed to cut out every mistake, every slip of concentration and bag all three points every time they managed to sneak into a one-goal lead whilst still scoring the goals that they do, they would – by default – be better than Manchester City. Or Manchester United.
On a playing budget that was, what… a thirtieth of that at The Etihad?
It is a wonderful time to be a Norwich City supporter. The club are churning out performance and result nigh-on week after week.
But there has to be a reality check; there has to be a recognition that these players are merely mortal – even if the manager is not.
That, by and large, you get what you pay for – even if Norwich are punching way above their individual weight right now.
Equally, on occasion, everyone needs to view the world from someone else’s side of the fence.
If I am a Wolves fan going into tonight’s game, what is the minimum I am expecting against such Premiership new-boys? A win. This was one of my three-point bankers.
And yet I – as a Wolves fan – twice had to watch my side claw their way back into the contest and then only end with a point.
Equally, Norwich are scoring goals from across their squad – Andrew Surman’s 12th minute header and Simeon Jackson’s late, close-range strike proving that they are far more than just the Holt-Morison show.
“It was a bit frustrating at times – to take the lead and go 2-1 up then draw,” admitted City boss Paul Lambert afterwards, as levellers from first Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and then Ronald Zubar – eight minutes from the end of normal time – denied the Canaries all three away points.
Given that Everton’s leveller arrived nine minutes from the end of Saturday’s contest, it is – I guess – inevitable that a host of ‘If only’s…’ should follow.
The reality – for me – is that Norwich are, for now, only human. And nicking anything away from home whilst winning the majority of your home games is all that anyone can ask of a newly-promoted Premiership side.
“I’m delighted with the way that we played,” added Lambert, having served up another early Christmas cracker.
“There don’t seem to be any dull games involving us. The goals we’re conceding are not great, but we’re doing everything we can to stay in the league.
“We were still trying to go gung-ho at the end. But I don’t want to get admired and get relegated. I’d rather play ugly and stay in the league.”