One thing is for sure – the word ‘dull’ is not going to be rolling off the tongue too regularly this season.
The attacking style that Neil Adams has taken no time to embed looks sure to provide thrills and spills aplenty but, along the way, City *will* concede goals. It’s a by-product of throwing numbers forward and looking to build-up from the back.
Thankfully, the River End hardcore aside, most City fans appear happy to run that risk if it means watching the game from the edge of the seat rather than being slumped in it. The N&P miserablists will simply have to learn to live with it.
Of course, if promotion is to be achieved – and it’s telling that Adams is so keen to make that aim abundantly clear – his team can’t afford to be relying on two-goal comebacks every week, but that they have done so twice in a week speak volumes for the desire.
There now appears a steely determination about the place – typified by the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between Martin Olsson and Bradley Johnson – and in the less-rarified atmosphere of the second tier there is clearly a belief that wins can be eked out from losing positions.
In Cameron Jerome, City appeared to have acquired themselves a gem and, while his goal ratio in the Premier League has been of an ordinary ilk, the early signs are that we have ourselves someone who is finding Championship defences to his liking.
To see him and Lewis Grabben currently figuring in the leading goalscorers’ table is highly promising.
Yet it’s still early days. Still plenty of time for blips that are much more painful than yesterday’s and there may even be times when the dark mood of N&P block RL pervades over the whole ground.
But regardless of the peaks and troughs that lie ahead, there is the inescapable fact that City have, on paper at least, the strongest squad in the division.
That an off-form Wes was spared further agony by a very lively Josh Murphy was a great example of the hand available to Adams’ but, in truth, there is a quality replacement available for every position. With Gary Hooper and Jonny Howson now on then cusp of full-fitness the City boss will shortly be handed two more aces.
In forty-something years of supporting City I don’t think it’s over-egging it to say that, in terms of depth, this squad is probably the strongest.
(As an aside, did anyone see Louis Thompson’s goal for Swindon yesterday? You must).
In terms of yesterday’s performance, City will have better days although I was gobsmacked to hear a ‘Canarycaller’ bemoan the start they made to the game. Yesterday’s opening was, compared to recent offerings, of a tempo that threatened to overrun the visitors.
It was everything Adams would have asked: high tempo, high intensity and on the front foot. If it had spawned an early goal I have no doubt they would have gone on and won the game. Alas, when the best chance arrived Grabben, for once, was off target.
John Ruddy was clearly angry with himself for allowing that deflected shot to squirm through his grasp but – given his heroics of late and in the second-half – he should be forgiven.
Alas, to find themselves ahead played perfectly into the hands of Birmingham and their game-plan of soaking up pressure and looking to make hay on the break. They had something to cling on to and had even less reason to commit numbers forward. In fairness they executed Lee Clarke’s wishes perfectly.
The second goal – courtesy of some pinball around the legs of Jos Hooiveld – was a bonus for the Blues and entrenched their position yet further.
But Adams again came up trumps in his fifteen minute window of opportunity. Josh for Wes worked better than even he could have imagined and, with two flying wingers, City carried a different, more potent, threat.
Credit too should be afforded to Nathan Redmond. Despite the reservations over his ‘final ball’ he was excellent yesterday and if his late effort – following that thrilling run – had drifted inside Darren Randolph’s right-hand post it would have been a fitting reward.
His ability to beat the first defender with such consummate ease remains a joy to behold and if it can be allied to a more consistent final product (as it was yesterday) he has a massive part to play in the Adams project. Hopefully his critics will now cut him a little slack.
So… while it was not a win it, was a continuation of the unbeaten run that now stretches back to that unmentionable afternoon in the Black Country. The momentum continues and on Tuesday night Adams crucially has a chance to offer game-time to those currently on the fringes.
Keep everyone happy – including feuding full-backs and central midfielders – and it feels like our destiny is in our own hands.
Too many turned up at Carrow Road expecting a “home banker” and one of the joys of football is its unpredictable.
The only thing comparable to Cardiff was the half time scoreline. Norwich actually came out of the blocks flying. Birmingham scored against the run of play and with the assistance of a huge slice of luck.
Despite being 0-2 down at half time, this team still “looks full of goals”. At some point City will click for 90 minutes and someone will get a hiding.
One other thing that struck me, Nathan Redmond playing on his natural side, and seeking to get to the byline more often, is a sight of beauty. Add Russell Martin cracking forward and doing the same, the right side looks to be sorted.
For all the moans at yesterday’s result, the fact remains that the team still hasn’t played to its full potential, it’s mustered 7 points from the last 9, while still rooted to second spot in the league. Happy days!
Good piece as ever Gary. Many of the faithful had been screaming under Hughton, “for goodness sake, let’s at least give it a go and win or lose 5-3 rather than consolidate a loss with a whimper”. Well they, and I, have our wish so we must expect the occasional short straw! These are exciting times we live in, so enjoy people! On another note, big fan of Wes that I am, I wonder if it’s pure coincidence we have had three recent slow starts and poor first halves in which Wes hasn’t been at his best, so perhaps Wes should be held back for the second half of games?
OK, I’ll bite. Why do you feel it necessary to have a go at a group of supporters?
Block RL is no more miserable than any other part of the ground (and including the family area with lots of children, possibly more enthusiastic at times, if a little more high pitched). There was some grumbling in the first half when the majority of the team lost concentration right in front of us but, as is often the case because we routinely kick towards the River End second half, we were urging the team on to complete the comeback.In fact the atmosphere in the block was very positive in the second half and for most of the first.
Gary Gowers says
Fair enough Bruce (3) – Was only intended as a tongue-in-cheek comment. I sit in RL and so that’s the only part of the ground I can comment on! And yes, I’m sure there are those who enjoy a moan in all parts of Carrow Road.
*sits in corner*
Tim Sell says
Consider this. Burnley fired themselves to promotion last year with a free scoring team featuring Ings & Vokes. So far their fans have enjoyed
Burnley 1 Chelsea 3
Swansea 1 Burnley 0
Burnley 0 Sheff Wed 1
Burnley 0 Man Utd 0
Palace 0 Burnley 0
Burnley 0 Sunderland 0
With both Ings & Vokes injured, what have the Burnley fans got to look forward to ? Their season is already finished following the Chelsea equalizer on the first day of the season and their inevitable relegation from the best league in the world ??? pffft ! Wherever we finish this season, enjoy the thrills & spills of the Neil Adams roller coaster ride as we at least get that regular thrilling feeling of city scoring goals on a regular basis 🙂 As for, what have we got to look forward to if we do get promoted ??? hmmmmm
Michael D says
Tim Sell (5) this of course is the crux of the matter and where the real dilemma comes in. Although our last two seasons in the PL were no fun at all, it is only because we were in the Prem and have the parachute payments now that we can enjoy (we hope brief) life in the Championship. Our first Lambert led season in the PL was arguably though much more enjoyable since we did still go at teams and we did score goals. I would also argue that if we are fortunate enough to return to the PL next season, we will have a stronger squad than Burnley have now, and will score more goals than the 19 we did last time round. Also for Burnley to have both Ings and Vokes injured is incredibly unlucky for them. Southampton and Swansea are more our equivalents I would argue than Burnley, and I think their supporters are certainly still enjoying watching them play!
Stewart Lewis says
Can’t help sharing the worry of Tim (5). We’re having a great time, relishing attacks, goals and wins – and all with the aim of getting to another league where those things will inevitably be in short supply for us.
But let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. The present is fun, with every indication it’ll continue that way over the next six months. The first eight games have demonstrated two clear things: the gulf between Prem and Champ, and the outstanding job that Neil is doing. More power to him.
Leni Masad says
If you were a ‘glass half empty’ type (and I do have leanings that way), it could rightly be argued that we’ve dropped 4 home points against teams unlikely to trouble the top 6. The entertainment value of course is top drawer but for promotion to be realistic, ‘one half’ Adams has to get the best out of his charge for 75 mins plus for more than 50% of games.
A comparison of Neil’s team/squad and Worthy’s from that 2003/4 season is worth making. We finished top back then, scored a hatful of goals (79) and did the double over the Tractor boys – a repeat of that would do very nicely.
Comparing first pick teams, I would say 2003/4 maybe pips it in defence and midfield but up front and squad depth is arguably better now..discuss
2003/4: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Huckerby, Mulryne, Holt, Francis, McVeigh, Roberts.
Today’s Leicester result and performance helps to put things into perspective. Ask their fans if they would prefer to be in the Championship! And nearly all the fans of clubs in the premiership would give the same answer. We should not make the mistake of basing our premiership experience on last years performances and results under a manager who was clearly out of his depth at that level.
But for all of those who do prefer life in the championship you will not have too much to worry about if we continue to allow ordinary teams at this level to create the number of chances we are currently giving them!
K. Dence says
Carrow Rd. – no fortress yet no place like home,
Bournemouth and Brum both bagged a draw,
Praise to Neil for strikers Grabban and Jerome,
Plenty of attack but at the back still a flaw.
Stewart Lewis says
PeterC (9): yes, Leicester’s result yesterday was sensational. But like our own wins over Man U, Man C, Everton, Spurs and Arsenal under Hughton, it’s likely to be forgotten in the grind of trying to stay in the Premiership.
In these first few games, we should all have been struck by the gulf between the two divisions. In the Championship you get chances – and get away with mistakes – in a way that you simply don’t in the Prem. In the Prem, our current style and level of performance would have brought us no more than 3-4 points from 8 games.
Not to take anything away from Neil, but I’d say the difference between Norwich this season and last is 15% personnel/philsophy and 85% the league we’re playing in.
Sami Laden says
Agree with Stewart (11) but with a 20/80% split maybe.
Leicester’s win was great but I recall Cardiff beating Man City (a better team than the current Utd. one) at the start of last season – the early season impetus can carry good Championship/average-poor PL squads through for so long until injuries/suspensions kick in and confidence begins to flag..all those factors played an important part in our downfall.
This is a great grounding for Neil in the 2nd tier but it doesn’t prove he would be able to cut it in the PL. The entertainment and goals we’ve had largely disguise the defensive weaknesses and poor consistency of key players (Wes, Nathan) so far.
Dave B says
With teams like Southampton, Villa, and Swansea in the top six and Liverpool, Man U, and Everton in the bottom half, I don’t think there’s been a better time for a ‘small’ team to be in the Prem since the mid 90’s.
Alan Medis says
Dave B (13) – the problem with your argument is that only 1 month of the season has gone! Those teams you mention aren’t going to be anywhere near top 6 come next May.
We may be small fry compared to the PL titans but we’ll be a big scalp tonight at Shrewsbury if there’s any complacency.
Stewart Lewis says
Dave B (13): Come off it – you know better than to draw conclusion about the Prem after 5 games! After 20, you and I both know that Liverpool, Man U and Everton will be in the top half. And after 38 games, there won’t be many surprise placings.
As illustration, Cardiff were in the top half of the Prem after six games last season, one point behind Man City. As I recall, they didn’t finish there.
Dave B says
@13 and @14 Exactly the same can be said for the championship, many a team near promotion even at Christmas have found themselves on the end of relegation. Yet are we not reveling in it now?
Yes, it’s likely many of those teams in the Prem are going to drop down the league. There have been blip seasons where a Man U or Liverpool are in the bottom half for the first spell. But this season there’s a lot of ‘big’ teams dropping a lot of points. People are playing without fear against top clubs. If we were still in the Prem I’d fancy us taking a much larger haul from the top teams than we did last season. Although that wouldn’t be hard.