The African Footballer of the Year nominees were announced this week and City’s Dieumerci Mbokani features in the 37 strong list. And it’s raised the question once more of who should be leading the line for Norwich.
Recently, I caught up with Jack Reeve of TalkNorwichCity, who had some interesting thoughts on the rather popular poll about who should start against Newcastle.
“I was really happy to see Mbokani at the top of the pile; he hasn’t been nominated as African Player of the Year for no reason. I have been really impressed with his start for Norwich City, the thing that has stood out for me is his intelligent runs off the ball and he’s so different to what we already have.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love Cameron Jerome and I think he’s a cracking player but he just hasn’t cut it in front of goal. We have already seen that Mbokani is class on the ball; his finish against Leicester was top draw. He deserves his chance, and I hope he gets it.”
Like Jack, I think it’s fair to say that a large portion of City supporters feel the same way. I’m not one to constantly reflect on past successes but it’s important to remember what Jerome can produce on his day. Take the small matter of Wembley for example.
Jerome is a grafter and always shows the right attitude on and off the pitch. It’s worth noting too that if it wasn’t for Adrian’s nose, he’d have scored against West Ham. It was a wonder save. The timing of his run was perfect and if he’d put any more power on the ball it would’ve knocked the keepers head off!
Any Norwich striker this season will have an extremely difficult job, purely because of our formation, tactics and opposition we’re up against; most of the time playing one up top, which relies massively on our wingers getting those crosses in.
Personally, right now I’m not too worried about the attacking side of the game. For the most part we look decent and threatening going forward, especially away from home. If we had not conceded from all those set pieces so far this season, we’d have had a lot more points on the board. Now, that’s not Jerome’s fault, is it?
For this debate, I am sitting on the fence due to what Jerome has achieved so far in his career with us. He played probably the largest part in our promotion last season.
But going into the Newcastle game this weekend I would start Mbokani – or ‘Big Dave’ as he’s starting to become known as – purely on the basis that he’s got a point to prove and is now at the point where the more minutes he plays he’s only going to improve. Unknown to the Premier league, I think he will cause some serious damage to a lot of defensive lines this season.
There’s also a lot of love for Kyle Lafferty at the moment, which is great to see. He’s working really hard and fully deserves his place in the squad again but unfortunately, I don’t believe he’ll be with us for much longer in order to save his international career.
I’d personally like him to stay and become a quality squad member. It certainly seems like he’s turned a corner behind the scenes, I am a massive fan so really hope he is still in Alex Neil’s plans.
While predominantly, the three options of Jerome, Mbokani and Lafferty are up in the air, let’s also not forget about the Norwich City hipster selections – Grabban & Hooper. They’ve both been cast aside by many City supporters. Is it fair? Let me know your thoughts.
On the Ball City!
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisReevo