Tuesday morning’s debrief will deal with areas that need improvement but Team Neil deserves the plaudits for formulating a plan that carried City to within a palm of Petr Cech’s glove from a famous win. And alongside the finely honed plan they should also be lauded for a brave team selection.
Archives for November 2015
At the risk of inciting the faithful, Alex Neil is adopting a Hughton-like philosophy – at least for now. Those who did and continue to malign the former boss’s time at the club are seemingly going to have to suck it up.
Today’s multi-million pound academy operation at Colney will therefore, for all the changes that have taken place in the game, both in general and at club level, face all of the same issues and problems that its equivalent twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years ago and more would have done. Some players will come good. Whilst others won’t.
Just when it looked like 4-4-2 would be consigned to the footballing scrapheap, Bayern Munich started a revival. Maybe it was the German’s deep-rooted love of the sandal/sock combination but their version was based on fast flowing and direct football with Thomas Müller operating in a free role behind his strike partner.
This was one of those narrow defeats you suffer to a clearly much better team/group of individuals who at their pomp would have converted a few more of the multitude of clear cut chances that were fashioned.
The design of any new stadium would be key to its success and none of us would wish to frequent another Ricoh, Riverside, King Power or St Mary’s, which in the words of fellow columnist Steve Cook come under the collective heading ‘soul-less’, but something unique and innovative that sets us apart from the masses would be a great start.
We’ve also of course seen Norwich win a Wembley final. Barbara is to blame that it wasn’t 2015. Frustratingly (in that respect) she was invited to speak at a conference in Australia, which is why we were on the other side of the world that wonderful day when we took Mr Karanka and his team to the cleaners.
Stew recently posed the question about what we as City fans should expect and aspire to. The general consensus seemed to be becoming an established mid-table premier league side. It was even the ‘holy grail’ and final outcome in David McNally’s much quoted seven year plan.
Brady has proved a big hit at Carrow Road and will be on the transfer radars of the Premiership’s richest clubs next summer. Alex Neil and David McNally will have a fight on their hands to keep him in this neck of the woods.
Sammy Clingan, remember him? He jumped ship at the first available opportunity in order to sign for Coventry City. Spells at Doncaster Rovers and Kilmarnock, who released him at the end of last season, followed. Sammy is still only 31.
In the last relegation season, our fans would lambast the team as negative and not worth watching, then complain bitterly when MotD put us on late and said (in a much milder form) something along the same lines.
As much as I like Russell Martin, if our current line-up pulls off another clean sheet against Chelsea, he’ll struggle to get back into this team. Ryan Bennett is getting better every week and I’m happy he’s getting a good run of games now.
The decision to cede possession and territory against a Swansea side that thrives on it was one that undoubtedly goes against his better nature. And it was brave because the wriggle- room in such an approach is virtually nil.
Norwich’s defensive issues have been relentlessly discussed with calls for changes growing ever louder. Fallibility at set pieces, along with silly individual errors, have both been unwanted constants through the season.
Nowadays defenders are expected to support the attack, to overlap their midfield counterparts if necessary in order to make inroads into opposition territory and get their crosses in. Much like a winger.
Southampton’s chairman recently outlined the club’s philosophy. In essence it’s: “We know what we believe, and apply it to every decision; we don’t look for short cuts, but build and earn success; we don’t panic, we’re consistent”.
The stadium has changed significantly since my first match perched upon a milk crate on the terraces of the River End. My seat in the Upper Barclay from which I’ve watched us play for the last 15 years didn’t even exist back then.
All keepers have done it. Joe Hart did it just five or so minutes before after all. Fortunately for him, he did it with enough time left for his team mates to ship him out of the spotlight, whilst also redeeming himself with a blinder to deny Olsson at the death.
The fields of Colney last week were clearly abuzz with talk of a 3-4-3 and 3-6-1 and it almost proved a master-stroke. Even the oddity of seeing Brady – a more left-footed player you are unlikely to see – taking up the berth of right-sided wing-back worked.