Things we sort of learned

The truth behind Ryan Bennett’s absence, Alex Neil’s decision-making, Russell Martin nay, Steven Naismith yay, Robbie Brady, Graham Dorrans, Youssouf Mulumbu and stupid songs. Dan Brigham and Jon Rogers learned a lot of things from Norwich’s 5-4 defeat…

This image may never leave our burnt eyes

This image may never leave our burnt eyes

Did Alex Neil get things wrong part 1?
On seeing the starting XI, it was immediately obvious we’d be pretty open in the middle. Alex Tettey’s illness was a big blow, especially with Gary O’Neil still suspended following his attempts to go sledging with Ibrahim Afellay.

I’d rather a Tettey with the shits on the pitch than Graham Dorrans without the shits on the pitch. He was neat and tidy for the first half, but as soon as Liverpool pushed up in response to going 3-1 down he was catastrophic – caught out of position and lightweight in the tackle. It was like trying to stop a tank by farting at it. Which begs the question: what's happened to Youssouf Mulumbu?

Aside from Old Trafford, where Mulumbu came on and impressed, he’s been sloppy in possession in his cameos. He doesn’t look like the mobile, commanding player of three seasons ago – he looks like the ponderous, wasteful player that West Brom were happy to sell at a cut-down price. Even so, he knows the defensive midfield role well. He’s still strong. Still physical. Two vital things Norwich were missing in front of the defence. Jonny Howson had a decent game – he appears to be getting back to his best after a slump – but he needed combative help in central midfield. Mulumbu, even a wasteful Mulumbu, would have provided that.

Oh, and Russell Martin ahead of Ryan Bennett? I could see the logic in that (and said it before the game, so you can all give me a massive booooo). Bennett is a great, last-ditch tackler against big centre-forwards. But he looks very Championship against mobile, nippy strikers like Roberto Firmino. It made sense. The problem is, Martin is just a bit crap at centre-back – and his days there must now, finally, be numbered.

Let’s hope Timm Klose is a combination of Rio Ferdinand and Franco Baresi. Otherwise we’re in real trouble. DB

It’s a love-hate relationship
What did I learn? Well I learnt that Jimmy Greaves was a dick.

It isn’t a funny ol’ game. It’s a heart-ripping cruel mistress that sticks a novelty-sized dildo in your bottom whenever she wants.

90th minute I sat there, looking sad. Then BASSONG!

THEN WHOEVER IT WAS… AS I’VE BLOCKED IT ALL OUT!

It was like a burning a £50 note in front of a hungry person, then rubbing their head in love and giving them a Boots Triple Sandwich Meal Deal, and then taking that Meal Deal away and rubbing anthrax over it, and feeding it to their cat.

I love you football. I hate you football.

In equal measure. JR

Did Alex Neil get things wrong part 2?
While it wasn’t a surprise to see Steven Naismith (knackered) or Nathan Redmond (crowded out in the second half) taken off, it was a surprise to see Wes Hoolahan removed. He’d been hugely influential, and still looked full of energy. It made sense pushing Brady up to left-wing, but at the time it seemed a missed opportunity to nudge Wes centrally behind Dieumerci Mbokani rather than bringing Cameron Jerome on for Naismith. With Wes gone, our ability to retain possession in Liverpool’s half diminished.

So, maybe an error from Alex Neil. But he’ll have his reasons, and, as ever with Neil, they’ll have been well thought-out and logical. And, let’s face it, as horrific as the final whistle was, I’d still rather Neil set us up to win games rather than go down the awful Tony Pulis route of going defensive at home to Aston Villa. DB

Brady needs to be on the left-wing
So.

Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back. Brady is better at left-wing, than left-back.

No matter how many wanky analogies I make, that won’t do my feelings justice. Brady is better player at left-wing, and I will be sad if he continues his Norwich career at left-back. JR

Steven Naismith impressed
I wasn’t as excited by the Naismith signing as many other Norwich fans seemed to be. At times on Saturday we saw his flaws: his passing can be erratic and, with the ball, he’s slow.

But he added a new dimension to Norwich’s attack: his movement and runs were intelligent – creating room for Mbokani, Hoolahan and Redmond – while he was tenacious and a total nuisance to the Liverpool backline. He was also often barking orders to his team-mates. Neil has spoken throughout this season about a lack of on-pitch leaders – players who don’t need to keep looking to the manager for instructions – and with Naismith we appear to have a natural communicator. Oh, and he did a goal. A good goal.

His presence made Norwich’s attack more threatening, less predictable. DB

Shut up about Scousers
Norwich fans who still join in with the songs about Scousers not having jobs and thieving stuff: stop it. It’s every bit as crappy as The Sun making jokes about everyone being related in Norfolk. It’s stirring old stereotypes and reinforcing prejudices. Stop being mini Maggie Thatchers. DB

The truth behind Bennett’s absence
I can explain why Ryan Bennett was missing.

Well, after he nearly killed Sanchez by PUSHING HIM IN A HOLE, Jim from Health and Safety finally got involved and disciplined RyBen. He then had every sharp edge, two-foot drop and pointy corner at Carrow Road wrapped up with what looks like bubble wrap, soft squidgy stuff and foam (honestly, take a look below).

So thanks to Bennett, Carrow Road looks more like Norwich City House of Fun Indoor Soft Play Area than a football pitch now. To be fair, for 30 minutes in the second half it looked like a bunch of E Numbered Toddlers charging about with blood, piss, sweat and snot running out of every orifice. JR

Watch a nice comedy after Norwich lose
Never follow up an injury-time 5-4 defeat by watching The Revenant. A horrific, shell-shocked football match followed by Leonardo DiCaprio being mauled by a bear for five graphic minutes, and then a spot of scalping, throat-cutting and genital removal. Which was probably what it was like in the Norwich dressing room after Alex Neil started raging at the players. DB  

5-4 defeats not good for sanity
It’s interesting to know that a 5-4 defeat brings out the worst in Norwich supporters.

In the toilets afterwards there were more F words said in there than at a Spelling Bee, a single idiot singing Hillsborough songs outside the Barclay, and more shaking heads than at a bobble-head factory.

It was a bit ugly – and not what I associate with Norwich.

Entertaining though! JR

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