There were many things to learn from Norwich’s defeat at Southampton, but Dan Brigham and Jon Rogers could think of only four. There’s lots of love for Wes Hoolahan and Steven Whittaker, but less love for Cameron Jerome and twitter
All clinical is relative
When did Cameron Jerome become clinical? Not actually clinical – don't be silly – but clinical in the minds of so many supporters? Probably around the Play-off final, when he was monstrously effective and produced enough moments of pure centre-forward brilliance to produce the sort of YouTube video which gets you a move to the Premier League as a clinical striker.
He then became even more clinical when Lewis Grabban (apologies if not asterisking his name offends you) missed a sitter against Crystal Palace. “Cameron 'Clinical' Jerome would've clinically finished that”, was the gist of many opinions that day.
Except he was never clinical. He wasn't clinical when he scored twice in 29 appearances the last time he played in the Premier League in 2013-14, he wasn't clinical even when Norwich beat Millwall 6-1 on Boxing Day, and he certainly wasn’t clinical when presented with the simplest of one-on-ones to win the game against Stoke and the sitterest-of-sitters to put Norwich 1-0 up against Southampton. That's a minimum of two points wasted; a maximum of five.
With Dieumerci Mbokani coming in so late, and Grabban running off with a wheel of cheese on a knife, Jerome can't say he hasn't had the chance to cement his place as Norwich's No.1 striker. As auditions go, he's forgotten his lines and fallen off the stage. He’s a trier, he’s wholehearted, he's occasionally brilliant, but clinical he ain’t. DB
Whittaker is a good football player
‘Drop him’, ‘Sack him’, ‘Remove the badge from his chest in public’, ‘Make his children observe him crying in a cage’. This is just a typical sample of tweets that popped up about 10 seconds after Steven Whittaker started to trudge off on Saturday. You know! Stevenwhittaker?
The one who was faultless since Alex Neil arrived?
The one who slid that ball into Nathan Redmond at Wembley? No?
The one who scored a wonder goal against Sunderland!?
Oh come on… you must know him.
The one who played terribly out of position when we had no midfielders vs Brentford? Ahh, there we go.
It’s remarkable that people couldn’t wait to bring their pitchforks out – all neatly packed away since January – the second the red card came out. Silly, uncharacteristic and costly it may be – but I look forward to his return. JR
Unfollowing on twitter is fun
If you're on twitter, you know how it goes. Norwich lose, people get angry, then some other people get holier-than-thou at the angry people. It soon turns into a group of sanctimonious, ponytailed yoga instructors trying to break up a messy bar fight.
Where once this was a source of despair (so despairing that I had to join in...), it's suddenly a source for good. After all, that unfollow button is there for a very good, very cathartic reason. DB
Hoolahan integral to survival chances
Wes Hoolahan hadn't done much up to the point he was the sacrificial lamb in Whittaker's sending off. There'd been a little burst into the box, and a clever ball round the corner into Jerome. But that was it.
Yet Norwich's lack of threat for the remainder of the match shows how crucial Hoolahan is to how this team ticks. He often takes a little while to get going, the first 20 or 30 minutes a cagey game of cat and mouse between him and the opposition defence. Gradually, though, his movement begins to wear down defenders, mistakes are made and space creaks open. This is when Hoolahan thrives.
That Redmond and Jonny Howson had such poor games was partly down to the Southampton defence having the luxury of constantly doubling up on them with no Hoolahan to mark. His threat is both with and without the ball.
Just imagine the impact he’ll have when his through-balls are finally met by a striker who actually deserves to be called clinical. DB