Norwich’s win over Bournemouth taught Dan Brigham and Jon Rogers some things, including Matt Jarvis is good at football, Dieumerci Mbokani can overcome several language barriers and newlyweds are selfish
Matt Jarvis is better than Bradley Johnson
“I had a chat with him,” Alex Neil said, about his decision to sign Matt Jarvis. We all know what Neil means when he uses the ‘c’ word. This isn’t a friendly shooting of the breeze about the weather, or a polite chinwag warning the new signing to look out for fake Ikea websites.
No, this will have been an interrogation, a steely-eyed exploration of Jarvis’s character. “The one thing I need here is hungry players who have a point to prove, not just coming here to pick up their last pay cheque,” said Neil.
Jarvis obviously responded well to Neil’s chat. On Saturday’s evidence he is determined to rebuild a career which once promised much. Neil wanted pace, creativity and directness in the Premier League to get in behind teams, and that’s exactly what Jarvis can provide.
Pelted with verbal tomatoes when the signing was announced, Jarvis has shown that, as swapsies go, Neil has made an astute one by replacing Bradley ‘Folk Hero’ Johnson with Matt ‘Actually Better At Football than Johnson’ Jarvis. And, with Robbie Brady also able to move further forward, Norwich have improved a midfield that was already the team’s strongest suit. Well done Neil, you clever wee bastard. DB
Set-pieces remain a problem
The only damper on a fantastic performance and win is the goal Norwich gave away. What is it with us and conceding from set-pieces? Palace, Stoke, Sunderland and B’Mouth have all capitalised on a lack of marking, aggression and concentration in the penalty box, and clean sheets are harder to come by than at a colonic irrigation clinic.
Soon, teams are going to aim to capitalise on our ability to let poorly playing teams get a consolation goal. Is it lack of organization? Lack of a leader? Maybe a little bad luck? Whatever it is, it is John Ruddy’s domain – he needs to own it and control it or there will be more money in Rolf Harris’ artwork than in Ruddy’s clean sheets bonus pot. JR
Weddings get in the way of Howson-watching
You can always measure a person’s character by their feelings about weddings. If they grumble about them, or if they say they don’t enjoy them, these people are best avoided. They are the same as people who don’t enjoy food. Soulless, bordering on sociopathic.
Weddings are brilliant. An endless supply of booze and food, terrible dancing and the possibility of something going horrifically wrong – much like a night out with Delia Smith, I imagine.
But can people stop having them on weekends during the football season, please? Nothing is worth missing Jonny Howson being back in central midfield. Nothing. DB
Language no barrier for Mbokani
So Youssouf Mulumbu was sat on the bench translating the Scottish guys to our new impact sub, Mr Mbokani.
He looks fun. Sure, he should have scored while on his backside inches from the line – but that sudden burst of pace over 10 yards to get in front of the last defender to get in that position was extremely impressive.
I hope he settles quickly and goes on to be an important player for us. He looks like the sort of striker that makes defenders rather dip their balls in melted solder than play against. With his elbows, knees and toes flashing about in the penalty area, I can’t wait to see him get a good run in the team.
He just needs to learn three languages now: English, Glaswegian and Norfolk.
Ets a futtin’ wee old boi enut. JR
Bournemouth look vulnerable
It didn’t take long for the Eddie Howe backlash to begin. Like a lauded new band loved by the critics, a few snooty murmurings often breed rapidly and give birth to a full-on adverse reaction.
Sure, Bournemouth have spent a decent amount of money to get to where they are. But this isn’t the same as a chairman throwing cash into an area with no footballing culture, as is what happened with Wigan. Instead, the ascent of Bournemouth is a truly good sporting story. If you can’t be pleased to see a team making their Premier League debut while playing forward-thinking football facilitated by an exciting young manager, then you’re doing football wrong.
There have been worrying signs for Bournemouth, though, and they were clear to see on Saturday. Losing Max Gradel for six months is a big blow, but not pursuing a mobile, ball-winning central midfielder always looked an error because their creative players need more ballast (an Alex Tettey or a Youssouf Mulumbu, not an Andrew Surman) behind them or they’ll find themselves being punctured too often in the Premier League. DB
Wes Hoolahan is a chuffing genius
We didn’t learn that this week. We learned it a long time ago. But it’s always worth repeating.
He’s a matchwinner in the No.10 role – and there are very few teams outside of the top six who possess that. DB