Things we sort of learned

Oh, so that's what it feels like. Norwich dispatched a particular cocky Brentford side (see the preview) and we had Clare and Richard there to make it all funny.  Sharon Osbourne, napping and a vicious attack on anyone who enjoys Football Manager. Drink it in.



Bees eye view
I have a bit of a soft spot for Brentford. My mum’s family hail from the area, and my uncle and cousins are Bees fans. Indeed two of them were in the away stand for the match (although the world's first non-revolving revolving big screen entirely obscured the ‘wave’ to each other). 

So while we revelled in our 5-0 win, it was tinged with some empathy for my family. But it did make the dissection of the game on the walk back to the car interesting; it's not often we get to hear the opposing view. My uncle was impressed by, and envious of, our experience and leadership on the pitch. This was met by a large LOL from me given recent events, but he had a point. We were in a metaphorical different league to the youthful Brentford side. He hailed the idea that many Norwich fans want Neil out as ‘completely ridiculous’. How easy it is from the outside eh?  

However he also noticed that, despite having a pretty easy day, our defence is about as convincing as Sharon Osbourne’s face. And then he pretty much nailed Norwich in one sentence; ‘You will take teams like us apart, but against the better sides, with that defence, you will struggle’. Preaching to the converted there, Unc. And with one obvious answer to the problem… 

*CAVEAT KLAXON* Brentford were poor. 

After a nap hand of league losses, Norwich City Football Club won a game of association football. We scored a nap hand of goals, with a nap hand of scorers. That’s a lot of napping. Unlike in previous weeks/months/years our defence wasn’t caught napping and they prevented Brentford’s players from transgressing the whole of our goal line with the whole of the ball twixt the posts and beneath the crossbar.  Clean shit.

An enjoyable Saturday evening for once. Cheers lads!

Now, will this be the start of a recovery? Or will it signal, like the thumping home wins against Millwall & Huddersfield under Adams, that we’re flat track bullies? Reader, we’ll have to wait and see.

Brentford were poor though.  RJ

I had heard rave reviews of the Brentford keeper, Daniel Bentley. But he appeared to have a serious inability to actually HOLD THE BALL. Clearly he had smeared his gloves in olive oil. Now you'd forgive him for the penalty save which allowed Graham Dorrrrrrrrrrrrans to look like he’d scored a normal goal on the vidiprinter, but the all rest of the parried shots? Asking for trouble, and in fact we should have made him pay far more than we did. In stark contrast, big JR had obviously turned down the olive oil and opted for some velcro.

Wise man. He held onto everything that came his way, and although he didn't have much to do, what he did do was done excellently. I'll admit, I had thought his time was over at Norwich, but I was more than happy to see the return of a confident and commanding JR. I know which of the two keepers I would rather have. And it's not Olive Bentley. So, more of the same please John. And stick with the velcro. CT

*CAVEAT KLAXON* Brentford were poor. 

Titchard (like titchy not like a tit) was everywhere, like a turbo charged Wes. Prompting, probing, conducting, nutmegging, ‘balling.

I rhetorically asked where the Pritchard was who bossed the game for Brentford against us a couple of seasons ago, well, here he was. Hello, good to finally meet you! Generally slippery, quick of thought and foot, he was chasing and harrying Brentford when they were in possession and showed real desire to influence the match.

The delightful light and fluffy sponge cake of his performance, having been iced by his tremendous pass for Hoorady to score, deserved the cherry plonked on top of it that was P:Chard’s own goal, the fact he scored from a 1:2 was apt. (NB: Not an ‘Own Goal’ but as in the goal he scored, yeah?)

Aside from that he also stung Bentley’s hands with a couple of cracking shots and was the pivot around which most of our attacking play centered.  He has to start in that central role, with a licence to drift next week.  Now, will this be the start of him becoming a real fan favourite as we all hoped? Or will it signal, that he’s flat track bully? Reader, we’ll have to wait and see.

Brentford were poor though. RJ

I hate football statistics. All the ‘they had 95% possession, ran 85 miles etc’. WHO CARES (apart from the people who work for OPTA and those who play Football Manager on the computer- to whom I have a message- IT'S NOT REAL LIFE- sorry...just getting that off my chest). The only stats that matter in a game are the number of goals scored at each end. Burnley 2 Liverpool 0 earlier this season is living proof of that. The latest statistic doing the rounds is that Norwich have already let in thirty goals, which is more than the top three conceded in the whole of last season. 

Well, here is another stat. All conquering never to be beaten again while rampaging to the title and getting 235 points in the process Newcastle have already lost five, yet Burnley, last year's champions only lost five all season. The point I'm trying to make is this; the comparison of these stats is futile. This is not last season. It is an entirely different one. It matters not one jot what happened then. In all likelihood, Newcastle will win the league. They SHOULD win the league. If they win it having lost ten games then great. If we get promoted having conceded sixty then great (and somewhat impressive). Because the only stat that really matters come May is how high that number in the last column of the table is, and the number that sits to the left of your clubs name.  CT

*CAVEAT KLAXON* Brentford were poor. 

Oh how we’ve missed Jonny. He made the world of difference to our midfield, and our attitude to the game. How? Son, I’ll tell you.

It’s simple stuff. Jonny’s first instinct when he gets the ball is to look to go forward with it, either by driving on with it at his feet, or by passing it forward. He played some lovely probing balls through to Ja:Mur in the first half. Also he tends to site himself a little further up the pitch than our other midfielders naturally do, not much maybe only 10 yards or so, but in so doing found space, gave others options to pass forward rather than sideways and just got us on the front foot.

We suddenly looked pacy in attack and stretched the oppositions defence & midfield much more than we have recently, resulting in a lot better forward play and many more chances. Jonny was the bedrock of all of this.

Joniesta imbued the fans and his colleagues with confidence, it was reassuring to see him back. On top of his own game, he cajoled, he coaxed, he barked instructions and led by example setting a more positive tone than we’ve had for some time.

Wrap him in cotton wool we need him fit, what a footballer he is. Our most influential player.

Brentford were poor though.  RJ