After a hiccup at Selhurst Park, what did Jon Rogers and Dan Brigham learn from Norwich’s defeat? Well, they learned about Klose's hurt knee, King Kong, hoof-ball, Mbokani, Naismith, Bamford, University Challenge, Hoolahan and killer rabbits, that's what
Slow on the draw
Aw, what a shame. We didn’t deserve to lose and we certainly didn’t deserve to win.
But the game was a perfect example of why we could go down.
The lack of wins away from home is understandable, but the lack of draws away isn’t. The can’t-win-don’t-lose mentality seems to have escaped us this season and the fact Sunderland had drawn their last four games ahead of their Leicester defeat worries me. Turn a few of those defeats away at Aston Villa, Swansea and Palace (as well as Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester), into draws and we could’ve been almost safe by now. JR
Like two King Kongs scaling Dieumerci Mbokani's man mountain, Scott Dann and Joel Ward gobbled everything up that was directed towards him in the air. HOOF, went the ball. BOING, went the massive foreheads of Dann and Ward. Every. Single. Time.
The times Norwich got it down and tried to play through them we had much more success, and at those times it was clear to see why Palace hadn’t kept a clean sheet this year. Yet we didn’t do this nearly enough, and too regularly switched back to hoof mode. And back came the ball. Every. Single. Time.
It’s no wonder Neil was a little frustrated afterwards, admitting that Norwich have a tendency to try and hit it long too often when Mbokani is on the pitch. Against Newcastle, Norwich avoided this temptation, mixing up the long stuff with plenty of quick one-touch passing through the middle and down the wings. But the longer the game went on against Palace, the more the nerves kicked in, and the more they (with the admirable exception of Jonny Howson) took the easy option of launching it towards Mbokani, despite it’s obvious lack of success as a tactic. It also does Mbokani a disservice – he is good with the ball at his feet.
With Naismith having a nightmare in which he kept treating the football like it was the killer rabbit from Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Robbie Brady unusually quiet and Matt Jarvis continuing his one-man quest to deliver precisely the wrong ball every time he gets into space, the game was crying out for the finesse of Wes Hoolahan. At least he would have forced the team to get the ball down and play around a defence with plenty of brawn but not much brain. DB
Steven Naismith is one of our best players – without the ball. He is knowledgeable, wily, and his constantly trotting about the pitch kicking, moaning and niggling the opposition is great. He is like a chavvy Wes.
However, when he has the ball at his feet, or has a snapshot or is on the charge during a counter attack, you never really believe that he has the ability to create something. His debut against Liverpool, and his ability to get under the skin is worth the money we spent. The quality on the ball, and his form so far – not so much.
But, then, he cost around the same amount as Lewis Grabban, so LOL. JR
Pray for Klose’s knee
Go on. Pray for it. DB
Bamford needs to get nastier
Patrick Bamford looks so much like a University Challenge contestant that you expect when he does score, you’ll hear – BUZZZ *camera zooms in* BAMFORD, NORWICH. It adds to an unfortunate demeanour that looks aloof, which can come across like he doesn’t care.
Alex Neil and the whole Norwich fanbase expected him to settle a few scores on Saturday. Unfortunately, he underlined them.
On the evidence of Palace, he clearly isn’t the sort to hold a grudge. Weirdly, he didn’t seem to want to grab Selhurst Park’s face and push it into some dog doo, screaming SEE! SEE! He has the talent, but that apparent lack of cutting edge and controlled aggression that flows through someone like Alex Neil might be Bamford’s downfall. JR
Somehow, I'd avoided going to Selhurst Park all these years. Like a school friend you never go to see because all your mates say his parents’ house smells of cat piss and his little brother walks around in his pants banging a fucking big drum like a moron, it felt best to stay well clear.
Everything everyone has ever said about the place is true. The stands smell of sweaty bumholes, the view is shite and the concourse feels closer in style to Gorleston than a Premier League ground. Yet, it just about veers on the side of 'having character' rather than 'a nasty dump that should be condemned'. It's endearingly chaotic. Apart from the smell of turds. There’s nothing endearing about that.
Actually, there was one thing that wasn't true: the fabled atmosphere of the home fans. Granted they hadn't won since all the famous people started dying (can that stop now they’ve finally won a game?), so you can excuse some nervousness, but they were eerily quiet until Jason Puncheon scored. After that, they were wonderfully noisy. That drum, though: if that ever starts happening at Carrow Road, I'm off to support Ipswich. DB
Stop the Yellow Bird from dying! We've joined Patreon to make sure The Little Yellow Bird Project remains independent and for you – the fans! If you want to help us provide more quality writing, more podcasts and even better content, take a look here. Thanks!