After a pulsating, terrifying, brilliant win over Newcastle, did Jon Rogers and Dan Brigham learn anything? You bet they did: Mbokani, Redmond, willies, Naismith, penguins, Newcastle fans, Shelvey, Ken Barlow and clappers
Mbokani and Naismith, best buddies
Dieumerci Mbokani and Steven Naismith didn’t do everything right. Mbokani should never have got himself into an offside position before tucking away Jonny Howson’s brilliant pass in the first half, and he should’ve buried the chance that Karl ‘Ken Barlow’ Darlow saved. Naismith’s turning circle is often as snappy as a penguin shuffling around its egg, and his first touch can be a bit… shinny.
But they were a constant battering, irritating, aggressive threat to the Newcastle defence. I mean, 40-year-old Jamie Cureton would probably have caused that back four problems. Hell, even Ken Barlow would’ve fancied himself to get a goal. But something has switched on in Mbokani’s mind since half-time at the Hawthorns. Ever since, he’s been winning every header (8 out of 9 on Saturday, to be precise), running the channels, picking out clever passes and looking like a proper, all-round striker; it was also nice to see one of our forwards creating a goal for themselves.
Naismith, meanwhile, had his best game since his debut, constantly coasting cleverly into space and causing problems with some direct running. At times Wes Hoolahan’s finesse was missed, but Mbokani and Naismith deserve to start together again against Crystal Palace. DB
Clappers are kinda like willies. When everything is good, it’s constantly wiggling about in your hand, and you’re having a lovely time making noise with it. But when it’s not so good, you realise you have your willy in your hand in front of 26,000 people and you have a urge to hit Chris Hughton with it.
But they worked. Those concertinaed bits of paper. Carrow Road was raucous. They add when the football is flowing and hinder when the football is insipid – but you can’t double-guess the result.
Although they were successful, I hope the club keep them unique. A novelty; because for the people who were against them, they seemed to raise their voices above them – making the ground the cauldron the team and club wanted.
You should have seen mine at the end of the game. Well used, grubby and in bits. Worth it though. JR
Redmond's return is hooge
Very rarely has a Norwich player found himself in as much space, quite so consistently, as Matt Jarvis did against Newcastle. Maybe he’d done a Gary Lineker and was offering up some bad pants-vibes or, more likely, Vurnon Anita was completely woeful at left-back. Either way, Jarvis was barely marked, finding himself in enough space to begin cultivating his own sugar beet crop.
Yet, time and time again, Jarvis failed to take advantage. He’d hit the first defender, pick out the wrong Norwich player, pick out no Norwich player. On a great day for Norwich, he had a bit of a shocker. It wasn’t that he wasn’t trying hard – of course he was, and he did some really good work tracking back – it’s just that he was, unfortunately, a bit of a klutz going forward.
Nathan Redmond’s speedy return is a huge boost for Norwich in the run in. He’s far from perfect, but he offers a multi-dimensional threat, and was showing his best form of the season before his injury. With the Palace and Sunderland defences struggling over the last few months, Redmond could be crucial in the next couple of matches. DB
Clearly those zany Newcastle fans got it all wrong. It;s the players who should manage the game, not the supporters. Playing a game of ‘Hide the Football’ at 0-0 during half-time stoppage time, with the left foot of Robbie Brady ready and quivering to put the ball onto Timm Klose's fringe – is asking for pure karma.
You fuck with the football, the football fucks with you. JR
Jonjo Shelvey: a bit crap
Twice Shelvey has come to Carrow Road this season, and twice Alex Neil appears to have told his midfield to allow him to have the ball as much as he likes. For Swansea, and again for Newcastle, Shelvey was given a huge amount of space, and would barely be pressed. And every time he did absolutely nothing with the ball. Occasionally he passed it out for a throw-in. Occasionally he passed it to a Norwich player. Mostly he looked up, and hit it to no one.
How’s this for some analysis: Shelvey is an absolutely shithouse footballer. He’s a fraud, who’s lucky to have played in the Premier League for so long, let alone won England caps. Maybe if Newcastle had tried to steal Howson or Gary O’Neil from us in January, they’d be in a healthier position than they are now, rather than spunking £12m – TWELVE MILLION – on a man who’s built his reputation on a couple of long-range goals and a head that looks like it could nut you from 30 yards. DB
Say hello to Ipswich
The Newcastle fans looked broken as they trudged past the hotel at full-time. Hurt and looking to lash out, a group of Norwich fans congregated and sung songs about saying hello to Ipswich.
Before the game, Newcastle fans were concerned about the young goalkeeper Darlow – but he was the least of theirs worries. The defence looked like an ageing, uninterested, unwilling bunch of mercenaries whose agents had one eye on their next club. Talking of which, it’s interesting to see people mentioned that Mr Benítez is unlikely to manage in the Championship. Christ, he can’t even manage in the Premier League currently!
Unless they go on a miracle run, Newcastle will join Villa in the Championship – two giants of English football. They have grounds that hold nearly 100k of people, squads with wages that could buy Luxembourg and Villa haven’t been down since 1987.
It’s FANTASTIC isn’t it? JR
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