Ipswich 1 Norwich 1: Mick McCarthy’s sad tree face, things not quite clicking, the Ipswich Ultras, Pink Panther and attacking issues. Seb Ward and Dan Brigham on things like sorta learned from a trip to Portman Road
While the inclusion of Youssouf Mulumbu may have been somewhat unavoidable to counter the physicality of Ipswich on their own turf, what it did do was contribute to a narrow attacking formation. Wes Hoolahan and Steven Naismith sat behind Cameron Jerome and hoped to play the intricate football that proved fruitful on our last away trip, against Blackburn. But Naimar and Wessi found their spheres of influence somewhat congested, to the extent that Ryan Bennett and co either couldn't get the ball to their feet, or would choose to cut them out altogether and smack it long to Jerome. Of course, this was exactly what Ipswich wanted.
The issue was compounded by the half-time exit of Ivo Pinto, who had up to that point compensated for the lack of wingers and provided some of that missing width, and indeed the cross leading to the opening goal. It was his width that stretched the Ipswich line to create the space in the middle where our attackers profited for the goal. That width is crucial, and the second half lacked it even more than the first, hence the introduction of Jacob Murphy and Sergi Canos to try and rectify the situation.
Naismith’s performance has again come under scrutiny, and so it asks the questions: can him and Hoolahan really be moulded into the same team? And where will Alex Pritchard go? I think we’re yet to see the best combination, and the best formation in which that best combination will sit. SW
Simple is best
Every so often, Bennett forgets where he is. He forgets who he is. Sometimes even what he is. He’s not a world-class centre-back. His name isn’t Gerard Piqué and he’s not married to Shakira. Sometimes he thinks he is, and tries to play like it. All too often for my liking was the sight of Ryan trying that ‘hollywood ping’, switching it from left to right, from right to left, from side to side, from our possession to theirs. As a defender just keep it simple. Move it quickly, but don’t do anything stupidly ambitious or ambitiously stupid.
The same could be said for others too. Steven Whittaker almost committed a criminal offence in trying to pass it out of his own six-yard box. Michael McGovern’s awareness and adeptness was required to spare him the blushes. I say blushes, I do of course mean the soul-destroying, confidence-crushing, nightmare-instilling torrent of abuse that would have followed for Norfolk’s number one scapegoat.
For clarification, Whittaker isn’t married to Shakira either. SW
Snooze you win
Mick McCarthy, when he’s not busy being scared by ghosts or looking like a tree, says some pretty strange things, and his post-match interviews were no different. Without any irony whatsoever he described the match as having plenty of quality, and then he laid into the Ipswich fans for calling him a "boring c*nt" and wanting his team to play better football.
Both sides are right. Ipswich are dull. We know it, they know it and, really, McCarthy knows it. They played the sort of football that Tony Pulis - said to have been at the game yesterday - would need a cushion over his lap for.
But McCarthy has the right to complain. He deserves more respect from Ipswich fans. They are a team of boiled vegetables and overcooked meat, but McCarthy has turned that to their advantage: they may be difficult to stomach, but they are physically tough, difficult to chew up and possessing just enough spice to add occasional moments of quality. Without him, they'd be battling relegation. DB
Waterloo Road ultras
Dressed in Stone Island jackets and Ellesse bowl hats, this band of brutes were determined to recreate a scene from The Football Factory. Apart from they weren't brutes. Most were lads my age or younger – 18 at the very oldest – and a good portion of them are probably awaiting their GCSE results next week. So it would have to be a highschool production of The Football Factory, and the last I checked it was Grease and Hairspray that were in favour. They did their best to bait, bother, and berate the away fans but became more a face of amusement than hostility, especially during their offside goal celebration surge.
One lad was getting so animated I thought someone might have cancelled his Xbox Live Membership. He looked in danger of bursting a blood vessel, or exhausting his vocabulary of swear words with which he could use as ammo to hurl our way. Anyway, you’re not Danny Dyer and your tea’s probably ready waiting on the table. SW
Sergi Canos runs like the Pink Panther
Arms up, head down, creeping forward in fast-motion like he's forever trying to sneak up on someone. If there were lampposts on the pitch, he'd be lurking behind them.
So, yeh, there's your insight. DB
Only in third gear
It's worth remembering that we've had something of an early season injury crisis: Olsson, Pritchard, Ruddy, Jacob, Pinto and Dorrans have already made themselves familiar with the medical room. I'm not suggesting that should be used as an excuse — although yesterday City may have benefitted from having a third substitution to play with given Jerome understandably looked dead on his feet — but what it does mean is there's reason to be positive.
It shows that even this team can get stronger. And with some activity in the transfer window (SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN SOONER OR LATER) it most likely will get stronger. SW
There was a guy in front – terrifyingly tanned, about seven pints in – who kept beerily turning to his son to tell him Naismith was awful, Whittaker shouldn't be in the squad, Wes’s touch was terrible, the Murphys were a waste of space (he didn't know which one was on the pitch), Jerome was crap even in the Championship and that we'd been shite this season and were going to really struggle. His son, to his immense credit, ignored him.
This is what Norwich have to deal with. Already. Four games in, four games unbeaten, and yet, to some, we're just a waste of time and I mean what's the point even turning up we're bound to be relegated our players just aren't up to it and we're not even trying anyway and I mean what's the point let's just start the 2017-18 season now to save ourselves the embarrassment.
Only one team in the division has more points than us. None have conceded fewer goals. And all of this with only one striker, several injuries (Graham Dorrans’ tidiness in possession may have helped in the middle yesterday) and our attackers not quite clicking yet. Beery Dad might not like to hear this, but Norwich have had a very decent start to the season and we've barely played anywhere near our potential yet. DB