Norwich City 3 West Brom 4
Wow. What the fuck was that?!
Did I honestly watch an international goalkeeper punch the ball into his own net?
An experienced striker all but pass the football back to the goalkeeper from a twelve-yard set piece? I say set piece as the only penalty suffered by West Brom was a slight delay in the sucking of their half-time oranges.
Did our head coach actually wear a coat in August?!
At least after a year of fairly turgid existence in the second tier, this was something different. A juicy wheel of camembert to balance last season’s harsh blandness of chalk. A sign that the past 12 months may actually have been a stepping stone and not a complete waste of everyone’s time.
Was it fun? I think so… Do I want to see it every week? Hell, no… Are there things to work on? Definitely…
West Brom (h): What Happened?
Before the game the talk all around me was of a desire for more attacking football. At the end it was bemoaning defensive frailties and predicting a hard season to come.
They may have a point.
For was this performance any different from the defeats against Villa and Millwall at the start of last season? The ones that set the tone for a season of mid-table mediocrity. The ones that prompted a shut up shop mentality due to fears of relegation.
Daniel Farke thinks so.
And so do I, for what little that matters.
Whereas last year’s capitulations were most certainly team efforts, this match was decided through the kind of individual errors usually reserved for stocking filling football gaffes DVDs.
A collection of normally competent players trying to outdo each other in an attempt to win the seemingly coveted award for ‘fuck up of the week’.
Rhodes’s soft penalty. Krul’s attempted save. Klose waiting for a long ball to go out of play only to see it kept in, Pinto running through treacle to keep up. Tettey beaten twice. Marshall’s missed header.
It wasn’t just City either. Allan Nyom’s attempt to shepherd the ball out of play as effective as a blind sheepdog.
On this occasion, the wolf making off with the prey was Onel Hernandez, one of the brightest stars in a flickering sky of City talent.
Like at St Andrews, Hernandez shone back at the Carra. Crosses from the left and right setting up City’s goals. His pace earning the penalty. His all-round play keeping his markers honest throughout the ninety minutes.
Here is a player who looks certain to excel for the Canaries this season. One who if he keeps up this form will be in the promised land of the Premier League next season, with or without City.
How did the players fare?
Behind him, fellow January signing Mo Leitner looked especially dangerous at times, at both ends of the pitch. One attempt at dribbling out of trouble almost proved costly at the back, while imaginative passing at the right end showed why City look more of an attacking threat with him on the pitch.
Of the summer signings, Kenny McLean looked tidy with a good eye for a pass and Teemu Pukki appears a willing runner with some obvious skill to match his bulky frame. Jordan Rhodes will score goals providing he a) is given chances in the box and b) can stay fit for an extended period. He had a good game (the penalty aside).
At the back, Ben Marshall didn’t overly convince in a defensive role but showed glimpses of his threat going forward, while Tim Krul had a nightmare home début which can never be repeated.
So two games in and there are signs of promise.
That first half hour was delightful. Do more of that please Norwich.
But try to cut out the stupid errors.
Afterall, a compilation of show boats à la first half Alex Tettey is much more impressive than an appearance on Football Cock-Ups Vol. 245.