Norwich City 3 - West Bromwich Albion 4
Well that was as entertaining a game as we’ve been involved in for quite a while and, in EPL terms we’ve been accustomed to we probably got 8 games worth of goals and entertainment.
The starting lineup looked okay and it was good to see Field on the bench. The big question was whether we were 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 with JRod in an attacking midfield role.
It was the former and it wasn’t pretty. JRod and Gayle started really high with neither dropping back and this made us really wide open. We did stretch Norwich and look dangerous when we broke or were calm enough to string 2 passes together but on the flip side the area to cover in midfield was too great for Brunt & Livermore and the gaps in front of our back four was enormous.
At the back I thought Gibbs played like it was a kick about in the park with no bite or urgency, Bartley just about did Okay and Hegazi and Nyom oscillated wildly between great defending, terrible defending, awful positioning and being terrifying on the ball.
They had chances before their terrible first where we seemed to give up defending - Gibbs especially.
One decent move saw us get a penalty via a great touch from Gayle with JRod tucking it home with his only notable contribution for the half.
There was still time for Livermore to lose the ball in a terrible place and for us to concede a penalty before Johnstone saved it - a massive let-off and possibly the worst on-target penalty I’ve ever seen.
We were desperate for half time as there was so much to sort out.
After the break Townsend replaced Gibbs who was reportedly injured but before anything of note happened JRod had a speculative shot and Krul, so often our nemesis, let in a really soft goal.
A combination of us taking the lead, JRod dropping deeper, Brunt sitting more and the introduction of Townsend swung the game in our favour for the next 20 mins.
Townsend seemed to be the main catalyst by cranking up our tempo - at last a player really hungry to play, running at full tilt and passing the ball quickly, sharply, accurately and mostly forwards.
On the downside we looked utterly devoid of leadership at the back and despite looking like we might score with every attack we conceded cheap goals through Nyom thinking he was Baresi trying to play it out from the back and another headed goal from a cross - the kind of thing you feel a 70 year old GMac would get up out of his deckchair to nod away. This weakness needs to be addressed.
A wonderful goal from Barnes and a poachers finish from HRK were enough to get us up and running.
The result was vital and there were promising signs but we were lucky for long periods. We desperately need to choose a shape that gives us better cover in midfield and sort our defence out.
Dawson might be the answer for now - I’d start him in there on Tuesday night and get Chadli some minutes too.
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated