Date: 11th March 2019 at 6:04am
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I won’t deny that I was chuffed to bits when I left Carrow Road’s turnstiles on Friday night, knowing that the three points were in the bag and that the pressure was all on Leeds and Sheffield United who were to play the following day.

I was out all day on Saturday, visiting our eldest son in Nottingham, he’s in his first year of an economics degree at University there, so was only able to keep a cursory eye on the scores via our youngest’s Sky Sports app on his phone.

Both Leeds and United won, so we’re in an “as you were” situation. Funnily Enough, Ipswich Town actually did us a favour as they held poor old West Brom to a draw at The Hawthorns, meaning that the gap back to fourth place in the league is now eleven points.

This was surely the weekend when the number of contenders for automatic promotion dropped to just three.

Wins for both Bolton and Reading have done the Tractor Boys no favours though and the draw certainly did Darren Moore no favours at all.

The announcement on Saturday evening, that Moore had lost his job came completely out of left field for those of us not associated with the Baggies.

It may be that there’s been more going on at WBA than this casual Canary observer is aware of but it did seem very harsh.

Moore has got his team comfortably in the top six and it’s only really been the two defeats at the hands of United and Leeds that have ended their automatic challenge in the last month. It seems the draw with Ipswich was the last straw but what now?

Do they have someone in mind to replace Moore quickly? I suppose they must have, otherwise, they surely wouldn’t have pulled the trigger, would they?

The Baggies still have the vast majority of their Premier League squad but I must admit they looked woefully off the pace in the thumping at Leeds. They played that game a world away from the way that Norwich approached the same fixture a month ago and looked slow and leggy in the midfield with Gareth Barry looking all of his 38 years. Mind you, 29-year-old Jake Livermore was no better.

Moore played Dwight Gayle on the left that night, too. So maybe there was more to it than what we can see on the surface.

Getting back to things of a yellow and green persuasion, the win on Friday night against Swansea was just the sort of result that this time of the year requires.

The performance now becomes secondary to the result. Swansea put in, I’d say, the best performance of any visiting team to Carrow Road this season.

Yes, Leeds beat us 3-0 back in August but we weren’t that bad that day. Leeds scored with their first shot on target and were clinical throughout that game. We dominated them for the first 20 minutes, as we’ve done to plenty of others since and I just thought the Swans were excellent.

Brentford also impressed me at Carrow Road this season and City grabbed six points from the nine available in those matches I’ve just mentioned.

The goal that City scored was a thing of beauty and it came from the left boot of our own Argentinian maestro after his first touch created the chance to smash an unstoppable drive into the Swansea goal.

Emi Buendia has set the Championship alight with some tremendous moments this season. So much so that when asked on Twitter in mid-week by a Leeds fan, who is the best player in the league “Surely Pablo Hernandez?”

Journalist Alan Nixon replied that he’d rather have Emi Buendia.

Alan knows.

The fact that Buendia cost a rumoured £1.5m and that he couldn’t get a game at Getafe is simply astonishing. His technical ability is best described as sensational. Some of his passing is just out of this world, as is his ability with the ball at his feet. He is an absolute joy to watch and long may that continue.

Looking ahead to what’s coming up next, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we are still top when we play Hull City at home on Wednesday night.

The night before will see Reading host Leeds and Sheffield United entertain Brentford.

Like I say, Brentford have impressed me and that will be a tough test for United. Reading have found a little form over the last two weeks and will be keen to make it three wins in a row but that will be a mighty task against Leeds before the big showdown next Saturday lunchtime.

Live on Sky Sports (naturally) at 12.30 pm, Leeds and Sheffield United will face off in what could be a season defining game for both of them. A draw would be nice for Norwich but a win for either, depending on how things go in mid-week wouldn’t be bad either. I imagine that many of us will be glued to the TV next Saturday.

Hull have dipped in form lately, after giving us a good game in the away game. That coincided with the start of a decent run for them but a 3-0 beating at the City Ground against Forest on Saturday shows that they are a little out of sorts of late. Let’s hope that continues for at least a game longer.

It is literally going to be a case of who blinks first in this promotion race but the bottom line is that it is still in our hands.

They say that a week is a long time in politics and the same goes for football and looking at Darren Moore’s situation shows how high the stakes are in English football at the moment.

Failure to gain promotion at the first time of asking is likely to have huge financial ramifications for the Baggies next season but have the West Brom board blinked too soon? I guess we’ll know soon enough.

OTBC

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5 Replies to “A Week Is A Long Time In Football But Who Will Blink First In The Race For Promotion?”

  • I’ve got to say as a Leeds Utd fan. How can you say “Swansea put in, I’d say, the best performance of any visiting team to Carrow Road this season” In the words of your owner Delia Smith “COME ON” get real, Leeds out played you and easily won 0-3 at CR. Also reference to the Leeds v WBA match, you claim that WBA were poor. Give credit where its due mate. Leeds didn’t allow WBA any time to play their game. Leeds beat them in every department and won 4-0. That Leeds Utd performance IMHO, was the best of any Championship team this season, that would have beaten most Premier League teams.

  • Hi Nigel, welcome to Vital Norwich! It’s all about opinions, isn’t it? I thought Swansea were excellent and as I said, I thought they were generally better than Leeds were at Carrow Road. Their problem was they just couldn’t score, something that you didn’t have a problem with. WBA were poor against Leeds but of course, Leeds were very good and pressed them high throughout the game, just like Norwich did at Elland Road, which in my opinion, all things considered, was the better performance of the two. In the Elland Road bear pit atmosphere with all that “Spygate” nonsense/abuse going on we beat you at your own game of “high pressing”.
    Anyone else beat you so comprehensively at home this season?
    I’d take second place right now and if I’m honest, I’d prefer Leeds to go up with us rather than those Blades. Automatic promotion is all that matters having come this far and having been up there for so long – I’m sure you’d agree?!
    The run in promises to be exciting and after us, I wish you all the best, just make sure you beat the Blades next weekend and do us both a favour, eh?!

    • Hi The Tuckster, I agree with you regarding Swansea played well against Norwich and had Swansea had McBurnie playing would probably have won the game. I also think that Norwich were poor on the night and only won the game with their only shot on target, although they did hit the post late on. Regarding WBA v Leeds. Leeds didn’t allow WBA any time to play their game, we made them look a poor team. But we both know they’re a very good team. However, Leeds arn’t just a high pressing team they can also pass the ball very well and did so against WBA. Regarding Leeds v Norwich. I thought that Leeds were unlucky to concede the 2 fortunate deflected goals that Norwich scored in the first half, and I thought that Leeds edged the first half and didn’t deserve to be losing at HT. Second half Leeds substituted our best player Pablo Hernandez and missed him badly. We were’nt at the races in the second half. Credit to Norwich who played us at our own game and were the better team in the second half, and fully deserved their win.

      The only other teams to win at ER this season so far have been Birmingham, and Hull. Hull, attacked us and fully deserved their 0-2 win. Birmingham defended and wasted time and hit us on the counter attack, they won 1-2. I must also say that Blackburn played well at ER, we won 3-2. Almost every team we play especially at ER come to defend, they play for 0-0, also waste time. I think that they know if they attack us we will beat them. Have Norwich had the same problem this season?

      I know when Norwich beat Bolton at Bolton, Bolton tried to attack Norwich, and lost 1-4. The next game Bolton came to ER and defended. This tack-tick goes out of the window when Leeds score the first goal.

      IMHO, Norwich have the easiest run-in and will go up as champions. With Leeds having the hardest run-in. If Leeds beat Sheff Utd at ER on Saturday Leeds will finish second, I hope. I agree the best Two teams this season have been Leeds and Norwich that play attractive attacking football. I also agee, all that matters is promotion, winning the league would be the icing on the cake. Good luck to you and your team Norwich for the rest of the season, I hope that Leeds can hold on to top Two with Norwich and reach the premier League, we both deserve it, having been in the top Two all season.

  • Agree with all that, Nigel. We also have found that teams come to Carrow Rd and sit 10 men behind the ball, more often than not. Birmingham were very bizarre visitors as they just sat back, in their own half, virtually from the first whistle till the last! On paper, we do have the “easiest” run-in and fingers crossed we can take advantage of that although we all know what this league is like. I think the styles of both our teams would quite suit the PL but I couldn’t see the Blades’ formation with their overloading centre backs working too well. Good luck for the rest of the season and hope you make top two, along with us, of course!

  • Hi The Tuckster, Football can be a cruel game. How Leeds lost that game against Sheff Utd I will never know. Leeds have been wasteful with their chances in front of goal of late that came back to haunt us. Leeds were by far the better team and dominated the game with 70% possession, we should have been ahead by HT, by at least a couple of goals. Also, Sheffield Utd should have been down to at least ten men, for a horror tackle on Jannson, also an elbow on Jannson. After Leeds hit the post, Sheff Utd scored against the run of play with a long ball up front, and a mistake by Cooper. We will have to try and pick ourselves up. For the first time this season promotion is out of our own hands. I’m gutted to say the least. Leeds and Norwich have been the best 2 teams that play good attractive, attacking football this season. Norwich are looking good for the title? I hope you enjoy the Premier League, you deserve it.

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