Norwich completed their pre-season with a solid victory against the Bees at Carrow Road. The result was less convincing than the dominance that Norwich showed in the game against Brentford and it is pleasing to see that we have made strides, albeit smaller ones than we may have hoped.
We also displayed our strength in depth. An almost entirely different team played in the game against West Ham than that which took to the field last night and although they got beaten by a rather misfortunate own goal they gave a solid account of themselves. Keeping these fringe players happy will be the biggest challenge that Alex Neil faces, IMO, and I will be amazed if we don’t lose either VanWolfswinkle or Hooper before the transfer deadline. You know I’m a fan of them both – but I also recognise that they’re going to find game time difficult to come by this season.
Alex Neil is still on the hunt for that elusive striker that will get us the ten extra goals this season. They’ll clearly have less games to get them as even an early announcement next week is unlikely to force Jerome out of the driving seat; The winning goal last night another reminder of his prodigious talent to match the one he scored at Wembley.
The other goal scorer on that glorious afternoon is also looking ever more likely to fulfil the potential we all know he has. Signed by Hughton from Birmingham he is finally making that final ball count. Either a solid strike or assist. If he can remain injury free he could well be the key that unlocks the treasure chest that is staying up next season.
As for the rest of the pre-existing squad – they all look solid, especially Johnson who clearly enjoyed his summer break. Much has been made of his influence in the Championship. He needs to get fit and fighting ready for a very different challenge and not be afraid to shoot.
The new boys are still too green to really expect to start next week. Dorrans, obviously the exception. He has looked useful – but still lacks real influence in my opinion. Mulumbo on the other hand could really make a solid difference. He breaks up play nicely and as long as he hasn’t broken anything else I’d hope he gets the nod next week. Tettey played alongside him for 10 minutes last night (before his injury) – it would be interesting to see if Neil can get them working together, although I fear this could be a similar story to the one England faced trying to play Gerrard and Lampard together.
Brady could be divisive. Is he good at crosses or not? This cracking screen grab on my phone says it all…
Too early to judge Wisdom…I’ll come back to you on that.
The earlier friendlies offered little in the way of insight. We scored a lot of goals against very weak opposition. We wore lots of new kits to try and make people buy them and we’re now sponsored by a mobile phone game! Money talks and the £60,000,000 we supposedly got for winning a game at Wembley clearly hasn’t arrived in the club’s coffers yet as there seems no desire to spend it that soon!
So there we have the final thought. Quality over quantity. Watford seem to have bought an entirely new team. The yay-sayers (is that a word) are all suggesting this is a good tactic to survive in the Prem whilst the nay-sayers are reminding Watford that this concept can break up team spirit and momentum, crucial for survival. Norwich, on the other hand had, arguably, a team worthy of the Premier League in place. They just needed to be unlocked. Neil has done that and we have the momentum and team spirit. Sure, add a little bit of quality here and there – but for Gods sake don’t tinker too much.
It seems they know what they are doing!