Norwich vs Brentford – The ACN Verdict

04/12/16

So finally, we have a win to write about. Plus, Andy Lawn and Jon Punt do a full match review and don't even mention Alex Neil, isn't it nice to not have to talk about the manager after the game?

Random star performer

Not really that random we're afraid, but the return of Jonny Howson galvanised both his teammates, and perhaps as crucially, the crowd. His composure in the middle of the park allowed us to get a foothold in the game and then keep it. The Yorkshireman knew the pacy outlet of Pinto and Murphy down the right flank was our most likely outlet and looked to exploit this opportunity whenever he saw the chance.

Pritchard was the deserved winner of the match sponsor's champagne, but Jonny added a good solid moist sponge for Pritchard's mouth watering icing and Nelson's glistening cherry.

The former Leeds man has been called by some a proper 'Rolls Royce' of a player. While that's a nice soundbite, he's surely more of a Volvo. Solid, dependable, uncomplicated and robust. Plus Volvo's lovely range of hatchbacks are roomy enough to accommodate Jonny's whippet, along with the wife and kids.

Weekly whinge

Ivo needlessly leaping full stretch into an aerial challenge with the game won, seemingly damaging a hamstring in the process. Pinto may be a right back but his swashbuckling runs from deep gives our attacking forays variety, especially as we're so well stocked with tricky number 10s who like to drift inside. We'd missed Jonny and we'd missed Ivo. Hopefully his disappearance down the tunnel was precautionary.

Sidenote - this might be the first in Jez's topdown look at how to save more money now the full extent of our finances is clear, but is the day we finally turn up and score 5 GOALS the best time to stop rotating the big screen?

Biggest positive to take

Alex Pritchard, when played through the middle, looks like he could all the majesty and grace of Wes Hoolahan in his mid 20s, had the little Irish genius realised just how good he was at such a tender age. What Pritchard also seems to have in his locker is an uncanny knack be in just the right place to collect loose balls. Strangely for such an offensive player this might just make Norwich more robust at the back. Given the amount of yellow shirts committed forward regardless of the opposition it is imperative to sniff out opposition attacks before they gain momentum.

The one and only criticism of Wes over the years has been his capacity to turn back into trouble, simultaneously stifling the fluidity of our attacks. Pritchard seemed willing and able to force the pace a little more, while his delivery into the box was excellent all afternoon, be it from an early whipped cross onto Oliveira's head or his sumptuous slide rule ball into Brady for the third and decisive goal.

Atmosphere rating

Dire. Sure we've been poor recently, really poor more often that not, but celebrating a 5-0 win with near silence is a bit pants. The usual committed Barclay group tried, including airing a BRAND NEW SONG, but the rest of us were showing levels of effort usually reserved for the players.

That being said, full marks to the lad in the Barclay who ironically started his own little chant about Seb Bassong, and how he never puts a foot wrong. It rhymed and everything.

Moment of the match

The devastated look of shock on Jacob Murphy's face when he thought the referee hadn't given a penalty. Gaping mouthed, hands on head, he was an incongruous bastion of devastation among a joyful Canary nation. The dawning joy was an additional sight to behold as he realised was just as pleasant.

Referee watch

Geoff Eltringham (possibly holder of the best referee's name ever) got the penalty bang on, but then missed a seemingly obvious handball as their centre half clawed out a goalbound Oliveira header. Could and possibly should have given Brady another penalty right at the death but with the Bees 5 down, you have to admire his compassion. Also had the opportunity to level up the penalty count when Ryan Bennett seemed to handle the ball. Nicely dismissed Geoff, you can come again.

Summary

Anyone looking at the starting line-up could have been forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief at the return of the housewives' favourites Jonny and Ivo, then instantly wetting the bad when the realisation dawned there was no Wes or Jerome. However, for a side full of changes there seemed to be a collective balance, while most understood the jobs asked of them. Potentially this could have been down to the fact Brentford largely allowed Norwich to dominate possession without too much pressure on the ball, but the margin of the win should see some much needed confidence start to course through Canary veins. Plus finally Seb gets a clean shit for Seb. Lovely stuff.

Oh and by the way, if potential transfer target Scott Hogan is the answer, then on Saturday's evidence the question can only be "Who is marginally less shit than Kyle Lafferty?"

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