SHEFFIELD UNITED (H); THE REVIEW

21/01/18

120 minutes in the cup, followed by a 2-1 defeat at home. All feels rather familiar doesn't it? Jon Punt talks blood diamonds, Chris Wilder and a lack of striking options, all will trying to sum up a disappointing loss. Enjoy, Chris Wilder did....

Random star performer

Chris Wilder. While he will never win any popularity contests in Norfolk, the Blades' boss came with a plan and ensured his side executed it to perfection. The tactic to press City's back three, forcing them to go long wherever possible to the increasingly isolated figure of Nelson Oliveira, saw Norwich concede possession more than they'd have liked and ultimately gave United a platform to build from. Aside from that, Wilder had clearly channelled the ill feeling from the battle at Bramall Lane to extract the most from his group of players. They wanted it more than Norwich, won their individual duels and knew when to sit in and manage the game (shithouse your way to victory). All power to them.

Then there was the tub thumping, badge tapping, silly jump infused celebrations. If a victory at Carrow Road meant that much to you Chris (and it clearly did) then enjoy your party. If a Norwich manager had laid it on that thick in front of their travelling support the Yellow Army would have lapped it up, so fair play. He might be a twat, but he's THEIR twat, just like Paul Lambert was ours.

Moment of the match

Not much to choose from here, but a second full-back in the space of four days guiding home an excellent header at least gave Norwich hope and sparked a mini revival which was ultimately fruitless.

For all of Pinto's willing endeavour his final ball continues to be perennially wasteful, so maybe his consolation goal will give him some confidence moving forward. We can but hope.

Farke watch

Tactically out thought by his counterpart for the opening half, and right up until the introduction of Mario Vrancic and Wes Hoolahan. The dearth of options available to the head coach may have left him hamstrung, yet there were tweaks around the edges which could have been made from the sidelines to make Norwich more robust and potent. Reed and Tettey seemed too deep for a side lining up with three central defenders and James Maddison needed to be employed further up the field to ensure his talents could affect the game.

That said, when the Bosnian/Irish duo did make their entrance, Norwich looked all the better for it.

Biggest positive to take

Jamal Lewis continues to be, well, Jamal Lewis. 120 minutes at Stamford Bridge and nationwide attention might have left the youngster believing his own hype, yet another capable and athletic performance was on display. Conceding the corner for the opener while trying to be a bit too clever will be a learning point, and after seven games in a Norwich shirt it's still too early to really pass judgement, but all signs point to the fact the club have a real diamond on their hands. Not one of those nasty diamonds that Leo Di Caprio wanted to steal from Africa either, this is a polished gem of our own making.

Mid-week noises about Lewis coming in on his rest days for additional training will have endeared him to the fans even more. Get that man his own original and witty chant, quick smart.

Weekend whinge

Rarely a week has gone by during 2017/18 without talk of Norwich's perceived lack of striking options. Well, whatever side of the fence you sat on previously, it can now be agreed that the cupboard is bare. This doesn't help extract performances from Nelson Oliveira either. While his quality isn't really in question, he seems to be a man that thrives on the edge, something that competition for places might just provide. Oliveira is either way too comfortable as City's sole number 9, or his attitude isn't becoming of our front line striker. Whichever of those is true, alternative options are required urgently. Over to you Mr Webber.

Atmosphere rating

Pre-match calls to back the boys, providing them with the extra adrenaline levels by virtue of our vocal support, were kind of heeded. Right up until some omnishambles style defending from a set piece saw the visitors take the lead. After that, pockets of noise could be heard, but the match and the atmosphere itself had a very familiar feeling to it.

Then something strange happened. Something that hasn't happened at the Carra for over 20 years. A Fleck stepped in to electroshock the crowd into life, albeit by scything down one too many Norwich players, and finally Tony Harrington realised he had actually had cards in his pocket. The challenge itself wasn't horrific, but Fleck's caution was greeted with ironic glee and seemed to lift the fans.

Putting that to one aside, there is still work to be done to ensure the players are vocally backed throughout the match. We, along with Barclay End Norwich, are open to any ideas you may have. Please get in touch if you have any. Please?

Oh, small mention for the Blades "Take your time, take your time, Sheff United" chanting too. #top #bantz

Summary

Lazy post match punditry suggested the players' physical and mental fatigue shouldn't be an excuse for City's performance. It was obviously a factor, and modern sports science clearly indicates the edge that sides can gain through having an extra ten percent in the tank. Potentially this is where the game was won and lost, yet the visitors were tactically savvy too.

Norwich's tempo was sadly lacking for much of the first half and they didn't hit their stride until the extra quality of Vrancic and Hoolhan meant ball retention in the opposition half was at least a remote possibility.

When you boil this match to its base elements though, the Blades were worthy winners, their desire and workrate meant the midfield was overrun for large portions of the match. Not a great day to announce your season ticket renewals with the benefit of hindsight then. Whether you clap happily or bed wet incessantly when it comes to supporting Norwich, the fact of the matter is 3pm on a Saturday afternoon at Carrow Road is no longer the happy place it used to be.


While you're here. Two things; first, did you know we have a new podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. Club legend Bryan Gunn was our recent guest as we debated the latest talking points regarding NCFC.

Second, to keep AlongComeNorwich advert free and to help us fund additional initiatives aimed at improving the Carrow Road atmosphere, we occasionally produce exclusive t-shirts/merchandise.

This time we've produced garments celebrating our rightful place as the Pride of Anglia. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the revenue back into the site and things we can all enjoy.

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