How many days since a home win? Maddie Mackenzie has counted them, and they are many. We're so relieved, we even let her add a new section to the match review.
Being at Carrow Road at the moment is bloody weird. Things started off okay (the bloke next to me was showing off his moves to the beat of the drum), but there was the overwhelming sense that something was about to go wrong. A sort of underlying nervousness.
Go wrong it did, and the nervousness rose to the surface. Unlike the Dean Smith era though, there were no boos, just a resigned sense of regression to the mean. We’re used to watching Norwich show their inability to string more than a few passes together. After all, we hadn’t won at home since late October.
When our team remembered that they are actually pretty good at this football lark and began treating us to the kind of play we’ve always known they’re capable of (no matter how unlikely it seemed in recent months) Carrow Road rose to the occasion. God I love that Sara song, and belting it out as we finally, FINALLY converted our chances at the end of some free -flowing football was joyous.
Wagner committed the ultimate sin.
He dropped Teemu Pukki.
Well. Did he drop him, was it squad rotation, or was Pukki a bit under the weather? It was the subject of debate before kickoff and the total absence of the main man during the second half warmups suggest it may not be as clear cut as first thought, but it was still a shock when the lineup was announced. We’re just not used to Teemu Pukki being on the bench – he’s only come on as a sub five times in the league.
Núñez was also dropped (or rotated, take your pick), and Idah and Hernández were treated to starts. One of these turned out to be a particularly inspired choice…
Ah, Ryan Woods. You almost feel sorry for him. Does he not know that there can only be one outcome when you shush the home fans at 1-0 up after only 14 minutes? The football gods do not look kindly on such actions, and duly rewarded him with a 3-1 thumping. That’ll learn him, if the Barclay’s repeated renditions of “ginger, what’s the score?” didn’t do the job.
I’m struggling to think of anything. There was an annoying moment when Idah attempted a shot (or was it meant to be a cross? We couldn’t decide) and ended up missing an open goal, but the lad’s been so short of game time recently that you can’t hold it against him.
Ah: the cost of a bottle of Fanta in the bar is now £2.85. Two point eight five British pounds! I know we’re in a cost of living crisis but that’s taking daylight robbery to whole new levels.
MOTM in the ground was Sara and I can’t really argue with that, but my hero was Onel. He gets a lot of stick thrown his way, which doesn’t really fit his image of the bonafide fan favourite – I know there are some who don’t rate his end product or who worry that he’s still such an essential part of this team. For me this does him a disservice.
Take Christoph Zimmermann: by his own admission never the most technically gifted player but he would fight to the death (I’m not sure this is even an exaggeration) every time he pulled on the shirt, and left as a legend of the club. Onel’s the same. How many times have we decried a player for not buying in to the club, for not recognising Norwich’s unique charms, for caring more about the name on the back of the shirt than the badge on the front? Onel Hernández is the antithesis of this, which is why a brilliant performance from him can seem to mean more than one from another player.
And make no mistake, he was brilliant. Two assists were no less than his performance deserved.
This comes from a place of love, but blimey was Jacob Sørensen doing my head in tonight. Out he trotted for his traditional lethargic warmup, only to randomly sprint back up to the dugout as if he’d been called back. Again. And again. And again. He kept making at as far as the opposition technical area before turning around and sloping back to the corner flag. By the time he finally did make it back to the bench I was on the verge of a stress induced breakdown.
Then, finally – and to the relief of everyone around me – he came on. 27 weeks since he last played at Carrow Road we were treated to a minute long cameo. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit I cheered his number coming up on the board with more gusto than any of the goals.
He even participated in the post-match celebrations with his typical lack of interest. I’ve never seen a professional footballer who seems so unimpressed by their job; he always looks as if he’d rather be on the sofa with a good book. Still, he came on, he had two touches, and he even celebrated Grant Hanley’s goal (the one that was ruled offside). A rare but appreciated appearance AND show of emotion.
We won at home! Since our last home win we’ve had a World Cup, Christmas, and Nathan Jones’ entire tenure as Southampton manager. Yes, it’s been a long 108 days.
Things weren’t great during the first half and I think you’d be hard pressed to find many people in the ground who foresaw the performance to which we were eventually treated. Every sign pointed to yet another capitulation, more chances spurred, another set of opposition fans leaving Carrow Road happy. Not tonight.
There were moments that didn’t work. The end product left a lot to be desired (yes I know we scored three goals) and our defensive work was a bit suspect against a team who didn’t look great. For now though, who cares? We played some genuinely gorgeous football and came away with three points and three goals.
The concerns on and off the pitch can wait. For once I’m going to enjoy a win without overanalysing it and relish the feeling of having a Norwich chant stuck in my head.
As crunch time approaches, can we resolve enough of this season's missteps to recover? Ffion Thomas reports back from a disappointing - and weirdly hostile - day out West.
Jon and Tom discuss a very satisfying performance against Hull, 3 wins from 5 (or is it 6?) and reflect on how much may be changing at all levels of the football club in the months to come.
Everytime I visit this site I am rewarded with brilliant writing. Thank you. Will definitely be buying the fanzine… Are there earlier editions available from the Farke years?
Hi Richard, most are sold out but we have a few issue 4s kicking around!