The ACN Match Review – Rotherham (h)


With hopes for some (East) Anglian Home Improvements dashed and a point settled for, who could possibly say what lies in store for the rest of our season? Paul Buller weighs up the mehs against the muhhs.

The atmosphere 

“Bring the noise,” implored the Norwich City Twitter feed before the game – and although Carrow Road seemed half-empty right up until kickoff, a combination of drumming, singing and some bright, positive play with lots of scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes delivered a good buzz about the place. But not for the first time this season, the performance on the pitch flattened out and we were left with good songs and rhythms from the Barclay End but not a lot else to get excited about. This was definitely one of those games where the fans can say they did their bit, but the team failed to hold up their end of the deal.

The line-up 

No experienced central defenders? No problem. Omobamidele and Sørensen looked as solid as any we’ve fielded in that position this season and, dare I say it, somewhat more mobile. Jordan Hugill, who we all expected to have an Along Come Norwich moment, barely registered a blow. Have we just witnessed our future back two?

However… at the other end, the recurring failed experiment that is Pukki and Sargent was given another go and it just didn’t work. If we are going to get the best out of Teemu before he goes, surely just focus the game around him and stop asking Josh to get in his way. 

Hurrah moment 

In a game of zero hurrahs, this has to go to Andrew Omobamidele, who became Norwich’s youngest captain since 1981. Us canary fans love to overrate a player but here’s one who showed today that, regardless of his age, he’s a player who’s ready to step out of his more experienced colleagues’ shadows and take command. In a squad that’s so weighed down by recent history, that’s a refreshing perspective we desperately need. 

Boooo moment 

There were no great highs or lows in this match – which is perhaps why I found it so boring – but it is becoming increasingly frustrating watching our own players, who are not untalented, misplace passes when under little or no pressure. Time and again they played balls too short, too long, too hard, too soft, when even the tiniest bit more composure would’ve opened up opportunities. This was our game to win but we couldn’t quite get the basics right.

Hero of the match 

This probably has to go to the Rotherham ‘keeper for making some fine saves, especially in the first half when Norwich could have been 4-0 up. That we had enough chances to create our own heroes, but didn’t take them, says much about where this squad is at right now.

Our post-match takeaway 

There appear to be many different takes on this game, depending where you read your reviews or discuss with fellow fans. Norwich weren’t awful but neither were they very good. So opinions aside, my overriding observation from this match is that this was not a Norwich team playing with the intense ambition of a side that has a very real chance (statistically) of making the play-offs, and this was not a crowd buzzing with the excited anticipation of the chance to go to Wembley and be back in the big time next season.

Whether it’s an existential angst hanging over the place about the pitfalls of promotion or, frankly, the fact that we fans haven’t really witnessed any consistently successful football played at Carrow Road since Daniel Farke’s first title-winning season four years ago, something isn’t right. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that watching this ponderous, soporific game of football that promised much and delivered so little felt like many other games I’ve watched at Carrow Road over the last year. Whether or not we go up, we need new heroes and something to get us on the edge of our seats again. We may already have the players to do that, but without any consistency, how will we ever know? Over to you, Wagner and Webber.


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