The ACN Match Review – Sunderland (h)


What's that familiar feeling? Oh yeah, it's the dark, swirling miasma in our footballing tummies that comes when Norwich takes a surprise detour into Not-Very-Goodsville. Maddie Mackenzie collects her thoughts to the sound of no drum playing.

As is so often the case it matched the quality of football on display, which was fairly abysmal. For all the pro/con arguments concerning the drum, it would appear we’ve lost the ability to function without it – which is a lot of pressure to put on an instrument. There wasn’t even any taunting between the Snake Pit and the Barclay, which is always a sign of a bad state of affairs.

We had a new announcer courtesy of the Tampa Bay takeover. Norwich fans are fairly resistant to change, no matter how temporary, and the sound of an enthusiastic Yank ringing out from the PA system was greeted with polite bemusement at best from my block. He did grow on me throughout the match, with his attempt to make the MOTM announcement sound exciting a particular highlight. Perhaps a 12pm Sunday kickoff wasn’t the best time to try injecting some American levels of enthusiasm into Norwich.

The lineup

I know, I know, three games in one week, blah blah blah. I almost found myself longing for the Dean Smith days of “score and you keep your place.”

That lasted for about half a second and I’m pleased to report that normal, trying-to-pretend-he-was-never-here service resumed, Núñez took the starting place and Sargent returned to the bench.

Hurrah moment

If you haven’t already, treat yourself to the clip of Sørensen getting kissed by Luke O’Nien. How the former didn’t get a booking will remain a great mystery. The time he takes to react, followed immediately by a hand to the throat, is a work of art.

Boooo moment

One of our goal kicks went out for a corner. Truly baffling stuff.

Hero of the match

Starting as ever with the stadium MOTM, news broke shortly before the match that Gabriel Sara was being watched by Atlético Madrid, West Ham, and RB Leipzig. We can only hope they sent their scouts to this match.

That’s not to say he was particularly dreadful, just that his performance was fairly typical of Norwich’s day in general. If I had to pick a standout I’d look in the direction of Dimi Giannoulis who at least kept making attempts to progress the ball forwards. Defensively his positioning was a tad suspect but he’s not exactly the member of the back four I’d most level that accusation towards.

Lungi watch

Dropped! The poor lad finally gets a chance at some successive starts and he’s dropped! Then, when he actually does manage to get on the pitch, he gets kissed by an over-enthusiastic Mackem. If it was going to happen to anyone, it would happen to him. I’ve often poked fun at Lungi for having the apparent charisma of a brick but, fair play to him, he didn’t take the incident lying down, and instead proceeded to assault O’Nien in return.

In terms of the football played, he started as a right back, because of course he did, then switched to his more preferred left flank. I much prefer him on the left despite his right footedness and thought he looked brighter after the switch. It’s hard to look at things without my ever-so slightly-biased glasses on, but it felt as if we missed what he brought to the midfield in the Millwall game.

Our post-match takeaway

I feel for the journalists who have to preview Norwich games at the moment, because there’s absolutely no way of knowing what you’re going to get on the day. Sometimes it’s attacking brilliance that leaves you breathless, then in the very next match those same players make you wish you’d sacked the whole thing off and stayed at home/gone to the pub/your Sunday activity of choice. We can’t rely on individual moments of brilliance; the first half of the season was characterised by that exact foible and we continue to feel the aftereffects.

It feels as if I’ve been saying the same thing in these summaries all season, across two different managers and two very different styles of play. What are Norwich? Are we an attacking team incapable of beating a high press? Are we a group of individuals each capable of those special moments but unable to work together as a team? Or are we, heaven forfend, just a fairly average Championship side?

For the first time in a while, we’ve reached March without having a clue how Norwich’s season is going to pan out. The outcome by this stage of the season, whether promotion or relegation, has been clear since 2019. Not this year. Sometimes that element of uncertainty would be what makes football worth following, the knowledge that a late, exciting promotion charge remains on the cards. This year it’s just symptomatic of Norwich’s inability to decide what they want to be.

One last thing – pyros and fireworks don’t look very good at 12 on a Sunday afternoon. Come on Norwich, what were you thinking?


There are no comments on this article yet.

The ACN Podcast Episode 112 - Crystal Badger


Edie, Tom & Jon talk about the great run we're on and look ahead to a couple of testing fixtures on the horizon, with Sunderland looking to regain form and Huddersfield scrapping for their lives.

The ACN Podcast Episode 113 - Eight Games To Go


Norwich are one positive result away from a playoff spot with only eight games to go. Why does it feel like we're reversing towards the end of the season? The Athletic's Michael Bailey joins us to talk about inconsistency, the 3 mega games coming up, Angus, Kenny&Gabby and a quieter summer ahead than most fans will accept...

Along Come Norwich © 2024