What are this feeling, and important, why is happen? Many sport. Paul Buller reports back from a good clean win that’s set our navigational instruments spinning.
Some may say this was our strongest line-up. Some may be right. You’d have to feel a bit sorry for Marcelino Núñez being dropped as he hasn’t done a lot wrong – but he was excellent after coming on for Wagner’s obligatory 65-min “let’s make some substitutions regardless of what’s happening on the pitch” moment. On a good day like today, you can look at the starting 11 and subs bench and think all’s well with the world. And yet…
…And yet. For around 70 minutes, Carrow Road was a subdued place, occasionally rising above a resting heartbeat of around 30 BPM before falling back down into a soft murmur, the only signal that any of us were actually alive. If there was a drum in the first half, I didn’t hear it. Or perhaps I mistook it for my own heartbeat, it was that quiet. For around 20 minutes in the second half it felt as if most of us had gone to sleep or simply flatlined. Then Jonny Rowe did a goal and we all woke up to enjoy some warming renditions of many old favourites, as Norwich saw out a pretty well-crafted victory – certainly the best performance for months. You get the feeling Wagner must have been thinking “WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT??!!” but of course we’ll never tell him, because we’ve become immune to passion and fervour.
This belongs to the final whistle, a moment of genuine hurrah as we could celebrate a clean sheet, a (mostly) good performance and a win over a team we should be beating if we want to get into the playoffs. Hurrahs all round.
If you can show me irrefutable scientific evidence of the motivational qualities of booing Ben Gibson as he steps onto the pitch and his name is read out by the stadium announcer, I will happily stand aside and boo with you. Until then, just stop it. He was excellent today, no thanks to you.
As Kenny McLean misplaced seemingly every single pass inside the first 10 minutes, a familiar “oh dear” feeling began to haunt me and then cement itself. Thirteen minutes in, he played a dreadful stray pass into the WBA midfield. But this is season 23/24 Kenny; chaser of lost causes, silencer of doubters. Sure enough, he raced to retrieve said piss-poor pass, getting to the ball first, surging forward and setting up Josh Sargent to score.
He went on to pop up in almost every position on the pitch as the game wore on, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see him make an incredible save. I don’t know how he does it but he keeps doing it – and that’s probably why every manager has loved him as they would a favourite child.
You’ll probably read other reviews that’ll tell you “if it hadn’t been for X/Y/Z we’d have lost this game” or “if we play like that against A/B/C we’ll get thumped” etc, etc, etc. But for now, I’d like to celebrate the positives of this moment. There were some superb passages of play; our defenders were solid and creative when needed; and we finally looked like a team capable of putting lots of lovely passes together and scoring some very nice goals.
Hey – we weren’t perfect and dropped too deep in the second half, and yes we were helped by West Brom’s tendency to ignore basics of football such as tackling, staying onside or keeping the ball in play. But actually this was a well-won victory that showed at times – lots of times – just how good we can be when we actually CONCENTRATE. See you in the play-offs, Ipswich.
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