September 27, 2011
Before Monday night’s 2-1 home win against Sunderland, the last time Norwich City were televised during a Monday night Premier League match was February, 2005. They were at home against Manchester City. Norwich ended up losing the game 3-2 after a 92nd minute winner from Robbie Fowler, but the score line was the second most important event that day.
Just before the Norwich players came back onto the field from their halftime cup of tea, City’s co-majority shareholder and England’s original celebrity chef, Delia Smith, came prowling out onto the field, clutched the microphone from the bewildered announcer and began one of the most memorable tirades in football history. A call to action directed at a slightly muted Carrow Road crowd. She asked for a “12th man” to help out the 11 registered players and help carry the team in their hour of need.
At that time it wasn’t clear if she was pleading for more vocal support or if she’d consumed just enough wine to genuinely believe that Norwich were one man short of the full 12 she thought we required. Either way, the 12th man never showed up, all three points departed on a bus back to Manchester and Norwich were left with only a barrage of YouTube abuse to show for a night’s hard work.
September 19, 2011
The year was 1994 and on a chilly Saturday afternoon in December, Ashley Ward scored what proved to be the only goal in a 1-0 away win for Norwich at Selhurst Park. It’s taken City almost 17 years, but on Saturday, Norwich registered their first away Premier League win since that cold December victory.
Time to celebrate? Why not? It’s the first time we’ve scored more than one goal in a match this season, two new names on the goals scorers list, a new formation (4-1-1) that seems to be effective and most importantly, three more precious points in bank of Premiership survival.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when I read the lineup ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 away win at Bolton. Lambert made no less than six changes from the side that put in a commendable effort against West Brom. While Ritchie De Laet’s performances have been consistently strong, his omission from central defense was not entirely shocking, by any means. Lambert generously said it was to “take him out of the firing line”. I think that translates to, "I'm more concerned about another embarrassing and expensive blunder."
September 13, 2011
This Sunday, City manager Paul Lambert saw the conclusion of a quite remarkable run of league results which spans back as far as his first game in charge of Norwich on August 18th, 2009. Since that day, Norwich has never lost back-to-back league games. That’s 93 league games without consecutive defeats. This Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to West Bromwich Albion brought that run to its bitter end.
While no one expected that record to last all season, some of the incidents that led to Norwich’s painful loss to WBA will stand out in Lambert’s mind.
The Premier League is very unsympathetic to players who are young or making their top tier debut. City’s backline consists of both of those categories in various combinations and to be frank, it’s been all too evident during the opening four matches. In Ritchie De Laet and Leon Barnett, Norwich have two centre backs with enormous potential, but we’ve seen far too many costly errors that have resulted in points being dropped. We’re missing an old, assured head to take charge of the back four.