I noticed I’d not written much about Norwich recently. I thought about why and I realised it’s because there’s very little left to say. It’s kind of all been covered. Or has it? Yes, yes it has.
The Newcastle game didn’t show us anything new. Perhaps as fans we learnt a little bit more about Jonny Howson and his performance was certainly a positive to take from the game. But there wasn’t much to learn about us besides that. We set up in one of Lambert’s familiar systems, operating like we did in away games in the first half of the season, with Morison the lone striker and a 5 man midfield.
I was a bit worried that we might get smashed given our recent form and Newcastle’s pacey forward line, but after a shaky first 10 minutes we settled into our game and pressed well from midfield. We passed the ball nicely, with Surman, Howson and the always reliable Fox linking together well. We proved a real test for the home side, Alan Pardew called it a battle which is perhaps slightly over-stating it a little but we certainly made Newcastle work for the points. The difference was that bit of quality, the pass from Jonás Gutiérrez and the finish from Papiss Cissé.
Starting slowly and leaking an early goal is something Norwich have done a few times this season although usually at home, to West Brom, to Man Utd and to Fulham are the games that immediately spring to mind. So based on previous experience it was unlikely we would go on to get much from the game having gone behind early and so it proved.
It was the stereotypical promoted side vs. established Premier League side game. It was tight, there was lots of effort from us, but ultimately quality in the final third decided it. Nothing to be ashamed of, good performance and we move on to Wolves at home. Should we be worried about relegation? No. If anything the relegation question now has very little to do with Norwich’s form.
In order for Norwich to be relegated, 3 from 5 of the clubs currently at the bottom of the table would have to get over 36 points. Wolves, Wigan, QPR, Bolton, Blackburn. It could happen, but it seems extremely unlikely, to the extent that a win at home to Wolves will all but keep us up, even if it’s a long way from being a mathematical certainty. Of course if we do go down now, having written this I will look incredibly silly.
Obviously we’d like to end the season well and carry our friend big Mo Mentum into our next campaign as we did this one, in the so called “difficult second season”. It’s a big summer for Norwich. Come the summer there will be lots of questions to ask about Norwich and Lambert about plans and the future of the side. But for now, there seems very little left to say about Norwich City.