Vital Football

Latest Norwich City News

Reading Draw Shows City's Stoicism

Reading Draw Shows City's Stoicism
Nobody promised it would be pretty. For the neutrals, Saturday`s match was an dull match with few openings and was - at best - a gritty affair.

Nonetheless, this clash was a big one - a six-pointer between two would-be relegation rivals.

A lot was at stake. For Reading, another week in the mire; for Norwich, a sudden jolt backwards.

Unlike my fellow away game traveller, I was petrified at what a loss could do here and was starkly aware of how easy it could happen. Reading had netted eight times in their last two home games, against Arsenal and Fulham to boot.

But Norwich stayed strong, holding the likes of Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Kébé, and Pavel Pogrebnyak at bay in what was their third clean sheet in their last four games - their fourth overall.

Four clean sheets. More than last season`s tally merely eleven games in. Only Stoke have more.

Better still, Saturday`s game was the first away clean sheet since that fateful May fixture at Fratton Park when Norwich sealed their long-awaited return to the top tier.

It is clear that Hughton`s decision to build from the back is paying dividends. An almost unimaginable prospect under Lambert, the Canaries` defence has morphed into a well-drilled, well-oiled unit.

Certainly, as the spine of Ruddy, Bassong, Tettery/Johnson, Hoolahan and Holt takes its shape, so too has Hughton`s reign.

Whilst the omission of Howson is harsh considering his undoubted talent, Hughton is right to stick with the current set up. If it ain`t broken, don`t fix it.

Even the much-maligned Michael Turner seems to have hit stride, despite clamorous calls for his exit after some frankly awful performances early on.

So, unbeaten in four, two home wins and two away draws with a cheeky cup run to cap it off. Nobody can deny that Norwich are making a decent fist of avoiding the unthinkable after a shocking start to the season.

But worryingly, the Reading game epitomised a perennial problem with Hughton`s Norwich that could be its eventual undoing - an inability to find the net. It seems that the very same predictability that has put City`s defensive woes to rest has spread to the attacking corps.

Ever since pre-season this has caused issues. Countless times, city`s offensive capabilities have come up short in decidedly winnable games - QPR, West Ham, Aston Villa and even Tottenham.

Whilst the cavalier approach that characterised the Lambert years left Norwich`s defence in tatters on a routine basis, it reaped the rewards up top. Nowadays, Norwich are almost the polar opposite.

The loss of a lively James Vaughan, Harry Kane`s spell with the physio, and the mercurial nature of Steve Morison, Anthony Pilkington and others are partly to blame for Norwich`s current impotence.

But much of the goal drought stems from the system itself. Former wingbacks now sit deep. Holt, at times, becomes isolated.

The key for Hughton lies in striking the balance; perfecting the trade-off between defensive cohesiveness and attacking flair.

Next for the Yellows come Manchester United at home and Everton away. Two bonus games, essentially.

Whilst it would be nice to get results here, the real crunch comes in the string of games that follow: Southampton (A), Sunderland (H), Swansea (A) and Wigan (H) - all eminently winnable fixtures.

This patch will be the most testing to date for Hughton`s boys. If they emulate their recent form, the Christmas period will be doubly as festive. If they slump back into their previous ways, they may find themselves back in the relegation quagmire.

Stage one is complete: the defence is built.

Now, the goals must come.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.
www.papajohns.co.uk/football

Writer:Alex Ward
Date:Wednesday November 14 2012
Time: 4:44PM

Comments

0
Reading draw shows Norwich need to start turning those draws into wins pretty smartly
yellow belly
14/11/2012 22:48:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Norwich City Articles

The Man United Preview

Norwich City expects every man to do his duty

Bennett Is Still Doubtful For United

But Alex Neil will make a late decision on his availability

The Norwich City Walking Wounded - Injury Update

Our weekly update looking at the injury table for Norwich City and also comparing with all our competitors in the Premier League.

Van Gaal: I Want Revenge Over Norwich

Man Utd boss wants to beat Norwich badly

Archived Vital Norwich Articles

Vital Norwich articles from

Site Journalists

The Tuckster
Editor email
Profile
Savvy_Monkey
no email
Profile
LeeBoz
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Will Norwich Stay Up?
Suggested By: Tuckster
Yes25%
No75%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 36 22 11 3 77 30
2 Spurs 36 19 13 4 70 39
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 67 25
4 Man City 36 19 7 10 64 30
5 Man Utd 35 17 9 9 60 12
6 West Ham 35 15 14 6 59 17
7 Southampton 36 16 9 11 57 14
8 Liverpool 35 15 10 10 55 11
9 Chelsea 35 12 12 11 48 7
10 Stoke 36 13 9 14 48 -14
11 Everton 35 10 14 11 44 6
12 Watford 35 12 8 15 44 -6
13 Swansea 36 11 10 15 43 -13
14 WBA 36 10 11 15 41 -14
15 AFC Bournemouth 36 11 8 17 41 -20
16 Crystal Palace 36 10 9 17 39 -10
17 Newcastle 36 8 9 19 33 -25
18 Sunderland 35 7 11 17 32 -18
19 Norwich 35 8 7 20 31 -26
R Aston Villa 36 3 7 26 16 -45
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Norwich City Results (view all)

Norwich City Fixtures (view all)

May 7 2016 12:45PM : Manchester United (H)
Barclays Premier League
May 11 2016 7:45PM : Watford (H)
Barclays Premier League
May 15 2016 3:00PM : Everton (a)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.DRAYTON GREEN72
2.FCBEARS48
3.yellow belly40
4.suffolkcanary20
5.adrian216
6.northern yellow4
7.screaming canary3
8.Rex2
9.sminky2
10.TH262