Plaudits come with a price for Norwich City

Lewis Grabban has been in prolific form for Norwich City. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Lewis Grabban has been in prolific form for Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, September 1, 2014
8:53 AM

The temptation to dismiss Bournemouth as one of the Championship’s lightweights would disguise the fact Norwich City may not endure a tougher test all season.

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"Nathan Redmond induces frustration from sections of Norwich’s fan base simply because they see the same flashes of inspiration and genuine promise as his most ardent supporters. "

Paddy Davitt

Eddie Howe has melded a group light on star names but over-compensating in substance. Whatever the factors that tempted one of the managerial fraternity’s bright young things to swap Burnley for a return to his south-coast stronghold, Howe has been afforded time and perhaps a less pressurised environment in which to construct a team who can mix it with the best in the second tier.

Bournemouth do not have the infrastructure or the financial muscle to perhaps make it all the way to the Premier League, but they possess more than enough talent and class to upset plenty of the genuine promotion contenders.

Howe was adamant in his post-match media dealings that table topping Nottingham Forest had earned a fortuitous league win at Dean Court earlier this season. Blackburn had profited from his side’s defensive deficiencies the previous wekeend, but apart from the blemish that allowed Lewis Grabban too much room to crash a header past Lee Camp there was little visible signs of any such brittleness.

Bournemouth’s measured urgings oozed confidence and belief in Howe’s philosophy. Possession football is the mantra and the patience prior to fashioning a killer opening for the equaliser owed as much to his methods as it did Norwich’s own obvious failings.

Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson were not the dominant midfield force that set the tone for home victories and the derby success at Portman Road. Wes Hoolahan found himself forced to forage ever deeper towards his own penalty box in an echo of those opening day struggles at Molineux.

Howe altered his own formation to try and thwart the Dubliner. It was a back-handed compliment Adams and his side can expect with increasing regularity over the coming months.

The manner Norwich swept aside Watford and Blackburn will have resonated far and wide. Teams will come to Carrow Road intent on stopping City playing. Bournemouth opted for a more refined approach than mere physical exertions, based on starving the hosts of the ball and suffocating the freedom their talismanic number 14 had to weave patterns around Grabban.

Bournemouth defended deep and broke with precision, with an outlet in Callum Wilson who looks every inch as potent as the man he replaced during the summer.

Wilson’s cunning and voracious appetite for work occupied both Russell Martin and Michael Turner far more than the higher profile duo of Jordan Rhodes and Troy Deeney ever managed.

Bournemouth can go about their business away from the limelight and the glare of expectation, but it would be no surprise to see Howe’s homely, unfashionable outfit challenge the establish order for the entire duration.

The Cherries’ cultured obduracy fanned a sense of powerlessness as the game meandered, and a palpable sense of frustration grew around the stadium and on the pitch as Norwich only sporadically threatened to muster the same surgical incision sparked by Nathan Redmond’s dynamic burst to set up Grabban.

Tettey threw his arms up in exasperation after Josh Murphy failed to heed his instructions in the closing stages. It was that kind of day; one where Norwich found an opponent unwilling to let them dictate or fearful of the consequences in trying to push them back.

Redmond’s shift spanned the whole range of emotions. His own public admission afterwards on his culpability in not tracking Simon Francis for the equaliser was a measure of the 20-year-old’s maturity. Yet in the opening 40 minutes he was as dangerous and as direct for a sustained period as he had been arguably since he first flowered in those promising early months of his City career.

Redmond induces frustration from sections of Norwich’s fan base simply because they see the same flashes of inspiration and genuine promise as his most ardent supporters. The manner he squared up Charlie Daniels and then darted beyond before whipping in a first-time cross Grabban merely had to flex his neck muscles to despatch was wing play of the highest order.

Redmond’s range of passing was accurate and penetrative; that surge of confidence from a key assist propelling him onwards and upwards.

But it was a personal display tinged with inconsistency. The questionable decision-making and the rashness of his long-range shooting returned after his inadvertent role in Bournemouth’s equaliser.

He was not alone in yellow and green. Bournemouth’s craft and guile was the antidote to Ipswich’s uncomplicated endeavour. Skill rather than sweat from a set of players Howe has bonded into a tight unit.

The Cherries do not have Norwich’s enviable depth of resources you suspect to sustain a promotion push. Nor perhaps the attacking power to puncture the most organised defences, given John Ruddy’s relative workload. But there will be few league opponents capable of dictating to quite such a commanding degree in City’s own backyard. In that context, the residual value of this game may be in a point earned rather than a performance to savour.

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4 comments

  • BoF, you are taking away Divot`s entire repertoire. The Great Cutter & Padster doesn`t do much onomatopoeia. Yet. He has frequently done a massively huge plethora of tautological stuff in his time, though.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

  • I am puzzled by the header , what does " Plaudits come with a price for City " actually MEAN ? What plaudits ? The headline " Playing a player who you just bought from today's opposition , and whose playing style can be read like a book by them , as your key striker , may well end in Rue " would be more apt , given the events . Although it lacks Alliterations , Homeresque - Adjectives , Militaristic metaphors , and ritualistic Sport-Writers Cliches of course .

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    Bring on Foggo

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • no doubt we need the ball moved quicker. If see like Derby,Forest, cant compare. We have the players, but just need to example, someone made a good point on Radio Norfolk on Saturday. Nathan Redmond, when he had the ball he tend to stop, then try to pass the full back, but Murphy just go straight at the full back to panic the defender right away to skip past them. Redmond can do it but just need to think. My team would be.. RUDDY, MARTIN,MIQUEL,TURNER,OLSON, TETTY,JOHNSON. BENNETT, REDMOND, HOOPER,GRABBAN,

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    Bob

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • I fear we are going to drop more points at home along the way too if we don't start to move the ball quicker. Even from the wins against Watford, Blackburn and Ipswich it was evident. There seems to be so little tempo to our game. Step it up City.

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    Erpingham Tractor

    Monday, September 1, 2014

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