Monday, October 22, 2012
Professional football is a ruthless business. Which is why Bradley Johnson’s marauding display against the club that rejected him offered something of a sentimental sub-plot to the hurclean collective efforts of Chris Hughton’s squad.
It’s perhaps churlish to state, but no less truthful, that City’s precious three points will have meant more to Johnson than most. The 25-year-old has spoken in the past about how he was almost lost to the game after Arsenal decided to cut him adrift as a teenager. Johnson recalled once how he broke down in tears after being told by his father he was not wanted by the Gunners.
He had plenty of rivals for top billing here. The likes of Sebastien Bassong, Alex Tettey, Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt all had equal claims, but there was a zealousness to Johnson’s all-round game, borne you suspect of personal heartache, that typfied Norwich’s resolve on the day. Much of his break-up play will have gone largely unnoticed, but the fleeting threats from players like Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski owed much to the lack of service emanating from Arsenal’s central midfield.
Johnson also had the energy to break forward sporadically. Podolski halted one burst but Hoolahan’s quickly-taken free kick was a rare aberration; so too Johnson’s wild second half strike from Hoolahan’s reverse pass.
Transfer target Ola Toivonen may be on his long awaited vacation – but the striker has admitted he is going to use the time to open talks with Norwich City over a possible move to the Premier League.