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Six things we learned from Norwich City’s 2-2 draw with West Ham

11:00 15 February 2016

5  Nathan Redmond starting to rediscover early-season form. Picture: Paul Chesterton

5  Nathan Redmond starting to rediscover early-season form. Picture: Paul Chesterton

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All three points may have slipped from Norwich City’s grasp against high-flying West Ham but David Freezer believes Alex Neil’s team have breathed fresh life into their battle for Premier League survival

1 – Mental strength needed to overcome psychological scars from Liverpool defeat

Ten goals conceded in three home games is not acceptable for a team that wants to succeed at any level of football – but it does not tell the full story for Norwich City.

The chaos of that gut-wrenching 5-4 loss to Liverpool, having been 3-1 ahead, has created doubt in the minds of City players and fans.

The agonising nature of West Ham’s first goal, after first Robbie Brady had made a brilliant tackle back and then John Ruddy had made a good save, made the beginning of the Canaries’ latest concession even more painful.

Up to that point, there had been encouraging signs against the Hammers.

A higher defensive line, an effective offside trap and a back-line that were taking fewer risks hinted at a brighter defensive future. However, old habits die hard.

When Dimitri Payet did slot home West Ham’s first goal the nervous energy was palpable around Carrow Road. Three minutes later, they had equalised.

A collective brain-freeze saw City’s players over-run but they at least did enough to hang on for a valuable point and could even have nicked a win late on.

Another clean sheet cannot come soon enough.

2 – Whichever position he plays, Brady is a star turn

The debate over whether Robbie Brady should play left-back or on the left wing looks set to continue after his fantastic goal.

The Irishman was again deployed at full-back by Alex Neil but decided to take the bull by the horns ahead of his spectacular strike against West Ham.

His instinctive surge to steal possession after Michail Antonio’s slack pass, before thumping his right-footed thunderbolt in off the underside of the bar, was just the kind of lift Carrow Road needed.

It has been tough for City supporters in the past month, as their team has endured its worst run of form in almost two years.

Brady’s goal provided the reminder of why fans part with their hard-earned cash to watch their team. It also prompts the question, would Brady be capable of achieving that success more often if he played further forward?

What is not in doubt though is that Brady is an excellent player and needs to be in the team somewhere.

His covering tackle on Victor Moses so nearly saved the day before the Hammers’ first goal as well, although he was not quite up to speed with the offside trap.

3 – Klose must be more ruthless to prove his class in England

January signing Timm Klose has been thrown head first into a crash course of English football and is improving all the time – he is still not quite finding top gear though.

The potential is clear. The tall Swiss international has all the credentials and potential to make it in the Premier League but he needs to show a nastier side.

At the other end of the pitch was a prime example in West Ham’s James Collins. The experienced Wales centre-back is not as comfortable on the ball as Klose but he is ruthless and determined when it comes to winning individual battles.

The £7.8million signing from Wolfsburg is looking sharper and fitter with each match that he plays alongside Seb Bassong. It is only fair that he is allowed time to build that understanding and his confidence.

If the Canaries could have signed the 27-year-old last summer, it could have been such a different story. Now he must accelerate his progress as fast as possible.

He could perhaps claim he was fouled by Victor Moses in the lead up to West Ham’s first goal but he should have been goal-side by the time Robbie Brady’s saving tackle failed to completely thwart the danger.

His speed of progression is now pivotal to City’s hopes.

4 – Keeper debate must be brought to an end – for the good of City’s survival hopes

The end of John Ruddy’s 11-game exile from Premier League action proved to be a solid return.

The 29-year-old could take little blame for City failing to hang on to their winning position against the Hammers.

Declan Rudd was given a fair crack of the whip but the pressure of the Canaries’ relegation scrap looked to be too much for the academy product.

It is time to end the debate and for Alex Neil and City supporters to give their backing to Ruddy as their number one. He is the most experienced keeper the club has and that is not changing until the summer.

Getting behind the former Everton man and helping rebuild his confidence could prove hugely helpful as Neil strives to strengthen his team’s defensive resolve.

His save from Enner Valencia in the first half, and Michail Antonio when 2-0 up, prompted the return of the big man’s name being chanted at Carrow Road. He could not thwart Victor Moses in the build- up to West Ham’s first goal but was left exposed by his defence – the issue which is clearly now most in need of addressing.

5 – Redmond starting to rediscover early-season form

This was much more like the Nathan Redmond that Norwich City fans know and love.

There were still defensive issues, leaving Russell Martin exposed at times, but those deficiencies are more acceptable when Redmond’s offensive threat is in full flight.

Working in tandem on the front foot with Martin the pair have a good understanding, and against West Ham we saw the England Under-21 star using his pace to get on the outside of defenders again.

Redmond’s hesitance has frustrated supporters at times but when City look good going forward, he tends to be on the pitch.

Alex Neil has already said that his team must show some attacking threat now, as they need to win games if they are to steer clear of relegation, and the 21-year-old seems key to that.

The back-heel which set Wes Hoolahan away in the lead up to the Canaries’ second goal was just the sort of style fans hope to see – when he had popped up on the left wing.

Now it is up to Neil to find a way to keep that attacking talent flourishing, in a system that remains defensively solid.

6 – Carrow Road is proving good value for money for supporters

It’s rarely been dull at Carrow Road this season – in fact, Alex Neil would probably snap your hand off for a boring 1-0 win against Chelsea at the start of next month.

Another four goals at the home of the Canaries took this season’s total to 38 scored during the 13 matches played in NR1 so far.

There have been more goals at just three other Premier League stadiums.

Chelsea fans have seen 47 goals scored in 14 games at Stamford Bridge, Everton supporters have seen 50 in 14 at Goodison Park and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium has been the scene of a huge 52 in 14 – an average of almost four goals a game.

It will be absolutely no consolation if City do slip through the top-flight trapdoor at the end of the campaign but at least there has been some good football to savour.

Robbie Brady’s goal against West Ham was the latest exciting moment which has made it so frustrating for all connected with the club to watch the team struggle for consistency.

The second half in particular was enthralling and a point against the seventh-placed Hammers has at least helped to steady the ship.

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27 comments

  • Things we learned from the West Ham game I can only think of three, one we don't have one top striker yet alone two who can score goals , two we have a bad defence a poor keepers one is not ready for the no one shirt yet and another older one who's pasted his best ,three we can't defened under any pressure .Let in so many goals it's getting a embarrassment so it don't matter if AN picks his strongest team plus subs city just aren't good enough for the premireship it was very poor for the manager and board to stick with more or less the same squad that got us relegated from the prem ? Over haul a board manament mess up again .I don't think the break in training aboard will not make any different we still a very poor defence it that has failed before . Unles we can stop leaking goals and can hold on to a leed if we can score city will get relegated .

    Report this comment

    City M

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

  • Just to reply to earlier comment; it's not easy to be positive about NCFC when you travel long distances and have to put up with performances like Bournemouth & Villa. Also the fact that Alex Neil seems determined to play players out of position (Brady) and will not drop or rest Russell Martin no matter what. But on point 1. Yes absolutely more mental strength is required and much of this comes from the manager and staff 2. Brady absolutely needs to play at left midfield. Play a recognised defender at left back for goodness sake! 3. Klose is a top player and simply needs time to adjust which is the whole point!! We should have strengthened in the summer. Blame the board for this. 4. Ruddy is the most experienced keeper and had to be no 1. Rudd has had his chance and I regret to say has failed. 5. Redmond has to be more involved and somehow the best had to obtained from him as he has undoubted ability and electric pace which defenders don't like. Perhaps if we had signed a better right back he wouldn't need to defend as much ! 6. Value for money ? Sorry but I judge this on the way that I feel about the moment and it doesn't feel much like value for money to me.

    Report this comment

    Beachfarmpark

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • One of the last midfield defence generals Graham Souness I've seen him grab many a player by the throat,not many,if any would argue with him,I would love to see him and Vinney Jones go head to head!! and he could play football as well,he used to drive that great Liverpool team on and on

    Report this comment

    butty

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Wombat ,sorry did not know that ,shame ,what player he was , have some good memories of him.

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • iMac Sorry to say but Billy Bremner is no longer with us he passed away in 1997.

    Report this comment

    slimw

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Wombat forgot about him we could go on all night with good old fashion stoppers , even barging the goalie was allowed , will end it there

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Pity Dave McKay is no longer with us. Now he was a REAL defender!

    Report this comment

    Wombat

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • That's right Wombat we need that old Leeds stopper Billy Bremner he would sort out defence , wonder if he would come out of retirement and sign for us , he must be only in his sixties but he would sort or defence out

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Imac - "Norman bites yer legs". same era as Chelsea's Ron "chopper" Harris and when a shoulder charge wasn't a foul

    Report this comment

    Wombat

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • The only thing I've learned from the last three games is that we can't defend a lead at all

    Report this comment

    Wombat

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Will 36 points keep us up? That is just 4 more wins required and I personally think it will be enough. BUT it may come down to goal difference in which case we must improve on it massively. 3 key games - Swansea (a), Newcastle (h) & Sunderland (h).

    Report this comment

    OTFBC

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Tettey has probably cost us at least 6 points this season because him "taking one for the team" is not being helpful when he's suspended and can't play. Key player but totally useless when sat in the stands because of his own stupidity

    Report this comment

    Mylen1um

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I would not worry what yahoo says about Tetty as they did not include that Chelsea player who is the worst offender I have seen this season

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I saw a great deal to be optimistic about. Alex I feel took the team into a bit of a shell after the Newcastle defeat. Yes, we did win a few games during that spell, but this was a better display of attacking football at home that the fans react to. At two up, the team then needs to know how to see a game out. That was all that was missing against a top 6 or 8 team. Look at what happened to Villa and Newcastle. They got thumped. Swansea beaten. More of the same commitment shown against the Hammers and we will be OK. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Bally High

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • MB, imo not so much as taking one for the team but simple daftness from Tettey. Hugely important player for us but too many of his cards are pointless. He's virtually guaranteed 2 suspensions a season and is the most booked player in the whole division again this season. He needs to do the job without so many cards.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • You are shoeing your age now MB hunter is a name of my era , nobby stiles etc ,did they not say bite your ankle Norman hunter or similar

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • ... and pu ssycat is a rude word...

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • @iMac, that defamatory description of Tettey by Yahoo Sport is born of stodgy statistics. Tetts isn't dirty. He just picks up loadsa yellow cards in "taking one for the team". Proper dirty players are in the mould of Kevin Muscrat, John Terry and Norman Hunter. Oh; and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Tetts is a pu$sycat, a gentleman. He'd get far fewer bookings plying his trade with a Big Club.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • @iMac, that defamatory description of Tettey by Yahoo Sport is born of stodgy statistics. Tetts isn't dirty. He just picks up loadsa yellow cards in "taking one for the team". Proper dirty players are in the mould of Kevin Muscrat, John Terry and Norman Hunter. Oh; and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Tetts is a pussycat, a gentleman. He'd get far fewer bookings plying his trade with a Big Club.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Did I really just read a comment 'deserved break in Abu Dhabi'! Which of our players deserves that? Deserve nothing more than the next seven days all day on Sloughbottom Park.

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Just been on one of the other sites and said that the constant moaning is getting tiresome. Nice to come on here and see some positive comments. Well done you lot.

    Report this comment

    61canarie

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Changing the subject Tetty has been voted the seventh most dirty player in the prem. By yahoo sport

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Well done City! That was the sort of football I am happy to watch, irrespective of the league we are in. Wes and Johnny Howson were terrific in the middle and really pleased to see that Ruddy has lost some weight and looks to be back to his best. Klosse is getting better with every game he plays and Nathan finally decided to do what he does best and Robbie has at last scored with a trademark rocket - if we stick to our principles of attacking teams and not giving the opposition time on the ball then we are good enough to survive this campaign. I also have to say the crowd were significantly better - and to hear the south stand singing was really encouraging for everyone. Just goes to show what we can all do as a club when we stick together. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Silebydave

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Cant believe Neil is still playing Brady at left back, he is much more dangerous as a left wing and should play every game no matter who else is left out. He is not good at left back but is brilliant in attack. When will City play their best side in the right positions, Oh that will be next season in the Chumpionship.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Very encouraging to see Ruddy come back with a confident and commanding performance. Just what we need right now. Thought Redmond was up and down but his performance ultimately confirmed to me that he is really great at getting to the byline and getting dangerous balls in. Him and Wes were really integral to almost all of our most promising attacks I thought. Strangely it's the simple passes in the middle of the pitch he seems to fluff up. Although we wilted to the second goal, we showed heart to keep it at 2-2 and had the last attack of the game.

    Report this comment

    Canarywary

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I couldn't agree more OTFBC, lots of positives to take from the performance. Downside is we'll have to put up with non-stories over the next few weeks. Perhaps a Lafferty move will break up the monotony?

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • It was a great point, especially with Villa and The Toon getting thumped. Had you asked AN before the game would you take a point he would have bitten your hand off. The performance was much better, Ruddy looked commanding in goal, Brady scored with his right foot and we are out the bottom 3 so many positives. A deserved 'break' in Abu Dhabi!

    Report this comment

    OTFBC

    Monday, February 15, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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