Search

Six things we learned from Norwich City’s stylish victory over Bournemouth

11:50 14 September 2015

Dieumerci Mbokani, left, and Kyle Lafferty watch on from the substitutes bench during Norwich City's 3-1 win over Bournemouth at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dieumerci Mbokani, left, and Kyle Lafferty watch on from the substitutes bench during Norwich City's 3-1 win over Bournemouth at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

With the Canaries getting back to winning ways in the Premier League with an impressive performance, David Freezer assesses how Alex Neil’s team can build on a strong start to their top-flight campaign.

1 – Like a fine wine, City’s midfield maestro Wes Hoolahan is getting better with age

Perhaps it is only when his time at Carrow Road comes to an end that the genius of Wes Hoolahan will be fully appreciated – but Canaries supporters know they are seeing the very best of ‘Wessi’ right now.

The Irishman looks as fit and happy as he ever has in his eight seasons with City.

Not only is he on top form with the ball at his feet but he is also a fully integrated part of Alex Neil’s team.

He realises the Scot has zero tolerance for players who do not chase and work hard without the ball.

That was proved in the 49th minute when he saw an attempted flick intercepted by Junior Stanislas – Hoolahan reacted instantly to his error and won the ball back.

That kind of attitude undoubtedly lifted the Carrow Road crowd as much as the stylish passing on show on Saturday.

The 33-year-old was playing his 258th game in a Norwich shirt and needs just six more appearances to pass Dale Gordon and John Polston in the club’s appearances list, moving into the all-time top 30.

If he keeps up his current form then Wes is on course to become just the 22nd City player to make 300 appearances – however his legendary status is already written in stone.

2 – Robbie Brady is already proving brilliant value for money

It was difficult to give the man of the match award to anyone but Wes Hoolahan – Robbie Brady pushed him very close though.

The duo started two vital Euro 2016 qualifying wins for the Republic of Ireland during the international break and both seemed full of confidence when they returned to club duty.

Brady was again deployed at left-back, with Martin Olsson returning to the bench after returning from shoulder surgery by playing two matches for Sweden during the break.

Olsson may struggle to win his place back on this performance though.

The summer signing from Hull arrived at the club with a greater reputation for his attacking play but his defensive work and tough tackling were exemplary.

His goal-saving block at 0-0 in the 29th minute was a huge moment in the game, lifting the crowd with his immaculate timing.

At 23 years of age and his ability to perform at full-back or in midfield, the reported £8million fee the Canaries paid is starting to look like a real bargain in the current transfer market.

Already proving to be a fans’ favourite.

3 – Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom is far from the finished product

If there was a weak point to pick at in City’s defensive display, it was down their right side.

Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom was handed his first City start due to Steven Whittaker’s suspension and made a fairly sluggish start to life at Carrow Road.

The 22-year-old definitely improved after the break and seemed to get a grip on proceedings once City were in front.

However, he looked off the pace in the early stages.

The understanding that Nathan Redmond enjoys with Whittaker was lacking early on, as the duo tried to get their balance between defence and attack correct on the right flank.

Wisdom seemed slow to react to attacks unfolding in front of him at times but proved that he was more than capable once he had found his feet.

He burst forward well and crossed nicely for Cameron Jerome in the 56th minute, and puffed out his chest defensively in the second half as well.

Clearly has ability, although he may well prove stronger as a centre-back in the long term.

Unfortunately has to drop out against his parent club at Anfield on Saturday, as he will need a run of games to properly establish himself in the top flight.

Potential is there though.

4 – Encouraging signs from new signing Dieumerci Mbokani in brief substitute appearance

Canaries fans had only 12 minutes to make their early assessments of new signing Dieumerci Mbokani but will probably have been encouraged by the early signs.

The Democratic Republic of Congo international is an imposing figure who is not going to find the hustle and bustle of the Premier League a problem.

He perhaps lacked a bit of match sharpness but looked to have a decent turn of pace and could well have got himself on the score-sheet late on in the match.

His nice one-two with Nathan Redmond just a minute after coming on saw him snatch at a shot with little room to manoeuvre.

Three minutes later the Dynamo Kiev loanee linked well with Robbie Brady but could not quite dig out a shot from close range under pressure – as the home supporters were poised to celebrate the icing on the cake of a debut goal for the striker.

Mbokani also got up well to win an aerial challenge ahead of Simon Francis in the closing stages.

That hold-up play will be integral to his role but with Cameron Jerome scoring, the pressure is at least off him to have to make an immediate impact.

5 – Kyle Lafferty’s chance will come – if he remains patient

The attitude on show from Kyle Lafferty deserves praise, even if he didn’t get the chance he so desperately wants.

An amusing sideshow emerged on the touchline with City 3-0 up, as Lafferty and Dieumerci Mbokani warmed up in front of an appreciative Snake Pit around the 80-minute mark.

Both wanted to get on the pitch but Alex Neil could only make one more substitution.

When Mbokani got the nod, Lafferty tried to hide his disappointment – but it is good that he was disappointed. He is making all the right noises but must appreciate he faces a big battle to prove he deserves to play up front in the top flight.

Scoring goals for Northern Ireland and displaying the right attitude is the minimum he needs if he is to get the game-time he yearns.

Next week’s Capital One Cup third round clash with West Brom at Carrow Road looks to be his best bet for that chance, even if it is from the substitutes bench.

The 27-year-old’s work rate and enthusiastic personality mean he is already popular with Canaries fans. All he can do now is keep his head down and wait for his chance.

6 – Bournemouth must brace themselves for some tough battles

Cherries boss Eddie Howe said that Saturday’s match would be a good indicator of how the two promoted sides have progressed over the summer.

He will perhaps be regretting that statement after the manner in which his team were beaten at Carrow Road.

The huge blows of long-term injuries to big-money summer signings Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings may have had something of a psychological effect on Howe’s team, so early in the campaign.

It is unfortunate for a club which is embarking on its first Premier League adventure but it is a reality they must accept quickly.

They were overwhelmed by a Canaries team which looked like they belong at English football’s top table.

Alex Neil’s side just need to be better than three other teams for this season to be a success and the club’s development to be back on track.

Sunderland looked to be the first, where City won 3-1, and the Cherries may well be the second.

They were not as bad as the Black Cats but if they were unable to withstand Norwich then they are unlikely to stand much chance against the bigger boys. There is still a long way to go of course but Howe looks to be facing a huge challenge.

Related articles

22 comments

  • I agree with el dingo . . . . MB is a tvverp ! So she told me -`♥´--`♥´-ⓛⓞⓥⓔ -`♥´--`♥´-

    Report this comment

    ole tommy buster custard

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

  • Great result , Norwich dominant after first goal. Bournemouth had chances in first 20mins that may have changed things, great Brady tackle. Way Wes played with shin pad in hand I suggest they all play with shin pad in hand!!! Thought Wisdom was OK not yet as confident going forward but better defensively than Whittaker, can Olsen play left back or Ryan Bennett in and Martin right back also need to give Elliot Bennett a run at right back in cups

    Report this comment

    TonyfromThailand

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

  • I imagine the Loan Contract Terms preclude Wisdom from playing against Liverpool. So we will see Whittaker back. Choice for AN will I guess be between Olsson and Redmond........Jarvis will surely start again

    Report this comment

    Pseuds' Corner Groupie

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Agree with all points. Wisdom had a rough start in the match and right in front of the manager! Hopefully he just needs some games to get up to speed. I have been very impressed with Brady, his commitment, pace and attitude are all spot on. When Olsson is fit it will be interesting to see who starts and where.

    Report this comment

    MellowYellow

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Bournmouth decent performance but on Sunday there will be Coutino back possibly Sturridge Ibe Can and Henderson Bassong and Martin will need an injection of something but it wont be pace.You might need an abacus to keep the score.

    Report this comment

    francophile

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Spanish , young Thompson has gone back to Swindon for 3 months.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Of course SpanCan, you're right, I forgot. til the end of the month wasn't it?

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Voo is at Rotherham DJ, where is McGrandels and Thompson?

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Re #5, the cup game should be interesting as I assume WBA will also be using the squad members. Our non starters should be pushing their cases for inclusion. Might try and get over for that one. Love the cups. Lafferty or Mbok to start up-front, Ryan B CH, VOO centre mid.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Important that we don't mess about and beat the sides we should be beating. Sunday will, of course, be an interesting one. Which Liverpool team will turn up? So long as City go in fearless and respectful with a clear game plan (which they will have) then it should be an interesting marker. OTBC - onward and upward! We also need to make sure we have a plan B for the games when the opposition mark Wes out of it - it will happen and may happen on Sunday...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Just watched the highlights again, Wessie was really so good, I think that is the best I have seen he was almost unplayable at times. If he keeps that going we could well surprise ourselves this season. A real gem at 33 and seems to be getting better.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • sorry, I meant central defence...

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • TrevorKeith is right. Bournemouth are a good team who had a bad day on Saturday, no doubt exacerbated by the injuries to their two expensive new signings. We did ride our luck a little in the first half but I guess we got the rub of the green, which we certainly didn't get against Palace or Stoke. But this should take nothing away from our second half performance which was at times outstanding. We now have a Premiership class left hand side, Jarvis bringing us pace and trickery with Brady offering great athleticism and commitment behind him. Once Ollson is fully match fit I would love to see him resume his fullback spot, with Brady pushing into midfield. But with central midfield remaining our achilles heel they will need protection and support from everyone, which is one reason, I am sure, why AN continues to insist every player works hard for the team. If we go to Anfield with in the right frame of mind and continue to take our game to the opposition we should give a good account of ourselves. The Reds certainly are not the same team without Suarez (our arch irritant!).

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • some of the sports writing here is like they have never kicked a ball themselves in their lives. Andre wisdom is a young lad who really is a center half but can do a bit at full back and probs looks sluggish because he has only one and half games. There are a lot more negatives than just wisdom, like the fact that the center halves are pony. also trying to judge the center forward before you even know to much about him. Also to knock Bournemouth already is a massive error, it was a good win for Norwich but same old same old with Norwich when they win a game Neil is the Ferguson when they lose they want him out.

    Report this comment

    Johnnydoe91

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Dingo, long way to go but S'land look to be in trouble - don't see Advocaat lasting till Xmasunless they things drastically change. Pre-season I picked S'land, Watford & Leicester for the drop. Leicester look more like top half and I would probably change them for Villa. Watford I'm not so sure about. So many changes and they may gel. Still predicting survival for us but not by much. Injury to Bassong would be very painful.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • p.s. for those of you who don't read the article I'm talking about Wes.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Eight seasons with us, my word his pension plan must be building up quite nicely.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Good to see somebody else (even one of Archie's boys) realises what an asset Whittaker actually is...

    Report this comment

    whereareyou

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Hoping a couple of away games will mean a little bit less pressure and a little bit more classy football. We should go to Liverpool with the same attacking intent and aim to make an impact. Liverpool will be edgy after the derby loss, lets make them worry.

    Report this comment

    ncfc boy

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • I keep reading people mentioning getting a result on Saturday. Turn up then by all means but you will be a day early !!!

    Report this comment

    Canaryboy65

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Most comments here are spot on but I certainly would not write Bournemouth off just yet and in fact, had Brady not made a fantastic tackle in the first half we may well have gone a goal down then things could have turned out differently. I am certainly not knocking a fine display on the day by many of our team but likewise think it is far too early to get carried away either. Likewise, Sunderland start every season badly and yet somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat towards the end of the season. We now have two tough away games so things may not look so rosy when we next play at home in the league. It is early days but thus far Alex is getting more right than wrong and long may that continue.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Monday, September 14, 2015

  • Agree with everything except point 6. Too early to identify trapdoor teams imo.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Monday, September 14, 2015

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

Latest from the EDP

Live

Most Read Sport

Most Commented Sport

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the EDP
digital edition

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up