A performance of near perfect timing by Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Given that barely a week goes by where a Premier League footballer doesn't land himself in hot water over comments made on social media, the well-worn cliche of it being best for players to 'do all their talking on the pitch' seems more relevant than ever.
Lewis Grabban's misdemeanour centred around more than a flippant online comment, but the same rule will apply to him. He wasn't given the chance to make amends on the pitch on Saturday, but it was an afternoon that belonged to another player who was once in the bad books after being denied a move away from the club.
If any fans are questioning whether Grabban can be fully forgiven for his actions at Rotherham, for which he has now apologised, they only had to witness the scene in the 73rd minute at Carrow Road for the answer. Wes Hoolahan walked off to rapturous applause from 27,000 City supporters, appreciative of another majestic performance where he pulled the strings in an impressive first home win of the season.
It was just over 18 months ago that, at 31, Hoolahan was first linked with a move to rejoin Paul Lambert at Aston Villa. Thank goodness he didn't.
Since ending that season with one goal and one assist, the Irishman scored five and achieved 10 assists in helping City gain promotion. In five games this campaign, he's already set up half of Norwich's goals and is second only to David Silva in the Premier League's assists table.
Hoolahan's outstanding goal on Saturday topped off his brilliant display in a match where City were dominant from start to finish. Bournemouth's defending left a lot to be desired, but there's also a lot to be said for being able to take full advantage in the way Alex Neil's side did.
After a deadline day which was dominated by the shock last-minute sale of Bradley Johnson, a confident victory couldn't have been more timely.
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- 4 City chip shop might be SINKING but refuses to close
- 5 Rare insect spotted in Norfolk for first time in nearly 100 years
- 6 Yobs pictured climbing on vandalised charity dinosaur
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- 8 The days you can visit Wroxham Barns for a fiver this month
- 9 Best friends take over popular café in 'just heavenly' setting
- 10 'Unusual' cottage for sale in one of Norfolk's smuggling villages
For the first time since he took over, Neil's reign had come in for some serious criticism. Rumours came and went about players who could be on their way to Norwich, but when none materialised on September 1 and Johnson's sale became official, it was not hard to see why the club's affairs were being questioned.
A net spend of around £4m, the least of any of the promoted clubs, and letting last season's Player of the Season move on, albeit for a fantastic price, was underwhelming.
In truth, while Johnson was a fans' favourite and rightly gained so many plaudits for driving us to promotion, his limitations at this level mean he's the kind of player who is sold by Premier League clubs with higher ambitions.
The irony is, City's other transfer business left fans wondering if the club's ambitions matched their own. While Dieumerci Mbokani and Matt Jarvis were welcome additions to the signings already made, it was a surprise not to see a defender brought in to bolster a back four that has been exposed at least once in every game this season.
Yet even conceding the obligatory poor goal on Saturday couldn't dampen what was a superb afternoon in the Carrow Road sunshine.
While Jarvis' record of four league goals in three seasons at West Ham doesn't suggest scoring is his main asset, it was encouraging to see such an accomplished finish on debut from the winger who added some much-needed width to the left.
Saturday's performance has set the standard for the remainder of the home games at Carrow Road.
A first win there, a first goal (that counted) for Cameron Jerome and hopefully the first of many away teams leaving Norfolk unhappy.
Now to Anfield...