Norwich City should have wrapped up win against West Ham before substitutions became an issue
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A week that started encouragingly for City, ended in disappointment on Tuesday evening when two late goals cost them a game they really should have won.
The mood among fans had been considerably more upbeat since the Manchester City game. Booed off against Newcastle United, the team left the pitch to a standing ovation from all sides of the ground.
The talk before the game had been of a cricket score. City fans had watched Jose Mourinho pull off a master class in tactics the previous Monday evening, and many feared a backlash was inevitable. It never materialised.
I think you know you've performed well when an England international blames the pitch, and the opposition centre-back gets man of the match from Lineker and co Saturday night (a choice which incidentally baffled most people who were at the match). Norwich thwarted the most potent attack in British football, making them look very ordinary, and ended up inches away from grabbing all three points.
Sadly the feelgood factor evident after Man City game proved to be short lived as City travelled to Upton park. Billed as a six pointer, yet again City's profligacy in front of goal together with yet another fine goalkeeping display from Adrian cost them dearly.
In seven crazy minutes at the end of the game, they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the second successive away match.
It started brightly. The impetus from the fine display against Man City seemed to be carried into the game and City were more than a match for their relegation rivals. Since Alexander Tettey's (right) return to the midfield, City have looked far more assured. Several clear-cut chances were created, but not for the first time squandered. Bradley Johnson, Gary Hooper, Tettey, Robert Snodgrass and Nathan Redmond were all guilty.
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Therein lies the real problem. Much has been made about team selections, formations and substitutions, but the truth is, City should have been out of sight well before the 83rd minute. They are playing well and creating goal scoring opportunities but crucially though, they aren't converting them.
In a league as tight as the Barclays Premier League is this season, it is absolutely imperative to take your chances, especially against teams down there in the relegation mix with you. City have failed to do that in key games at Cardiff City and West Ham recently.
No points could have and should have been six points. Despite investing heavily in firepower during the summer, City, quite frankly, couldn't hit a barn door at the moment, and it could end up costing them their Premier League status.
Maybe it would just take a lucky break to end the drought – a goal off someone's backside would do - but something has to happen quickly.
We are getting to the business end of the season and really can't afford any more slip ups. Quite simply if we don't start scoring goals soon, a return to the Championship remains a real possibility.