Patience and plan B needed so Norwich City fans can sing ‘home sweet home’
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is see Norwich win away.
In all my years of supporting the Canaries, I can't remember too many periods when that song has been more true.
After the opening day hiccup at Wolves, Neil Adams' men have won four on the bounce away from Carrow Road and scored 11 times, conceding just four.
The football – especially in the second periods – has been entertaining and positive. The belief is back.
The fitness has shone through with so many late goals and killing teams in the closing stages.
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There have already been as many victories on our travels than in the last two seasons and the days of tepid capitulation on the road appear to be over.
What is puzzling, though, is why we can merrily chant 'Jingle Bells' when we leave Norfolk but can't also sing 'there's no place like home'.
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The Canaries are top of the league with 20 points on the board from 10 games. We all would have taken that at the start of the season.
If we are promoted come next May, no-one will care if the points have been achieved at NR1 or in the Championship outposts.
So should we be worrying that City are not firing on all cylinders at Carrow Road then?
Eight points from five games isn't disastrous but it isn't great either.
Based on away form, Norwich would be two points clear and have a goal difference of four better than any other team in the league.
However, on home results, the Canaries would be in 10th place – five points behind Watford.
The Watford home win was ultimately comfortable, but the early sending off was clearly a big factor.
If Blackburn had taken one of their other chances in the opening spell, that game could have been different.
We had expected more against Bournemouth and Birmingham and frustration was the over-riding feeling after the deflating loss to Charlton.
There has been much debate about how things can be different at Carrow Road and as ever in football, everyone has their own thoughts.
Norwich are clearly one of the strongest teams in the league and it is no great surprise that most sides coming along the A47 or up the A11 or A140 will arrive with a game plan to stop us playing.
Eight, nine, 10, 11 men behind the ball – let's all get used to it.
Yes, Charlton were lucky to have Mick Russell as their 12th man, but we must all admit they defended well, worked tirelessly and achieved the ultimate smash and grab raid.
There is a good reason why they are still unbeaten this season – just look at the experience their two centre-halves have.
NA has talked a lot about patience and that is a virtue we all need to develop this term.
Players need to show it by not just lumping the ball forward from minute one.
As fans, we have to realise that other sides won't just lay down and cave in.
However, I do feel City have been too predictable at home and that was certainly the case on Tuesday.
We made it too easy for Charlton to keep their shape and more variety should have been injected.
Adams has been excellent at making early changes but they were too late against the Addicks.
It's ideal that there's another very winnable game so soon and we must put Rotherham to the sword.
Finally, we all know that City have been a 'second half' team this year – and a quick glance at when the goals have come proves this.
Here goes – minutes 15, 23, 24, 32, 52. 54, 54, 55, 58, 59, 61, 68, 69, 75, 80, 81, 83, 83, 87, 90 – at least if you're late it doesn't matter!
• HERO OF THE WEEK: I can't stop watching Josh Murphy's goal at Blackpool. Credit to Jerome for winning the ball and Murphy's balance, skill and sublime finish were fantastic. If Henry or Messi had netted in that style, the pundits would have been purring.
• VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: It's been a while since a ref got my boo boy gong. But Mick Russell is the only choice after his shocking performance on Tuesday. He ruled out Russell Martin's goal for a supposed foul by Bradley Johnson, missed a nailed on penalty and was generally rubbish. We hear so much about 'homer' officials who favour the hosts. Russell was a definite 'away-er'.
• HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Four successive wins on the road. Wow! After so many barren years away from home, the victory at Blackpool which ensured the best sequence for 18 years was as sweet as a stick of the town's famous rock. Now we need to make it five on the trot at Craven Cottage.
• FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: I was working at the weekend so tuned in to Chris Goreham and Bryan Gunn's commentary on Radio Norfolk. They were positioned right near the City fans so we got a good taste of the chants. There was very funny banter with Gunny and Adams and happy days are back on the road.
• PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: I have got two predictions wrong on City results this week. I'm glad I wrongly tipped a defeat at Blackpool and was way off the mark with a 4-0 home win against Charlton. So fingers crossed that I get it right as Rotherham visit Carrow Road on Saturday, I'm going 3-0 to Norwich.