Transfers are needed to lift disappointed mood at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Losing 3-0 against a fellow promoted team would be met with disappointment and harsh criticism at any point of the season.
Suffering that loss when we're in the midst of a transfer window, where Norwich's spending as of Saturday had done little to allay fans' fears that we won't invest enough in improving the squad, only serves to ignite the fallout further.
Add to the mix the sight of a newly-signed striker's name on the score-sheet (no, not that one), who was the subject of Norwich bids just five months ago, and suddenly the feel-good factor of a fortnight ago seems to have all but disappeared.
The trip to Bournemouth couldn't have come at a much worse time, although that can't be used as an excuse for one of their poorest performances of the campaign so far.
Visiting teams in the Premier League picked up a total of just two points from seven fixtures on Saturday. Fixture scheduling meant teams faced back-to-back away games in the space of three or four days, and results suggested it was a struggle for most travelling sides to produce good performances in both.
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In Norwich's case, being forced to play with 10 men for the majority of Wednesday night was far from ideal preparation for what was billed as a six-pointer on the south coast.
Alex Neil won't be blaming circumstances for Saturday's hapless defeat though and you'd imagine there will be a deeper inquisition as to why a side containing seven of the starting XI that produced a match-winning display at Old Trafford were convincingly beaten by fellow relegation rivals.
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City just don't win games when they concede first, a serious problem considering we've shipped a third more goals than we've scored. It's a statistic that more than halfway through the season is beginning to haunt us. On the road especially, it makes for grim reading. Norwich have gone behind in nine away matches and of those have lost eight, with only one comeback at Anfield salvaging a draw.
Lewis Grabban's mystery illness prevented him from making the headlines in his first game against the club he left just days previously, but another former Norwich player, Andrew Surman, did make an impact. Bournemouth bossed the midfield, feeding Benik Afobe who was a constant threat.
Afobe possessed the exact attributes that Norwich's attack lacked. Whereas he provided excellent link up play with the supporting midfielders and full-backs, with pace to get in behind the City defence, an isolated Dieumerci Mbokani wasn't able to affect the game at all.
With Wes Hoolahan frequently muscled off the ball and unable to create, the striker was given little service and often resorted to sitting deep or wide to try and win the ball for himself.
As well as being exposed too easily, City's defenders lack quality on the ball, a problem that has plagued the side all season when attempting to play out of defence. Seb Bassong's misplaced pass which led to the third goal was a typical example and further highlights the need for this area to be addressed.
Grabban's reported £8million move to rejoin Eddie Howe's team seems to have divided opinion among fans. Regardless of how you rated his ability on the pitch, Neil's admission that there was 'too much water under the bridge' spoke volumes about his attitude towards fighting for his place in the team.
Neil insists transfer plans are in place, and decisions won't be made on the back of one defeat. Those weaknesses evident on Saturday weren't the result of an off-day though, they have hurt us time and again this season. He also dropped the strongest hint yet that the signing of Steven Naismith is likely to be confirmed soon. We can only hope that's the case and those other plans come to fruition.