I’m not normally a fan of 4pm Sunday kick-offs, even if the reason for these late starts happens to the company which employs me. However, this game had something of a buzz about it, the sunshine came out and the fine City of Norwich was buzzing for what we hoped to be 3 points in the bag and surely guarantee premier league football for another season.
However, you should never under-estimate a team at the bottom of the league as they are desperate to win and Wigan are a team that have struggled this season but not necessarily played that poorly. Their main disadvantage seems to be that they are shy in front of goal but they can pass the ball around well and in our opening game of the season up in Lancashire they didn’t look like a bad team at all, in that game both teams shared the points again with a 1-1 draw.
Now, I’m really going to have to stop talking about team selection but Lambert always baffles me. This isn’t a dig at him before anyone starts grumbling. This man has got us promoted twice and to the dizzy heights of 8th in the Premier league, in my book he’s a football genius. However, he never picks the team I would have (bear in mind I work in marketing, not football here). I stated my dream team before the match as: Ruddy, Drury, Whitbread, Martin, Naughton, Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Bennett, Holt and Jackson. – 4-4-2
The starting line-up however was:
Ruddy, Drury, Whitbread, Ward, Naughton, Fox, Crofts, Surman, Hoolahan, Holt and Jackson – more of a 4-3-1-2
My concern here is we have no wingers and that showed in the game as every move tried to go through the middle. That is very difficult to do when the away team sticks 11 players behind the ball which Wigan did fantastically, when they lost possession they were all back behind the ball and they made it very difficult for us. The stats on page 2 say it all really. Wigan dominated this game from start to finish and in the end it was a point gained for us and not 2 points dropped and I have to say I felt for Wigan, they did enough to win the game and if they keep playing like that I hope that they pull out of the drop zone.
More on page 2: Match Stats…
Wigan dominated all over the pitch having double the shots that we did with three times the accuracy. I think this reflects our problem in the game, we just didn’t get the service to the front men. Holt didn’t have a great game and was replaced by Morison in the second half but the biggest impact was when Bennett came on, he looked lively on the right and started causing some real trouble for the Wigan defence. At last we had started to pressure the Wigan defence and Al-Habsi, who didn’t have a lot to do all game, had to pull of a superb save from a Morison header to keep the score at 1-1.
Wigan also had their chances, hitting the post and Diame somehow firing a shot in-front of goal well over the bar. Norwich keep Ruddy made some great saves at the other end and was deservedly rewarded man of the match by keeping Wigan out on 6 occasions (Editors Note: Sky awarded Man of The Match to Victor Moses).
Wigan dominated possession with 55% and strung together over 100 more passes than Norwich in the game. All in all, Norwich had a bad game. I think the team selection was negative, I can see what Lambert was doing trying to combat their busy midfield 5 but I would have liked to have seen us start with more of an attacking formation with one of Pilkington or Bennett. Still, we’re 12th in the league, we’ve had a great season, I really couldn’t be happier still.
Another Sunday fixture next week away at Newcastle will be a tough one. I really don’t have a clue what team Lambert will play and have given up trying to guess.