This match was always going to be a feisty affair between the sides that finished first and second in the Championship last season both battling now to ensure they are in the EPL next season. Norwich played QPR only in December at Carrow Road, coming away victors with a 2-1 win to the Canaries.
Unfortunately this match will be remembered for the Joey Barton incident and the subsequent activity that followed from Barton, Warnock and Bradley Johnson’s jibe. It will also leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the Norwich players and its fans as we were unfairly branded “cheats” by QPR manager Neil Warnock.
However, the reality of what actually happened in the game was that Norwich played extremely well and were the better team, despite the sending off. At one point in the first 10 minutes Norwich were passing it around so well that my dad turned to me and said “we look just like Manchester City”. This obviously led to us smirking but QPR really didn’t enter our half in the first 10 minutes. However, as is the way with football (and why we have not kept a clean sheet yet) the first attack led to their first goal by the man in the limelight Joey Barton on 11 minutes. It was actually a superb drive from Barton (the ‘sssh’ signal to the Norwich fans after the goal not so elegant though Joey) but some sloppy marking from us.
At the game I didn’t see the Barton incident on 36 minutes as it was off the ball and I was watching the ball. After watching the replay several times on television I can’t sympathise with Barton. Yes, it was more of a touching of foreheads than a headbutt however Barton puts his head against Johnson in an aggressive manner and does appear to edge forward slightly. Barton carries an infamous reputation but despite that any player that acts like this on the pitch runs the risk of being sent off, if you don’t want to be sent off, don’t put yourself in a position where you could be. Don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of Barton’s comments given the Gervinho incident.
After the sending off, the game was only ever going one way, although we did make hard work of it. Pilkington scored a fantastic goal on 42 minutes and then Morison’s tap-in from short range finished the game off on 83 minutes.
In the game we delivered 465 passes with an 81% pass completion rate, that’s not bad statistics for a team many had written off before we even started. QPR on the other hand managed 302 passes and a 69% completion rate. Our crossing I think still needs a bit of work but our crossing accuracy was 33% compared with 12% for QPR. This shows the quality of our play was well above that of QPR and hearing comments made about us cheating I frankly find quite insulting.
After my dad’s Manchester City comment I thought I’d compare us to them in terms of passing and crossing accuracy, not bad for a team that was in League One two seasons ago is it? Certainly not the stats of a team that is “cheating” its way to success. Onwards and upwards.
Norwich City and Manchester City after 20 games each:
|Norwich City||Manchester City|