March 15 2014 Latest news:
Friday, November 11, 2011
Saturday’s defeat at Aston Villa was the Canaries’ first in four games, so it was hardly the end of the world and I’m sure Paul Lambert won’t be pressing the panic button yet.
However, for the second successive week he saw his team concede three goals through poor defending.
Yes, they have scored five goals in the last two games, but they have only one point for their efforts.
The Premier League is ruthless and nine times out of 10 you get punished for every mistake you make. We witnessed this against Blackburn, and we saw it again at Villa Park.
In the Championship you might get away with some defensive errors but at this level you will be made to pay.
Clean sheets are a massive part of the game and I think it was Wolves manager Mick McCarthy who said last season that 12 clean sheets were his side’s target as that would mean Premier League survival for them.
The Canaries have scored in all but two of their league games this season, drawing blanks against WBA and Manchester United only, but more worryingly they have conceded in every game up until now.
I am sure that will be a concern for the manager, his coaching staff and the players, and I’m sure it will be something they have worked on at Colney.
It’s not just a matter for John Ruddy and his back four but it’s something the team needs to put right. I am a big believer that you start defending from the front; the strikers, like Steve Morison should be your first form of defence.
When Ian Rush played for Liverpool he was their best defender as he never gave the opposition’s back four a minute’s peace, making sure they didn’t have the time or the space to find either the midfielders or forwards with an easy pass.
Now I’m not saying that the lads who have played up front haven’t worked hard this season, as I know they have.
My point is that the lads have to defend as a team and it starts from the front and then runs through the midfield, who have a responsibility in not only getting forward to support the forward players, but also to get back and help the back four and the goalkeeper defend.
The lads will have to do this to the best of their ability in their next game, as they face a massive test when Arsene Wenger brings his in-form Gunners to Carrow Road.
After a difficult start to the season, Arsenal have really found form.
They have won their last four games in the Premier League, scoring eight goals in their last two, so the lads are going to have to defend for their lives to stop Arsenal from scoring.
I’m off to the Abbey Stadium tonight to work in the first round proper of the FA Cup – between Cambridge United and Wrexham – followed by a trip to the Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow where Wales face Norway in their last international of the calendar year.
Maybe this international break has come at a good time for Paul Lambert and the lads.