David Hannant: It’s time to start taking Dennis Srbeny seriously
PUBLISHED: 15:54 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 27 November 2019
When Dennis Srbeny put the finishing touch to City’s terrific away win at Everton at the weekend, two things became abundantly clear to me.
One was obviously that all of the City faithful were delighted that the German had opened his account and put a victory beyond all reasonable doubt.
Even I must confess that when I switched on the telly and heard the words "goal at Goodison" I was pretty certain it would be a stick equaliser for the Toffees.
However, the second thing I noticed wasn't quite as welcome as the jubilation.
From some of the things I read on social media, it genuinely felt as though our own fans were mocking Dennis and found the fact he had scored funny.
He's not the first player in my time as a Norwich City fan to have been given this treatment - Aaron Wilbraham springs to mind.
While I'm as up for a laugh as the next person, something about it just doesn't sit well with me.
Certain parties are more guilty of this than others and while it's obviously geared as a bit of harmless fun, it just makes me a little bit uncomfortable.
It's the insincerity of it all. The constant false, tongue-in-cheek ironic (not iconic) hero worship is something I just don't rate.
I'm probably going to be accused of trying to tell people what to do, how to support fans or just being a miserable git, but I'm purely getting an opinion off my chest.
Whenever I see somebody saying something like "if Dennis scores we're on the pitch" or similar, I cringe.
So just why does this bother me?
In all honesty, I don't really know, I think maybe it just feels like there's an element of smugness about it - and I'm just not a fan of one of our own being made a subject of ridicule.
But what bothers me the most is that it just isn't fair on Dennis.
The other thing that concerns me is that it is clear so many other fans have already written him off. If he's not being spoken about as a joke, he's being criticised as if he couldn't hit a barn door.
And what real evidence have we seen that he can't do it?
I've seen some poor strikers in yellow and green during my time, ones who look as though they could play for hours on end and never looked like scoring.
However, to me it just doesn't feel like we have seen enough of Srbeny to decide he's hopeless.
To say he's been a bit part player since arriving from Paderborn would be a bigger understatement than saying Attack of the Clones is slightly worse than the Empire Strikes Back.
However, with City playing with a loan striker and Teemu Pukki being Teemu Pukki, this is hardly a reflection on Srbeny.
In league competition last season he played a grand total of 137 minutes - the equivalent of one-and-a-half games.
His solitary league goal last season therefore gave him a goals to game ratio of one in 1.5. Not too shabby, that.
So is he really deserving of the Nicklas Bendtner treatment? Of course he isn't.
Let's not forget, of course, that little over two years ago he was playing in the fourth tier of German football.
With Josip Drmic now out until January, Dennis now has a real chance to get some proper minutes under his belt and I for one back him to make the most of them.
Even though his appearance on Saturday was limited to just a few moments, the way he grabbed his goal showed real desire - staying on his feet when he could very easily have won a penalty and showing predatory instinct. I love that in a striker.
If there is one thing about this Norwich City side under Daniel Farke that stands head and shoulders above everything else, it's the ability it has to throw up surprises time and time again.
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Nobody expected us to be anywhere near the top six last season, let alone the top one.
Nobody expected us to get anything against Manchester City with half a squad.
To be fair, I'd imagine few even expected us to take all of the spoils at Goodison on Saturday.
So, who is to say Dennis Srbeny won't be the next big surprise package of this team?
I'm not suggesting he gets thrown straight into the starting XI ahead of Teemu Pukki - yet - but I won't be rolling my eyes or groaning if he's given more minutes: he always looks lively and enthusiastic whenever he comes on which is just what we need from our players.
He probably wouldn't thank me for this - no player really wants to be the super sub - but if that is his calling he could well become our Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Either way, it's just great to see us back to winning ways and long may it continue - no matter who grabs the headlines.
How good was it to have Christoph Zimmermann back in the fold?
Obviously the clean sheet and the result spoke for itself, but it's the little things that are so important with the big man.
His body language from the very off screams out leader - geeing his team-mates up and rallying the troops.
There was one moment of the match that summed him up perfectly to me - and it was, ironically, after a bit of terrific defending from someone else.
Ben Godfrey threw his body on the line and made a great block from a gilt-edged chance.
As soon as Godfrey got back to his feet, there was Zimbo giving him a deserved pat on the back and some words of encouragement.
That's the kind of things captains are there for and precisely why he wears the armband when he plays.
It may seem really simple and other players do it too, but when it comes from Christoph Zimmermann it appears to me to have more authority.
It's also the little touches of organisation that makes him such a vital part of the puzzle.
Arsenal won't roll over
Arsenal are in the midst of their worst start to a season in recent memories.
I read a remarkable stat in the week - the fact the Gunners had not won a Premier League game in some 50 days.
While the eternal optimist in me says they're there for the taking, I don't think for a minute they can be taken lightly. I don't doubt Daniel Farke will say the same thing.
Without using a certain phrase that has been banded about for years, you do fear Arsenal deciding that this will be the game they finally show up - just like the travel sick Manchester United did a few weeks ago.
Fine, I'll say it, it's prime Along Come Norwich zone.
However, the wretched run the Gunners have been on is definitely something City need to think about in preparation for the visit.
There can be no sloppy early errors, Arsenal must be given no reason to get their tails up.
An early goal for us would be just what the doctor orders, it would pile the pressure on Arsenal and could be the key to another three points.