Six things you might have missed after City's promotion party
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Following a weekend when promotion to the Premier League was confirmed, David Freezer takes a look at six things you might have missed after Norwich City's frustrating 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth.
1 - Tables were turned
Just before Dimitris Giannoulis was sent off in the 18th minute, City had been enjoying 72 per cent of possession and were 1-0 up thanks to Emi Buendia’s early goal, the 13th of his superb season.
After the visitors were given the upper hand that had plunged to 35pc at full-time, the lowest of the season for the leaders by a fair margin, with 43pc during the 2-1 win at Blackburn in December the previous low.
This wasn’t the joys of promotion taking the Canaries’ eyes off the ball, if anything confirmation had seemed to free the hosts of pressure and Bournemouth were chasing shadows.
In the end, with fireworks echoing loudly around the depressingly empty stadium and an excited group of around 50 supporters singing loudly outside, the in-form Cherries had impressively taken full advantage of the situation, with a goal disallowed for offside as well.
Buendia had seen a shot whistle just wide at 1-1 but a superb long-range strike from Arnaut Danjuma broke the resistance, as Bournemouth made the promoted hosts run until their tanks were empty.
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2 - To VAR, or not to VAR?
With promotion comes a return to the constant scrutiny and controversy around the video assistant referee system in the Premier League next season.
Would VAR have urged Graham Scott to take a look at replays of Giannoulis’ red card incident and would he have changed his mind? Given how strictly rules are enforced probably not, despite the left-back clearly having little intent as Ben Pearson charged into a tackle on him.
Scott correctly overruled his assistant’s incorrect offside call for the Bournemouth equaliser, to be fair to him, but VAR would have come to the rescue and prevented the third goal.
The digital lines wouldn’t have been needed to prove that Arnaut Danjuma was a yard offside ahead of the eventually fine strike from Lloyd Kelly which settled the game in the 76th minute, with City having Jordan Hugill and Onel Hernandez stood waiting to come on.
3 - Show of determination
It looked like things were about to go from bad to worse defensively for City in the 41st minute, as Cherries full-back Adam Smith clattered Grant Hanley in a tackle.
The Scot limped heavily to the side, with Tim Krul giving Alex Tettey the shout that he needed to get ready to come on, it looked like the captain’s night was over.
Yet with Tettey stood ready to come on, Hanley broke out into a trot and decided he could soldier on, with a booming order of ‘BOSS’ ensuring Daniel Farke cancelled the replacement at the last moment.
With Giannoulis already off, Jacob Sorensen filling in at left-back again and 18-year-old Andrew Omobamidele alongside him at centre-back, Hanley was very much needed to hold things together on a strange night that threatened to spiral out of control against an in-form Bournemouth squad packed with Premier League experience.
4 - Tettey’s place in history
He may not have quite made it onto the pitch but Tettey claimed a personal place in the City record books.
With 16 Championship appearances to his name this season, the 35-year-old has become the first player to ever achieve three promotions to the top flight with the Canaries, having also been a big part of the squad in 2014-15 and 2018-19.
Several team-mates have just clocked up their second promotion, joining club legends including Wes Hoolahan, Adam Drury, Mark Barham, Chris Woods, Dave Stringer and Kevin Keelan in doing so.
Farke also joins Ken Brown as the only manager to inspire two promotions to the top tier for City and would become the first to win the title twice if his squad can seal their status as champions.
5 - Another opportunity?
With an appeal of Giannoulis’ red card unlikely to succeed due to his studs making contact with Pearson’s leg, however harsh it may seem the Greek full-back is now facing a three-game ban.
Which perhaps opens the door for one final chance to impress for Villarreal loanee Xavi Quintilla, who has made just eight league appearances and only one of those was in the last six months.
The 24-year-old has top-flight experience in Spain and has looked to have the technical ability and dangerous delivery to succeed with City, but he hasn’t quite fitted into Farke’s system.
With the chances of his loan becoming permanent looking slim and having not even been on the bench for the last three matches, Quintilla could have one last opportunity to push for a Premier League chance. If not, it looks likely to be Jacob Sorensen covering again, although Bali Mumba has played on the left as well.
6 - Fuel for the fire
It won’t take much for Farke and his staff to get the leaders re-focused after their well-deserved promotion celebrations; they have a title to play for and records to chase.
The class of 2020-21 remain four points better off than City’s title winners of two seasons ago and have eight more than the champions of 2004 – who share the club record haul of 94 points in the second tier.
It’s been slightly lost amid the focus on Swansea and Brentford dropping points on Saturday but Watford lost, 1-0 at mid-table Luton, ending an eight-game unbeaten run.
They failed to have a shot on target and had right-back Kiko Femenia sent off for a second yellow card late on. After coming to Carrow Road tomorrow the second-placed Hornets have games against Millwall, Brentford and Swansea.
A draw to maintain the eight-point cushion would almost certainly mean the title is in the bag for City, if they can’t get the win required to lift the trophy on home soil.