Norwich City hold on to make their point

Norwich City drew 0-0 with Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The game itself was not very exciting to watch, but it spawned an impressive raft of statistics. Of their ten Premier League games this season Reading have won none, drawn six, and lost four. This was City’s first clean sheet away from Carrow Road in 39 Premier League games – a sequence going back to October 2004. It was also their third consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League. The Canaries are unbeaten in the Premier League in their last four games, a run which has seen them take eight points out of a possible 12.

Norwich fielded the same 11 which beat Stoke 1-0 last time out, and the Canaries took to the field wearing their all black away strip. Before kick-off a minute’s silence was observed to remember those who gave their lives in World War One and subsequent conflicts. There were few chances in the first half, but Ruddy did well to save McCleary’s effort after 14 minutes, and Snodgrass headed wide from Hoolahan’s cross.

The second half was marginally more exciting. Hoolahan shot wide. Kebe’s cross appeared to bounce on the top of the City bar. Holt missed with a couple of headers but at least had the grace to grin to himself when he missed the second. Turner was booked with 12 minutes left on the clock, Snodgrass headed Pilkington’s cross over the bar. Seconds later Pilkington blazed wide. Morison and Elliott Bennett replaced Holt and Snodgrass with five minutes left.

The 0-0 scoreline probably pleased Norwich and their fans more than it suited Reading and theirs. It was important not to lose, and to keep the Canaries’ momentum and unbeaten run going. It was important to keep a clean sheet and to deny Reading the three points. Manager Hughton has made clear his preference for tightening up the City defence, even if this means that we have fewer attacking options and resources at our disposal. But in truth there were few chances at either end, few fireworks, not too much skill on show, and not too much excitement either. MOTD showed our game last. Nuff said.

It is axiomatic in football that you are only as good as your next game (Ask Mark Hughes if you don’t believe me). City’s next game is at home to Manchester United. I predict that on that occasion there will be more interest, more excitement, more chances at both ends, and more goals. I also predict that MOTD will not show our game last. Come on you yellows!