Not vintage Norwich City but look at the table
The Canaries don’t normally do goalless draws. Apart from the game at Queens Park Rangers back in October, they haven’t been involved in another no-score draw this season.
Saturday was a typical 0-0 encounter, though.
It was a game where there were precious few genuine goalscoring chances, one that was relatively uneventful and one that that was littered with mistakes, due in no small part to a threadbare and bumpy pitch that was anything but conducive to producing free-flowing football.
City certainly started brightly enough. They took the game to their opponents who, even on home soil, were happy to surrender territory and possession by getting nine men behind the ball and leaving just a solitary striker upfield, and then relying on counter-attacking.
After a couple of half-chances for the Canaries had slipped away, and Wes Hoolahan had seen his accurate 20-yard effort well saved by the Eagles’ goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, the game gradually lost its sense of rhythm.
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Both sides were committed enough and both occasionally raised the tempo and quality of their game enough to improve their chances of exerting some sort of grip on the contest. But ultimately, neither team quite managed to do so.
With space in a packed midfield area at a premium, both sides struggled to work the ball through to the final third of the pitch. And even when the ball was diverted out to the flanks, the delivery into the box lacked sufficient quality to trouble the defenders.
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That, in a nutshell, was the gist of Saturday’s encounter.
But it just might be an indication of how far the Canaries have come in the past 18 months that anyone was slightly disappointed they managed to return to Norfolk on Saturday night with only a point to show for their efforts.
In previous seasons we’d probably be organising an open-top bus parade right now if the team had managed to pick up a point at Selhurst Park.
The last two performances have not been vintage displays frorm the Canaries by any means, but four points have been secured from two tough away matches.
It’s an excellent return, no matter how you look at it – a return that any team in the division would take.
One look at the league table, with Norwich sitting in an automatic promotion place, pretty much says it all.
And as long as City continue picking up points, who knows what they’re capable of achieving?
• NEIL’S MAN OF THE MATCH – ZAK WHITBREAD: John Ruddy acquitted himself well again and dealt admirably with whatever the home side could muster, as did Mr Consistency, Leon Barnett, at the back, who has been simply magnificent this season. But my vote goes to Barnett’s central defensive partner, Whitbread, who has impressed since his return from injury. He won most of his challenges and tackles and was on hand to snuff out danger whenever it threatened to surface.