Still far more questions than answers
Has the expectation of last season been replaced with trepidation about this season? Will we play the same starting team for all forty-six league matches in a row? Has Nigel Worthington been a good manager, or a lucky manager, this season? How has the addition of one player made such as huge difference? And is my glass half-full or half empty at the moment?Of course, the responses to some of these questions are very subjective, and there are a number of different answers can be given depending on your view of matters at Norwich City FC.
Has the expectation of last season been replaced with trepidation about this season? Will we play the same starting team for all forty-six league matches in a row? Has Nigel Worthington been a good manager, or a lucky manager, this season? How has the addition of one player made such as huge difference? And is my glass half-full or half empty at the moment?
Of course, the responses to some of these questions are very subjective, and there are a number of different answers can be given depending on your view of matters at Norwich City FC.
The weight of expectation that hung heavy at the start of last season has at last gone. In its place, after the initial uncertainty about how this season would unfold, is the buzz, and excitement that I used to get at Carrow Road a couple of years ago. I'm just happy we are playing good football again. Winning is a bonus.
So looking ahead to the programme for the last home game of the season, will we have seen the same eleven names on the team-sheet for every game? Answer - Of course we won't, but to have had the same starting eleven for six league games in a row, assuming the team for the Coventry game is unchanged is a remarkable statistic. There have been no injuries of note and the new 4-5-1 structure is one that the squad seem comfortable with. The new formation can be credited to the management team and how the players have been fitted in, but to have started the same eleven each week means that the "L word" has come into play.
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The "L Word". Luck. In football no-one is ever lucky, only un-lucky. Good luck is always deserved. Three-two wins after being two nil down are hard earned. Crazy own goals by visiting centre backs called St Ledger are also deserved and are definitely not lucky. Fielding the same side for five weeks in a row may be considered lucky, although this is never admitted. The dividing line between bad and good luck is very thin, and can make or break a season. So do I think Norwich have been lucky this season? Answering my own question here, all I will say is that we have been, er, fortunate so far.
So how has one player made such a difference? Lee Croft has added balance to the side, and fitted in perfectly to 4-5-1, a formation where it is essential that the two wide men have pace aplenty and can get up to support the lone attacker. The threat on the right has given Hucks more chance as there are now threats from both flanks. So yes - I really do think that Croft really has made the difference.
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But by my reckoning, the level of beer still is on the way down, and my glass is very much half empty.
Despite the promising start this season where we have played more football in five games than the previous forty six, I can't help thinking that when the going gets a little tougher, our threadbare squad will be badly exposed by injuries. The oppo will also have worked out how we play, and when the pitches get a little more difficult to play on that we may find playing our neat passing game much tougher than we have recently. It has been a great start, but I can't help thinking when it will all start to unravel. We'll finish no higher than eighth. I'd love to be proved wrong though.