Norwich City column, by Edward Seaman, October 23, 2015
If there’s one thing in common between Newcastle and me, it’s that neither of us have found it particularly difficult to pick apart Norwich City’s defence this week.
While it is easy to criticise individuals, and many have, of greater concern was how easily we were opened up as a collective unit.
I have sympathy for Sebastien Bassong and Russell Martin as time and time again they were left outnumbered as a result of their teammates’ poor decision making.
The warning signs were there against Leicester, committing too many men forward, losing the ball cheaply and leaving our centre halves exposed to the counter attack.
While we all want to see City impose themselves, there also has to be that responsibility and maturity. City’s fullbacks have to know when to hold while in midfield our ball retention has to be better when players have committed forward – sometimes the simple pass is the right one.
I don’t like picking out individuals but Nathan Redmond’s ‘defending’ for the third goal summed up City’s display.
Not since the days of Leroy Fer have I seen a player so lethargically chase back, after seeing his shot blocked – an example of a poor choice - allowing Newcastle the freedom of St James Park to slice apart the exposed defence.
Alex Neil must take some responsibility, and he has held his hands up, for the decision to substitute Alex Tettey, the one man who does screen the centre backs – and I’m sure he’ll learn from it.
But enough looking back - City host West Brom tomorrow, a proverbial ‘six-pointer’, and although it may come too soon for Youssouf Mulumbu, his return can bring that steel, experience and composure to the midfield that has at times been lacking.
It will be interesting to see if Neil rings the changes but City have shown already this season, albeit against a much changed WBA, that they can play them off the park.
Wouldn’t a win and a clean sheet be just wonderful to move on from last week’s horror show.