Two poor sides played out an abysmal 0-0 draw at Carrow Road yesterday afternoon, although from a Newcastle United perspective it has to be viewed as a point gained.
That’s not a reflection on the game itself as both sides struggled to present any real goal threat but is instead more of a reflection on our form which has seen us fail to pick up points on far too many occasions this season.
Another couple of positive points were the fact that we kept a clean sheet – just the third of the season by my reckoning although that could be wrong – plus there was the reintroduction of Yohan Cabaye and a solid yet unspectacular debut from his pal Mathieu Debuchy. I’d also be tempted to say fair play to Fabricio Coloccini who put in a professional performance despite the speculation regarding his ongoing future at NUFC.
Newcastle did start brightly and put some early pressure on Norwich but the hosts soon woke up and matched the away side. It was Gabriel Obertan who had the first chance of the match in the 17th minute although Mark Bunn was equal to his snapshot and parried the ball away. Further chances for Papiss Cisse and Obertan again followed although neither were of any real danger to the Norwich goal.
At the other end Norwich didn’t really create much. Tim Krul had to be on hand to smother one through ball and James Perch tracked back excellently to take the ball off Wes Hoolahan’s toes just as the Norwich winger was about to pull the trigger eight yards out from goal.
As you can see, not a lot to write about in the first-half as Anthony Taylor blew for half-time ensuring the two sides went in at 0-0.
There were to be no changes for the start of the second-half as both sides remained unchanged although that did change ten minutes into the second period when Yohan Cabaye returned from injury at the expense of Gabriel Obertan. You know goalmouth action at both ends is scarce when you have to write a paragraph about a substitution!
Fabricio Coloccini and Sylvain Marveaux both had efforts for United although neither really threatened whilst at the other end Russell Martin struck the outside of Tim Krul’s post with a long-range effort and the Dutchman had to be on hand to smother Anthony Pilkington’s strike after the Norwich wideman danced into the United penalty area.
The best chance of the game cam in stoppage time as Norwich crossed deep into the box for Grant Holt to head back across goal nearly finding Pilkington at the back post although he was unable to direct his header on target.
Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination and you can see that both sides lack confidence. For a defence that has been leaking goals all season the clean sheet will do wonders for confidence and a point gained away from home in this league and in our situation is a good point in my eyes.
Next up we welcome Reading to St James’ Park next weekend in what is a must win game for both sides in fairness. It is a traditional “six-pointer” in pretty much every sense and Newcastle simply have to come out on top in that one!
Howay the lads!
Norwich: Mark Bunn, Russell Martin, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido, Anthony Pilkington, Bradley Johnson, Alexander Tettey, Ryan Snodgrass, Wes Hoolahan; Simeon Jackson
Subs: John Ruddy, Elliott Bennett, Leon Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Danny Fox, Harry Kane, Grant Holt
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; James Perch, Vurnon Anita; Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Subs: Steve Harper, James Tavernier, Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye, Romain Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger