On reflection, it’s quite easy to say that Norwich were poor in the headline score because they had so many players out and I’m sure the Canaries’ fans might well be using that as an excuse.
But it takes two sides to make a game and the simple fact is that, to my mind we annihalated Norwich, so nothing should be taken away from the lads today.
It literally seemed like they ran their socks off and the workrate just astounded me, to the point where I was thinking well before half time, that we’d never keep it up.
They mostly did though against a Norwich side that worked equally as hard, but ultimately just couldn’t compete.
Put it this way. I don’t remember ever criticising the player’s workrate in a game, but I have wondered about their fitness levels at times.
Today’s game put any of my doubts to bed and Dean Smith confirmed this earlier in the week, when he said the stats were getting better and better.
So what do I think won this game for us, fitness levels apart?
Well, I’ve said previously that I don’t do tactics and just take a general view of what I’m seeing.
But it seemed to me that we just pushed higher, with the aim to get them on the back foot from the off.
I said in the preview thread that it seemed the aim was to run them to death, where we had decent pace and energy to call on via our subs, while norwich were down to bare bones backup.
Whatever, it worked well.
There were a few great performances today and I have to say I thought El Ghazi was outstanding, causing no end of grief down Norwich’s left.
Norwich played very expansive football, probably because Farke thought it was their only option and indeed I thought they looked the most tidy side in their play overall, but it just wasn’t enough, as their midfield was no match for ours.
And while we battered Norwich, putting my critical head on, I saw a few faults too.
No doubt it was down to the sheer pace of the game, but some of our defending was downright Keystone Cops at times and we panicked far too often. The Mings nearly getting kicked in the nuts twice on the goal line farce was a typical example.
I don’t recall Norwich playing like that at the back during the game.
That said, Norwich conceded 5 and it could easily have been double that, so what do I know?
Wesley got two, which I was really happy about, but how much better would it have been if he’d got a hat-trick?
His penalty was ok, but again I found myself thinking he doesn’t have the forethought to attack the follow-up, which he should have netted easily. Still, that will come, I reckon and he’s answered a few critics today, without a doubt.
I’m not going to comment on Mings’ backpass for their goal.
Sod it, I can’t help it; it was pathetic and is typical of what gives me slight doubts about him.
That said, he was mostly excellent in putting his body behind the ball, the same as all of the defence.
I know what some of you might be thinking.
“How can you moan when we’ve won 5-1 away?”
And it would be fair comment.
But I was sat in front of a Liverpool fan today, who was watching their (main) game in the bar.
You know the sort.
Mane and Salah were totally useless and Milner was a “pensioner”, just two minutes before he scored the penalty, where he applauded him like mad.
How you can criticise like that when you’re romping the league is beyond me.
I really hope I’m not seen as that bad.
I might try to keep a more neutral head on at times, where I don’t just blindly cheer everything the club does, but please feel free to suggest that I should be put out of my misery, if I ever come across like that on here.
In the meantime, I’m taking nothing away from our lads.
It’s a 3 valuable points at a tough place to play and we’ve improved our goal average massively.
14th, the last I saw of the league table and that looks much better.
Up the Villa!