Norwich City 1 (Omobamidele)
Leeds United 2 (Raphinha 56, Rodrigo 60)
The only thing that was important today was that Leeds went back to Yorkshire with three points. It would have been nice to get a rip-roaring performance and to finally see the dominant Leeds of last season return but those three points were crucial.
At half time there was no sign of any real improvement over recent games and it certainly wasn’t a rip-roaring display; the game thus far had been a pretty dour affair. Leeds did OK but it would have been a close run thing had points been given out for the first half action. Norwich were restricted to three long range efforts, none of which troubled Illan Meslier while Dan James was unlucky as he latched onto a through ball, rounded the keeper, but then saw his show cleared off the line. Raphinha once again looked the one player on the pitch likely to ignite the blue touchpaper and how Norwich must wish they had a player like him.
The second half came alive in the 56th minute and it was no surprise that it was the Boy from Brazil who got us all on our feet. Dan James found Raphinha on the right side of the Norwich area and the Brazilian’s dancing feet did the rest. He cut inside one defender leaving that one on his backside and then danced past two more before cleverly cutting back a shot that wrong footed half of Norwich City centre never mind the Canaries defence. Into the net it flew and all looked good for a minute or so.
Leeds’ defence has generally looked sound in recent games but still, every now and again, they manage to come up with a howler and today it was Illan Meslier who perhaps didn’t have his thinking head on as he somehow passed the ball over the byline and not along it as he intended. Knowing Leeds’ propensity to concede from corners in the past, it was no huge surprise to see Omobamidele rise almost unopposed to power a header into the net off the underside of the bar. It was a fabulous header but it came from a needless corner. We have to learn to be less charitable as there is always someone ready to pounce on any shortcoming in the Premier League.
So, it was back at 1 – 1 within a couple of minutes and I have to say at that moment I’d have taken that if it had been offered. But I’d have been wrong to do so! Back up the other end went Leeds and when Rodrigo received the ball some 30 yards out he did something we have often refused to do this season; he took aim and fired the ball at goal. Too often we have adopted a sort of “After you Claude, oh no after you” mentality, seemingly always wanting to walk the ball home rather than take a shot at goal. We need to learn that if you do have a shy, every now and then something will happen; the ball will fly into the net from a deflection or, as today, a goalkeeper will make a hash of trying to stop it! Tim Krul has held his hands up over this one that he really ought to have stopped.
With the season Norwich are having it was hard to see them having the heart to come back again and Leeds saw the rest of the game out without too much more drama. The three points were ours and that phrase about there being “at least three teams worse than us” did now seem to have one name etched on the list. The key now is to build on this again; there is still much to improve and we are nowhere near the levels we achieved last season but we ought to be encouraged by the result today and by that last half hour last week against Wolves. If we could only get Patrick Bamford back he might just prove to be the important key-stone that holds this team of ours together and gets us back to the levels we know we can achieve.
Norwich C Leeds Utd
Possession 48% 52%
Shots 14 13
On Target 3 6
Corners 5 0
Fouls Committed 14 23