I think we all needed last night to cool down a little, gain some perspective and realise that yesterday was actually...yeah who am I kidding. This cloak of positivity is much too small to cover the major cracks oozing through.
It started off so brightly as well, the lads played some brilliant football in the first 20 minutes, you could even hear the gasps from the crowd once or twice. Unfortunately, all this pretty football was to get out of tight spots rather than create - and when we did create something, nobody fancied shooting!
It was incredible, there was no hesitation from anyone to shoot from ridiculous angles or distances, but set up an opportunity within 18 yards and suddenly everyone was petrified of the ball. JUST SHOOT MAN! I mean, honestly, someone tell these boys you can take a shot without taking a touch - it's very possible and can also be very effective.
Jozy Altidore has to go down as the main culprit for this and, although he had a very poor game, he isn't who I blame for spoiling the vast majority of our attacks. Up until the introduction of Adam Johnson late in the second half, most of our attacks were concentrated down the right hand side. This meant Ondrej Celustka saw a lot of the ball in the final third. Rather frighteningly, every forward pass or cross he attempted failed to reach its target bar one. He looked almost embarrassed at getting the ball so often and clearly had no idea what he was meant to be doing.
I can't lambast the midfield much, they controlled the game pretty well and in terms of creating chances or developing passages of play that should have been chances - the unit worked very well. Seb Larsson was actually one of our better players, ill prepare myself for the stoning quite readily for suggesting such a thing. But really, he was, he was much more influential than usual and outshone his inform midfield counterparts.
Ki Sung-Yeung missing that open goal was the defining moment. It also quite aptly defines us as a club at the moment. Superb composure in receiving the ball after brilliant work by Fabio Borini and settling himself for the shot, yet his execution was agonisingly poor.
One thing I found rather surprising about the visitors was their total lack of interest in winning the game during the final 20 minutes or so. I mean, it's not as if it was beyond the realms of possibility that they could win the match. In fact, Norwich arguably created the better chances and certainly had the inform striker. I'd be fuming if I was a Norwich fan. We were there for the taking at the end as everyone lost any composure they might have showcased during the match.
Alas I can't shy away from a pretty woeful despite out of character moment of stupidity from Wes Brown. I'm not sure whether he was overcome with the frustration that everyone felt or if he had some canny Christmas plans lined up. Whatever the reason, it's made this festive period all the more daunting.
What They Said:
"With all respect to Norwich, we do not have any excuses here, they are not in the top seven. I don't like excuses. I feel very disappointed as it was time to win a football game,"
"Everything was set on the day, the way we have been improving, the way we came out of the game with Chelsea in midweek, the opposition, the timing, but again no. Confidence was high in the dressing room. This makes it more disappointing."
"In general when you are away from home, against a good side buoyed by recent results, a draw is a good result.
"I thought we were the side most likely to score on the break, but overall a draw was a fair result. We had clearer chances, and if we showed more quality in the final third we could have come away with three points."