ACN Playoff Review – Leeds (h)


With so few players available, Jonny Rowe in place of Ashley Barnes was the big call David Wagner had to make – and we were quite excited at the prospect of Sainz, Sara and Rowe attacking the Leeds defence. It didn’t disappoint, certainly in the first 30 minutes at least. Rowe clearly isn’t fully fit yet, but he showed enough offense to give the Leeds defense a scare.

Dimi at left back was a surprise as Sam McCallum had been playing so well, but it didn’t take long to see what we had been missing. Was it actually on the left back? At times he ran without the ball into the box as a right winger, often played very high on the left from goal kicks and ran like a kid who had been stuck in a classroom all day. Whatever his position, it worked.


I’m quite enjoying the current trend of people (myself included) complaining about upcoming games / managers / promotions / atmospheres all week, then turning up to find Carrow Road rocking. It’s like we HAVE to punish ourselves before we’re allowed to have fun, which I guess is pretty much what being a Norwich City fan is all about, so it’s fair enough.

If I could have worn a yellow and green t-shirt emblazoned with the word “AMBIVULUNT” I would have (*note to the ACN product team) so it was a pleasant surprise to hear super Norwich tunes echoing around town before the start. . Kenny McLean mentioned how much he gave the team and it was something special. Unfortunately, like football in the sweltering heat, it all went flat towards the end of the first half and never really recovered. I couldn’t help but think we should give the team a bit more, but damn it was hot; I think we all just wanted some fresh air.

Hate the moment

Not much to rush about, but this wasn’t a game to boo either. So, on the positive side, Norwich’s start has been excellent and has surprised both us fans and Leeds. Although we didn’t score, the way we approached the opening of this game is probably also the reason why we didn’t concede; Leeds looked nervous and cautious and we gave them plenty of reason to be. If you’re going to draw 0-0 in the first leg, at least do it with positive intent – ​​and the fact that David Wagner was prepared to give us a super-charged start to come from behind is enough of a rush for me.

Boooo moment

All I’ll say here is that I didn’t like having to explain to my 11 year old son why grown men think it’s a good idea to fight each other in the street “in the name of football”. In a world with so few positive male role models, I am ashamed that he has to witness this. He loves coming to watch Norwich City, is obsessed with football and was really scared by what he saw in several different areas outside Carrow Road and in the city after the game. Sufficient.

The hero of the match

Not an easy call for a nil when both sides had so few chances, but I’ll give it to Borja Sainz. He probably ran about 10,000 miles, watched everything, got himself and the team out of several tight spots and was probably the most likely to score. A touch less here and there could have done it, but considering we didn’t know anything about this guy a few months ago, it’s hard to imagine the team without him. He certainly has a Wembley world in him, so let’s hope he gets the chance to give it a go.

Our post-match feed

There were quite a few grumbles at the end of this game, some of which seemed a little too critical given the opposition, our thin squad, the energy-sapping heat and what was at stake – not least that for a good part of this game we were by far the best part. However, put it in the context of our poor away form, Leeds beat us twice and have to win at Elland Road and there is justification; this should have been a win for us because we played well and the form tells us it won’t go well in the second leg.

I have no idea how Wagner will prepare for the away leg, but that makes him quite an interesting manager to watch – he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and you never know. We’re as likely to win as lose, but if this first-half performance is anything to go by, Leeds don’t relish going up against Sara, Sainz, Sargent and Rowe. A few tweaks – Sargent isn’t trying to be Sargent and Barnes, for example; Rowe and Sara finding a little more space; the referee who booked leeds players for constantly fouling our midfielders will help us. I believe? Actually, yes, a little bit, but I’m, you know, ambivalent.

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