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Roker Ramble: Screw Draws - Go For Broke!

Draws are not going to be enough to save us, writes Danny Roberts.

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If I had wrote this blog on Saturday afternoon I'm fairly sure that it would have included a profanity every line, a moan about most things that pissed me off throughout the game and a typical ending of f**k you, Sunderland.

However, now I've went through the numbing stage and have occupied my mind with more important things since the final whistle, I've mellowed somewhat and have started to reflect on what the weekend's happenings mean for the club.

It's blatantly obvious to all that Norwich are in pole position for survival now. You could say we have it in our hands still, what with the game at Carrow Road still to come and the Everton match to catch up, but it's certainly the Caneries that are favourites. Although saying that, even if I am pessimistic and just expect relegation now, it is highly possible they won't pick up another point this season, depending on which Crystal Palace and Watford sides turn up to face them. It is even more likely that Palace themselves might struggle to pick up many more points in the latter stages of the campaign too, especially as Pardew has lead them to no victories in 2016. Therefore, we are certainly still in with a chance.

But that of course means that if we, the apparent new draw specialists of the league, want to stay up, we need to actually pick up points - please note that was the plural use of the word point and not the singular.

If you cast your minds back to January, Sam reflected on the side's inability to pick up points from tight games, highlighting that we needed to change the constant losses into draws and wins. However impressed I actually am with how he has managed to achieve this goal, and that's no part down to the arrival of Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Kone, it's also came at the cost of our attacking play.

Now, let me make it clear that this won't descend into a Sam-bashing. I like Allardyce and we've needed a manager like him for a number of years. His style of play may not suit everyone, but his knowledge of what is needed to succeed in this league, his attention to minute details and ability to solidify and organise a team is highly impressive. What he has done with our side in such a short period of time has been fantastic. He's certainly unlucky that the ability in the league this season is considerably better than previous years and he didn't have a full season, but it's reached the time where we need leave the defensive mindset behind and go for broke.

On Saturday, I think my biggest gripe came from the midfield selection. Now, whilst I can understand Sam's reasoning for Catts' inclusion, it also seemed like a flashback to the Poyet days when he bottled any form of attacking play due to his fear of losing after the St Mary's debacle.

When it became blatantly obvious that West Brom were setting up for one thing with their complete lack of width and central-defender-only party at the back, a more forward-thinking impetus in midfield was needed. Whether it was Lee Cattermole or Yann M'Vila, one had to be replaced. The fact neither were highlighted that the mindset was still ‘make sure you don't lose, a draw is okay'.

You can say we looked like scoring, and the corner after corner period in the second half certainly showed if any team would win, it was Sunderland. But, apart from the Defoe chance late on when we actually had two up top, we didn't create any real clear chance for any of our front men.

As much as I know this is a "could have" situation, I find it astonishing that Rodwell was not introduced just to give WBA another person to think about when defending. Not only would they have had him to worry about, his presence had the potential to free up the space for Defoe to hit back of the net (he had three defenders surrounding him for his big chance). I find it even more amazing that, during the 65th minute mark to the 80th we had one shot at goal... one.

In a game we had to win, Sam allowed for a defensive minded midfield struggling to create anything to continue on when Seb and Jack sat twiddling their thumbs on the bench.

That decision not to add them into the game aggrieved me much, much more as our situation is simple, a point is just not enough and games like West Brom are those we need to win.

Keeping it tight at the back with a defensive midfield and bringing on another striker with eight minutes left is just not going to cut it for me to say ‘we went for it'. By all means, in the early stages keep it tight and get a feel for the game and try steal a goal to hold on to. But it's time we show some bravery. We had to fully go for it in the second half on Saturday and we didn't.

Butter it up as much as you want by saying ‘oh we should have won' and ‘we had a lot of corners', but the stark fact is that we had six shots on target in ninety minutes. We should have made the changes with at least twenty minutes remaining. It's no surprise Defoe's best chance came when we had two up top, and if he had put an attacking midfielder and striker onto the pitch sooner, we probably would have found that elusive goal.

From now on, it's time to show some bottle and go for it, Sam. A draw is a loss. It's three points or nothing. If we're going down, let's at least go down attacking.

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