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Is it time for Norwich City to take Sebastien Bassong out of the firing line?

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 March 2014

Sebastien Bassong of Norwich City who committed the foul for the Stoke penalty during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Sebastien Bassong of Norwich City who committed the foul for the Stoke penalty during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich . Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

The game against Stoke was one that I, like many of you, expected Norwich City to take three points from - seeing as Mark Hughes' men had the second worst away record in the Premier League.

Rosler and Clough earned their big days out

Congratulations to both Wigan and Sheffield United for reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, and both can now look forward to a big day out at Wembley on the weekend of April 12-13.

I know Wigan are the holders of the cup, but they are a Championship club this season, and to go to The Etihad and beat Manchester City was a truly remarkable result.

City had lost only three times at home, defeats coming at the hands of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barcelona, so you can’t give Uwe Rosler and his players enough credit.

The same goes to Nigel Clough and his players who had the slightly easier task of beating Charlton at Bramall Lane. Since taking over Clough has done a great job, guiding the Blades from the relegation zone to 11th in League One with a run of nine consecutive victories.

On a more negative note, after losing to Sheffield United, Charlton decided that it was time to part with manager Chris Powell. It’s always sad to see a good man lose his job, and Chris is one of the best.

But with Charlton rock bottom of the Championship, having lost five of their last six games in the league, his dismissal was always on the cards.

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Jon Walters’ penalty kick brought the visitors level with 17 minutes remaining. It was a big blow to the club in its fight against relegation, and they have now taken just one point from their last two games against sides who are fighting for their lives in the bottom half.

Bradley Johnson’s second goal of the season gave the Canaries the lead in the second half, and it was a terrific headed goal by the combative midfielder.

It’s not easy scoring from a set-piece against Stoke, but Bradley rose higher than any of them to power home Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick.

Johnson has scored six goals in his 84 Premier League starts for the club, and I think he’s capable of getting more goals. He’s got a hammer of a left-foot strike on him and, as he showed on Saturday, he’s very strong in the air. Maybe if the shackles are loosened he can add more goals to his game.

It was a poor penalty to concede by Sebastien Bassong. At first I thought it was a very soft decision by referee Andre Marriner, but having seen it again, there was clear contact between the Norwich captain and John Guidetti. Guidetti went down like a ton of bricks, but what player wouldn’t in those circumstances?

To be honest I’m not sure why Bassong went in with the challenge. The Stoke frontman wasn’t going to threaten John Ruddy’s goal. In fact, his touch was taking him well away from goal, and all that was required from Bassong was a simple marshalling away of the striker.

He’s an experienced defender and really shouldn’t be making these types of mistakes, which are proving very expensive at the minute. If either Michael Turner or Ryan Bennett were fit to play I’d be tempted to take Bassong out of the firing line.

Pardew got a luck break from the FA

Alan Pardew got away lightly this week after the incident a couple of weeks ago in which he headbutted Hull midfielder David Meyler.

The FA decided that it was sufficient punishment to ban him for just seven games, the first three being a stadium ban.

Let’s be honest, it’s not Pardew’s first unsavoury incident since becoming Newcastle manager. Therefore, he can count himself fortunate, especially when you look at some of the bans that the FA have handed out in the past to players who have committed 
similar offences.

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