I`ve sat through a few frustrating afternoons and evenings in the last few years at Carrow Road and yesterday`s 0-0 draw with Bolton was one of the worst.
I`ve got no problem with the way we played in the first half, other than the fact we didn`t score of course, and imagine that this is exactly what Daniel Farke had in mind when he spoke about his style of play last summer.
The ball was kept well and unlike in recent months, we actually created chances and plenty of them too.
James Maddison hit a post, Moritz Leitner squandered a one on one when I`d have put my house on him scoring, Oliveira had a shot well saved and Grant Hanley missed the target with a free header from 10 yards. I also remember a last ditch block tackle on Josh Murphy and Nelson lashing horribly wide with a volley.
You can`t say that wasn`t entertaining to watch. Norwich should`ve been at least 2 or 3 nil up at the break, but for their profligacy in front of goal. At half time, I couldn`t see anything other than a City win. The Canaries had controlled the game completely and Bolton were only ever going to be a threat from a set piece, I was a fairly happy man at that point.
The second half though was like night to the first half`s day. It was a return to the frustrating passing but no end product we`ve seen time and again this season. We barely made any chances in that second half and as I got colder and colder, there was nothing on the pitch in front of me to light a fire and lift my spirits.
There was a call on Canary Call as I sat in traffic on the way home that made me shake my head. I won`t use his name but this chap said he decided to walk his dog rather than go to watch Norwich on Saturday afternoon – fair enough. He added that he couldn`t see where any change was coming from and if he wanted to watch German football, “I`d jump on a plane and go to watch the Budesliga.”
Rob Butler, to his credit, pulled him up and pointed out how good German football is and that they are the reigning World Champions. Having watched the first half, and I know this is a bit optimistic for some of you, I can see where the change is coming from. The only real issue now is scoring goals and I accept that is a fundamental part to winning football matches.
Some fans have said we simply don`t have the players to play like a Pep Guardiola side, like Barca or his current Manchester City team. The first half against Bolton was proof that we do have the players to play that way.
I thought that Moritz Leitner was sensational yesterday, putting his glaring miss with just the keeper to beat aside.
He always wants the ball and is so calm and collected on it. He never panics and once he`s played a pass, he moves quickly to another position, wanting it back. He`s got a great engine on him and is, to quote Rob Butler, “a Rolls Royce of a player.”
As Rolls Royce are German owned, I think I can get away with that.
He makes the team tick and in my opinion, the club must do everything they can to persuade player and his current club, Augsburg, to get him to join Norwich in the summer. He should be our number one target.
I`m sure some will read that and shout “No, we need a striker” and Yes, we do but strikers rarely make chances for themselves, they are dependent on chances being created for them by their teammates. Just ask Salah, Firmino and Mane about that.
Goal scoring and chance creation go hand in hand and they should, if they`re not already, be at the top of Daniel Farke`s “Things to do” list.
Getting back to the second half though, the frustration was evident on the pitch, around me and in the home technical area, where our own Head Coach lost his cool for the first team publically.
If Norwich can replicate that first half on a regular basis then we really will be a force to be reckoned with in this league.