Having lost their 12 game unbeaten run in an unbelievable 3-4 defeat to Derby County, the only thing that matters now is the response for Norwich City.
So far, whenever Norwich have lost this season, they have bounced back with a win in their next game. That needs to happen now at Brentford on New Year’s Day.
Daniel Farke was forced into making changes for this game and without several of his first choice players, this game looked to be heading for a comfortable win.
However, there are still serious defensive issues within the Canary backline and if I’m honest, I think it’s time for a change there and in the midfield.
Christoph Zimmermann had a torrid afternoon after being booked very early on. He could easily have picked up a second later in the first half too when he was embarrassed by Jack Marriott’s pace and the same player just outmuscled him in the game’s defining moment when Marriott scored the winner in the 92nd minute.
Daniel Farke may think differently but I’d bring either Grant Hanley back into the side or put Godfrey there, in place of Zimbo.
I’d also make a switch at fullback.
Ben Godfrey had a good game at left back but he lacks the buccaneering runs of Jamal Lewis, which is only to be expected. Max Aarons can play either side and I’d put him at left fullback for the trip to Brentford.
So much of our attacking game relies on those fullbacks getting forward. It pins the opposition in and they provide crosses, assists and goals too.
Like I say, Godfrey did well but I’m talking about balance here and he’s better in the central areas.
The other player that I think I’d change would be Todd Cantwell. No real slight on Todd here, I just think he looks a little jaded. Not sure if that’s just me, or not?
In the absence of Moritz Leitner, Mario Vrancic has played well pulling the strings but he lacks the control of Leitner alongside Tettey. It’s why that partnership works so well.
Mo doesn’t crash into tackles (all the time) but he always wants the ball and nurtures it like nobody else, perhaps other than Tom Trybull. Leitner is my favourite there, though.
So, this is what I would do for Brentford.
I’d give Todd a rest and put Mario on the left of midfield. The decision would then be who plays alongside Tettey?
That would depend on how Farke wants to play this. Godfrey has played well since getting his chance and coming into the team at the last moment against Bolton. He doesn’t deserve to be dropped.
He can either play at centre back or defensive midfield and our defence need some protection. So, for me, it’s either Tom Trybull or Ben Godfrey who plays alongside Tettey and then it’s either Hanley or Godfrey at centre back, depending on which way Farke wants to go.
He may see it entirely differently though and decide that Zimmermann shouldn’t be dropped and that just a bit more protection is needed in front of the defence. Zimbo has been good more often than not and Farke clearly trusts him. It is, after all, very easy for me to write this sort of stuff on my iPad with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.
I almost forgot. In putting Max Aarons at left fullback, we need someone on the opposite side. We have a few who can play there, like Pinto, Passlack, Marshall and Godfrey, which is in stark contrast to the left fullback position.
Maybe the only position that needs strengthening in January?
For me, it needs to be a player who can run the wing and get forward to help out with attacks. So, that’s one of Pinto, Passlack or Marshall.
Pinto has never been the best assist provider or one-on-one defender either. I’d go with either Passlack or Marshall there, I think.
Like I say, it’s very easy to write this sort of stuff and I don’t profess to be a football coach. These are just my observations as a fan who goes every week and watches more football than is probably healthy.
Anyone agree? Am I way off the line here? Let me know, but as I wrote at the top, it’s all about the response from here. Norwich are still in a fantastic league position, let’s continue to back them with all we’ve got.
Read all about that incredible defeat against Derby County here.