Date: 31st July 2018 at 7:47am
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As ever, I’m starting to get a little nervous ahead of the big kick-off on Saturday afternoon. I’m always nervous for the first game of the season, always have been and guess I always will be, but this year I’m especially nervous.

A lot of that, I think, has to do with how Daniel Farke had his team playing last season and I’m concerned that it will carry on without any real change this season.

The possession-based game is how he wants to play and if you read VN, then you’ll know that I too am a fan of this style of football, BUT there needs to be a cutting-edge, an incisive thrust that ultimately ends up with the ball in the opposition’s net.

That didn’t happen enough last year and several bits of Farke’s formula concern me other than just scoring.

Of course, scoring goals is vital to the success of any team and last season, City had the third highest stat for shots at goal. However, we were nowhere near the top three for shots actually on target.

Perhaps that was down to Nelson Oliveira and his shoot from anywhere and any distance policy. He tried so many times to score from ridiculous angles and positions, as well as when others were better placed, that I can’t help but think that Rhodes and Pukki will be better equipped to score those goals.

Nelson is now so far down the pecking order that a move away is the only solution for both player and club, although no-one seems to be ready to offer £12m for him this summer, funny that.

My biggest concerns are perhaps around the formation Farke will play on Saturday. I reckon he’s going to go 4-1-4-1 and that holding defensive midfielder needs to be the main man to link the play and win the ball, providing an insurance policy for the back four.

I don’t think Tom Trybull is the man to play that role on his own. In a 4-2-3-1 he’s shown that he’s very capable alongside an enforcer like Alex Tettey but on his own? He worries me.

If I were Farke, I would play either Ben Godfrey or more likely, Louis Thompson, there as the sole holding midfielder. Thompson has been a revelation in pre-season and looked like the real deal, which is no big surprise to me.

Louis has always been good, whenever I’ve seen him, although his Norwich career has been cruelly held back by injury for so long. Having him back is genuinely like having a new signing. He can stick his foot in and he’s a decent passer too.

Super Tommy Trybull is also an excellent passer of the ball and I like him a lot but defensively, I don’t think he’s quite as nails as Louis. Maybe I’m doing him a disservice but Charlton mobbed him on Saturday and he was overrun at times. That could be the biggest problem with the 4-1-4-1 but maybe you just need the right player there. Round pegs and all that.

Mo Leitner doesn’t sound like he’s done enough in pre-season and that worries me as well.

His ability is not in question. He has the sort of natural game that has probably made his path to professional football a fairly smooth one. I’m only saying that because I’ve always been envious of those sort of players that I’ve met in pub teams, never mind at the sort of rarified level these top pros inhabit.

Some players have to really work at being a good footballer and some just have “it”. For every Wes Hoolahan who has incredible natural skill, there are a hundred Bradley Johnsons, who have really had to work hard to achieve their dream.

Mo has seen the Championship at first hand and should be used to what is required and there shouldn’t be any surprises for him. So much so, he was more than happy to join our Championship club and leave the Bundesliga.

Having all the ability in the world won’t help you though if you don’t work hard. This league is relentless and will chew up anybody who doesn’t work their socks off. Daniel Farke is highly likely to regularly play Mo and make him the heartbeat of the side, the metronome keeping time in the middle. Mo, you’re going to need to be on it, you know that, don’t you?

I watched a very interesting little video from the EDP’s Michael Bailey yesterday in which he provides his own starting XI for Birmingham and the XI that he thinks Daniel Farke will pick.

It’s well worth a watch and Michael makes some excellent points. I prefer his 3-4-3 to the 4-1-4-1 but I wouldn’t play James Husband at left back. With Jamal Lewis not fully fit, I’d put Marco Stiepermann there because Husband has never really shown that he’s up to the job and the fact that he was kept out of the side by a left-footed central midfielder for long periods last season spoke volumes.

Don’t forget that Marco also had to adjust to a new country and all the upheaval that goes with it, as well. I’ve not seen Max Arrons play this summer but might even use him there , a right footed defender, if Lewis isn’t available.

Personally, I think I’d go for a 5-3-2 formation and as Saturday approaches, I’ll give you my starting line up, if I was in charge.

Am I worrying about nothing?

I’d love to get a sense of what the rest of you are thinking, so leave a comment.


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10 Replies to “Nervous For the New Season? I’m Worried Norwich Won’t Change”

  • I dont see how you can say you like his style of play and then throw in there needs to be an exciting cutting edge. That isn’t his style. That’s a different style altogether so you can’t like Farke’s.

    I have a feeling we will do ok in the first couple of games and it will soon slip back and Norwich fans will finally realise we have been sold another duff cheap experiment to keep the smiffs in power for a little longer. They are the footballing board equivalent of the the EU. Stripping a club of its decent players instead of making the most of parachute payments has not worked for any club yet, put it that way.

    All these people saying absolutely moronic things like they are worried Webber will be poached by a bigger club…he has literally achieved nothing at this point in time apart from totally stripping a club back. Lets see what happens poeplr before making such moronic statements.

    Norwich fans have become such a joke it hurts.

    • This has to be the most ridiculous comment I’ve read from a Norwich fan in ages! Do you realise it’s not Webber’s choice to strip the club back? Do you understand how finances work at a football club like ours? Do you know what parachute payments are? Or are you an Ipswich fan on the wind up?

    • You are entitled to your opinion I totally disagree with you. Considering our now sound financial situation and the incoming talent we have signed. you must have been Rip van Winkle over the off season. OTBC

  • My concern is that we will be bullied by teams who saw us play last season. Teams seem to set up against us, stay disciplined and get the result. We also took a while to settle each game, a ‘lets play steady for 15 minutes’ approach and see what happens. Oh for a season where we hit the ground running, score early and put the other team under pressure. I am a little worried too.

  • Very good article Tuckster.
    To answer your question. Yes I am nervous about the new season.
    The squad and formations have been covered in depth over past few weeks so I will try to list the reasons why I am nervous.
    * The owners are not desperate for promotion and the entire club is now set out to finish
    mid table in the championship for a considerable time.
    In football, there is no standing still so it is likely we will go in a downwards direction.
    * There are probably up to 10 clubs who have better squads than us.
    * Even with less money and talented players it is possible to do very well in this league but an inspirational
    manager is required to man manage the players, select best team / tactics and use subs wisely.
    We do not have a manger who does any of those things.
    * DF is very likely to continue with the same tactics. He did not change over 9 months last season,
    has not changed in pre season and first 2 games will let us all see if he will actually change it now.
    * Maddison and Murphy have gone and been replaced by several average players, of which any
    could start games. There appears to not be automatic pick for midfield.
    * Last season saw a terrible goal shortage. It is difficult to see where Maddison’s goals will be replaced
    and there is a possibility of actually scoring less this season.
    If he plays Rhodes and Pukki up front together and 2 wide men to actually feed them, there is hope
    but if the dreaded 4 1 4 1 continues there is not a striker at club who can successfully play the lone
    striker role.
    * DF has brought in some decent individuals ( for the low budget ) but there does not appear to be a
    plan for a team. Its either all passing and no strength or defensive with no pace to break.

    I will be on holiday for first 2 games and subsequently only have friends reports and media coverage
    but maybe DF will hit upon a combination of team selection, tactics and a better type of football
    and we will do better than I expect.
    After all, if all clubs decide to play possession type football we could end up with Monty Python’s Philosopher Cup matches every week : )

  • RJ, to answer your question – I like the possession based style of football as used by Pep Guardiola at Barca and Man City. The principle is the same as Farke is trying to play but Farke’s build up is too slow. Barca or Man City under Pep would win the ball by hunting quickly in packs and then having won possession, keep the ball, stretch the opposition and then change gear and make an opening to score. The last part about stretching and creating an opening is what he can’t seem to facilitate.
    As ever, DG, you make some good points and the competition in the Championship has hardly ever been greater than I expect it to be this season.
    I too will miss the first two league games through being on holiday, so won’t actually see it with my own eyes until Preston come to town, sorry the CITY. I really hope the change of gear thing will happen but I’m not holding my breath…

  • Playing the same way as last season will only end up one way…….mid table.If things start off badly then I expect Farke to have a huge rethink on his system and tactics,if not then Webber must act

  • wasn’t it the terrible 4-1-4-1 against Millwall and Villa – worked out well. DF seems to think we have the players now to work that system but in the preseason games when he used it we struggled.

  • Tuckster, like you I’m nervous for this season, which imo defines whether DF is indeed the man for the job or not. It could be argued that DF did not exactly have the type of players for his famed (or notorious) possession type of Football as the link up play in the final 3rd is lacking sorely. In this transfer window, DF got many technical type of midfield players and the striking department is strengthened considerably with Pukki and Rhodes. Now is the time to deliver. Let’s see if the link up play is better and the side able to stretch the opposition and create chances and score. On a side note, the management has done excellently in this window given the financial constraints and few would argue that the transfer dealings are no good.

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