The personnel may have changed but it was the same old story of defensive errors for Norwich as they were well beaten by Sunderland despite overwhelming their opponents with possession of the ball.
A 3-5-2 formation saw the Canaries dominate the first period of the game but fail to register a shot on target until around 20 minutes in when goalkeeper, Jason Steele comfortably gathered a low drive from Martin.
It was the same as the mid-week cup game against Swindon as City dominated the ball and yet struggled to shoot. They also again shunned the wide areas when the likes of Husband and Wildschut were in space. This must be a part of the tactical game and I’m not sure I like it.
The visitors were pinned back for long periods of the game as Norwich played the possession game, preferring a sideways pass to keep the ball rather than chance a ball forward unless it was a certainty. This is the bravest new world, folks.
Not two minutes were on the clock when someone sitting near me in the Upper River End shouted ‘WE’VE COME TO WATCH FOOTBALL NOT PASSING!’
I wonder if they think that in the Nou Camp?
I couldn’t believe my ears but it sums up the knowledge of some supporters – they just don’t know what they are looking at.
Anyway, Jerome had the ball in the net but was ruled offside and Grabban hit the side netting with Sunderland’s only foray forward before he was presented with a simple chance in the 27th minute.
A goal kick was flicked on by Vaughan, who beat Franke in the air, which just shouldn’t have happened and then Zimmermann was unable to do anything about it as Grabban stroked the ball past Gunn.
It could’ve been worse when Honeyman then shot weakly at Gunn after a quick free kick.
At half time, the big screen showed that City had 74% possession in that first half.
The second period started with no changes and a familiar pattern as City stroked the ball around and Sunderland sat 9 or 10 men behind the ball most of the time.
Martin was unable to head Maddison’s corner goalwards as he stretched on 56 minutes and then against the run of play, McGeady scored a pearler from Sunderland’s only corner of the match on 60 minutes.
The ball was cleared from the area to Cattermole on the edge, who slipped the ball to McGeady on his right and the Irishman curled a 20 yarder into the top corner past Gunn. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up.
I would’ve brought on Murphy, Hoolahan and Oliveira at this point but Farke chose only Murphy with another 7 minutes going by before Oliveira replaced Jerome and another 10 after that before Hoolahan arrived.
City immediately pulled one back from a Maddison free kick after Grabban poked the ball into his own net under pressure from Watkins.
Martin hit a post a few minutes later and if that had gone in then it would’ve been game on but 1-3 is how it finished.
Norwich looked much more threatening with Oliveira, Hoolahan and Murphy on the pitch but lessons need to be learned here.
I don’t like the look of us with 3 at the back and Zimmermann and especially Franke need to acclimatise to the Championship very quickly. Franke was badly at fault for the first and third goals but I think most of us realise that it will take a few games for everyone, especially the new German lads to get up to speed with the league.
Both our centre backs have the physical attributes but they need to use them more.
Wildschut played well when going forwards but he’s not so good when defending and hopefully Ivo Pinto will return to the side soon. James Maddison again showed that he’s comfortable in the first team and wasn’t out of his depth.
Up top, Nelson Oliveira continues to be first choice in my mind. I get why he didn’t start here but maybe against QPR he will have reintegrated enough to be given the nod.
I like the possession game we are playing and Sunderland were dominated but for two woeful errors. We just aren’t shooting enough yet and we don’t play the ball wide often enough either.
I don’t expect it to change overnight and hopefully the side will ‘click’ sooner rather than later.