Six points from the opening six games of the new Premier League season is pretty much the target of points per game that Norwich City need to look for if they are to achieve their aim of staying in the top flight.
There have been setbacks along the way and there has also been an extraordinary win over Manchester City, a result that is the upset of the season, so far. Whether any of the other newly promoted sides can achieve something similar, we’ll have to wait and see.
Already, a pattern of sorts is developing for the Canaries, as they look pretty good at home, while perhaps having a soft underbelly away from the comforts of Carrow Road and it’s ferocious flag waving crowd.
That will be something that Daniel Farke will be keen to address as he looks to collect the first points away from our front room when he takes his men to Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The manner in which Newcastle were so ruthlessly put to the sword, coupled with the way that City invited the illustrious Premier League Champions onto them and then replied with devastating counter attacks, show that sticking to his formula will be the way that Farke will continue to play the game.
The two away defeats at West Ham and most recently, Burnley are a cause for concern though as two wily, experienced managers snuffed out the Canaries’ attacking threats and blunted them with their own.
Having played rather limply at West Ham, only to beat Manchester City in the next game gave us all a lot of hope. It was the perfect response to what looked like a typical modern Norwich away performance in the Premier League.
The way that Burnley pressured us though, just a week after the Man City furore, and served up a quick one-two, showed that it isn’t just Daniel Farke who can come up with a game plan to beat an opponent.
Farke had adapted his tactics to beat Manchester City, knowing that his side, so often the protagonists with the ball, would have to spend long periods of the game without it.
Against Burnley though, they started slowly and walked into a perhaps unexpected cauldron of initial high pressing and physicality. They couldn’t cope and wilted in the white hot atmosphere of Turf Moor.
Games like Burnley and Crystal Palace are supposed to be the ones that we can perhaps expect more points out of, aren’t they?
What Sean Dyche’s tactics showed was that he had watched us and he had developed a plan to deal with us and that it worked a treat.
It shouldn’t be overlooked though that Norwich are in the middle of a serious injury crisis, one that has robbed them, albeit hopefully for not much longer, of the attacking threat of Onel Hernandez.
Onel’s incredible pace is going to be a problem for any side in the league and whilst I wouldn’t expect him to start every game, he’s a weapon to come on from the bench when an opponent is tiring.
Burnley couldn’t keep up the intensity of their nullifying forward pressure on Saturday but once they had their two quick goals, they didn’t need to to. They could relax a little and watch us play the ball around in our own half.
Norwich’s ball players came into their own more in the second half but still couldn’t influence the game, despite their lion’s share of the possession.
We’ve seen precious little of Patrick Roberts yet and I’d like to see what he can do. There have been plenty of calls for him and I was as frustrated as anyone that Farke only brought him on in injury time against Burnley.
He looked great in pre-season but as ever, I don’t see him every day like Daniel does. You have to trust him because he clearly knows what he’s doing far more than you or I do. At the moment, I wouldn’t change any of the front four but if it’s not working, like last Saturday, then I’d hope Roberts can get more than four minutes.
City continue to concede goals at a worrying rate and I’m wondering if we will see Grant Hanley return to central defence on Saturday?
With Alex Tettey injured and almost certain to miss the trip, Farke’s midfield options are still limited amid the injury issues. He likes to play with a defensive midfielder as one of his two central players and then have a more talented ball player alongside.
If Hanley came back to partner Ben Godfrey then it would allow Ibrahim Amadou to move into his preferred midfield position. It would then be a decision between Kenny McLean and Moritz Leitner as to who plays alongside him.
Physicality is required at whatever level of football you’re playing at and Amadou can hopefully help with that. As to who his partner will be, well that’s a tough one.
I love the way that Leitner plays the game and to have to come on so early in the game at Turf Moor, after being out with injury, was probably not ideal. Hopefully he’s had no reaction to that.
Kenny McLean is more of an attacking player and he is more of a goal threat than Mo, so who knows? If it was me, I’d go with Leitner.
The Canaries’ -5 goal difference is the second worst in the league, with only Watford’s -14 being worse. The poor old Hornets walked into a devastating 8-0 defeat at the hands of Man City, a defeat that may have had something to do with City pulling the Tiger’s tail. Sorry about that lads.
Crystal Palace away gives Norwich another chance to take some early season away points from an opponent who have plenty of their own strengths and weaknesses but just like Dyche, you can be sure that Roy Hodgson will have his own ideas about how to nullify his old friends’ Norwich City.
And so, the weekly tactical battles between Head Coaches and managers continue.