Norwich were humbled 4-0 by a side that have only just been promoted to the Championship and have spent little in the way of squad improvement when they suffered a fraught 90 minutes at The Den on Saturday afternoon.
Instead of a match report (because let’s be honest who wants to read that?) I’ve decided to put a few thoughts down about what is going on and why.
I think most of us thought that this wouldn’t click overnight. A large number of new players, coupled with a brand new playing style was always a recipe for taking some time to get right but after seeing a third (heavy) defeat in five games I’ll admit to being very worried.
Against Millwall, Norwich were physically found wanting against a side that it was obvious were going to be tough and physically hard. In this league, Norwich need to be strong and at least match their opponents in that respect. If they can do that then their ‘superior’ ball players should be able to make the difference.
That just didn’t happen against The Lions.
The goal that started it all came from a long ball and a flick on from our old mate, Steve Morison. He beat Franke in the air, no surprise, and then Gregory (unmarked) couldn’t miss from six yards.
The next goal, just two minutes later saw absolute chaos and panic in the City defence as Saville stroked home from the edge of the area with Gunn all at sea as he tried to make up for his defence’s errors.
The third goal came as a result of defenders backing off and then the fourth from a corner with an opposition player simply wanting it more than a Norwich one.
Cue chants of ‘We want our money back’ from the travelling City faithful.
Timm Klose should return after the international break – I think that is a given now. Russell Martin was widely booed by sections of the travelling support during the game and as he was replaced on the hour mark. It’s very sad to see and hear this happening but he didn’t help his own cause as he was stood up and backed off for the third goal.
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Russ is an easy target, for many reasons and Farke won’t have enjoyed the treatment his Captain received.
The three new defensive additions, Zimmermann, Franke and Husband have all looked pretty poor since first pulling on the Yellow and Green shirt but there are very few options to replace any of them. Lightweight sums them up with Zimmermann and Franke in particular being built like brick outhouses but seemingly made of straw.
Assuming Klose comes in and Pinto stays at right back, Farke needs to think about which of the new Germans or Russ is best placed to partner him. If he chooses Russ, I think that a lot of fans will literally have a meltdown.
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At left back either Stiepermann or Toffolo should be the answer to take Husband out of the firing line for a bit.
What this fragile defence need more than anything at the moment is some protection from the midfield and Reed struggled to provide that on his own at Millwall. Maddison and Vrancic were lightweight at The Den and for all their technical ability, they need to be more effective defensively.
In Alex Tettey, Norwich have a destructive powerhouse on hand to help out but the question is, will Farke turn to him?
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I get the feeling that he doesn’t like Tettey’s lack of passing ability and I can’t blame him. The lad has two feet shaped like a fifty pence piece but he can be a valuable screen to try to solidify the back four. He will run all day and always puts in a shift and at this time, perhaps a second defensive midfielder is required.
After conceding 12 goals in 5 games, something needs to change and it needs to change quickly.
Another option that Farke might turn to is Tom Trybull, none of us really know what this chap is like yet but he is another option.
Daniel Farke has come to Carrow Road with a philosophy, a way of playing and often, as against Millwall, Sunderland and Villa, it sees Norwich have more than the Lion’s share of possession.
However, what use is having a 70% possession stat if you can’t score the goals most would assume should come with it?
Not to mention stopping the opposition scoring at will on the counter.
Norwich had 70% possession against each of these teams but shipped 11 goals in these three games. I found it interesting that we actually had less possession than QPR but beat them 2-0.
I have it on good authority that Farke instructs the squad to always ‘play the percentages’ and if the chance of making a simple sideways pass to retain the ball is around 90%, then the player should take that pass rather than to ‘risk’ a forward pass with ‘only’ say, a 60% success rate.
I thought that something had definitely changed against QPR but the defeats at Villa and Millwall show that not much has changed at all.
Our Head Coach now has the two week international break to work out what is going wrong and what to do about it. It’s the first crisis of his fledgling City career and after publicly saying that he doesn’t expect Norwich to sign anymore players before Thursday’s deadline, perhaps he and Stuart Webber need to open their eyes to the still bloody awful defence that Norwich City have.