What can you say about that?
A shambles, a beating, an absolute drubbing and that’s being polite.
When the Norwich team was announced for the final game of the season at Hillsborough, I actually thought “not bad”, I doubt I would’ve picked it any differently with the players available, if I was in charge.
Sure, the loss of James Maddison after less than ten minutes was a blow but the re-shuffle wasn’t dramatic, with Pinto coming on as Leitner moved forward and Reed covered him in the centre.
What followed though was wholly depressing and disheartening but not unexpected.
Norwich City have a poor record at Hillsborough and I wish the season could’ve ended last week with a win and the emotion of Wes Hoolahan’s last game. City have now finished with a record of 15 wins, 15 draws, 16 defeats and fourteenth position in the table.
It was, to quote Timm Klose, a ”rubbish performance” that, considering it is likely to be the last time some of these players play together, was little short of embarrassing for the Canary Nation.
The score line was a mirror image of last season’s fixture away against the Owls and I really don’t know what to say about it. I know it’s the last game of the season and there was little to play for, other than the Pride of Anglia. That’s something that Farke said was a big motivation for him and his side in the run up to the final game.
Really? It clearly didn’t motivate your players that much, did it?
The future is of course uncertain from here on in. There are loan players whose futures need to be sorted out and there are players that will probably be sold.
It’s highly likely to be the last time we see Angus Gunn and James Maddison in a Norwich shirt, possibly Nelson Oliveira, Ivo Pinto, Timm Klose and Josh Murphy too. Leitner may join and Reed’s future seems linked to his parent club’s league status. One thing is certain though, this sort of performance is completely unacceptable.
Too many times, Norwich have been toothless, in fact make that most of the time, this season. Here they were not only toothless but they were open at the back and picked apart by a Wednesday side that wanted to put on a show and had little opposition in doing just that.
Without Hanley and Tettey, the City spine looked fragile but something more needs to change for next season. Another sequence of games like we’ve seen over this turgid season will not be good enough. Watching Norwich has more often than not been boring and that’s something we’ve not been used to in the last decade.
Gone is the chance creation and goals we saw under Paul Lambert and even Alex Neil, replaced instead by a type of football that could best be described as “death by sideways passing.”
The style isn’t necessarily the problem because “Tika Taka” as devised by Pep Guardiola worked a treat in the Camp Nou but he had Messi, Iniesta and Xavi to work with. Despite all the passing and possession in that side though, they created numerous chances and clinically put them away. Exactly what we have been missing at Norwich.
Just buying a new striker won’t be enough though and realistically I think we need a couple of them, especially if Oliveira is sold to finance reinforcements. There will need to be an emphasis placed on an incisive attacking play and getting the ball into the danger areas. Without Maddison, City may need to play differently and with Murphy (if he stays) and Hernandez they do have players capable of making things happen. The instruction needs to be better.
There seem to be two camps of fans at the moment. Those that blindly have optimism for next season and a promotion challenge and those that don’t think we stand a chance of doing anything other than mid-table mediocrity, or worse.
Usually, I am an optimist but after this Hillsborough drubbing, I am very worried indeed.
With the return of Ben Godfrey, Louis Thompson and the arrival of Kenny McLean for pre-season, City look like they will have plenty of muscle in the middle. If Maddison’s injury is a bad one, the returning Todd Cantwell and hopefully Moritz Leitner can play in the same role as Madders.
The issue is clearly going to be finding a goal scorer. That is Stuart Webber’s biggest problem and he needs to find a solution to it. Oliveira and Dennis Srbeny are not the answer, so who is?
I obviously don’t have names for you but reckon he’ll come from Europe, most likely Germany and Bundesliga II. You’re probably with me in thinking that this is not an inspiring thought. Goal scorers are hugely valuable to clubs that have them and very expensive to buy for those that need them.
That’s Webber’s problem.
Daniel Farke’s problem is that he needs to set his team up to create and take chances regularly. Can he do that? I really don’t know.
Another season of drab, sideways passing with no end product will not do. If, after 15 games next season we are mid-table or worse then pitchforks will be grabbed and torches lit.
The City faithful have been patient, very patient this season but that patience isn’t limitless. I remember Stuart Webber saying he felt that he had signed the best Head Coach in the league, last summer, well Stuart, he didn’t inspire me too much overall and he’s arguably drinking in the last chance saloon now.
I like Farke though, he comes across well and seemed a nice guy when I met him last summer but you need more than being likeable. He has to step it up and he to get this side playing in a much more threatening manner.
After his and Webber’s third transfer window, this summer, there needs to be a huge improvement. If there isn’t, City will bleed more season ticket holders next year and the spiral into nothingness will continue. We want to be excited, we want to win and we’ll support you all the way if we can see signs of that happening but at the moment, it’s not looking good, is it?
One thing is for sure, our team let us down on the final day and after the high of last week’s emotional farewell to Wes Hoolahan, this was a kick in the teeth too far.
My abiding feeling is ”thank god the season is over and I don’t have to go to Carrow Road to watch any more of this depressing football.”
I’m looking forward to a little break, the World Cup and in the meantime, I’m going to be keeping my fingers crossed that something changes over the summer, either attitude in coaching or the arrival of good players.