Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat against Brighton
PUBLISHED: 23:03 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:03 02 November 2019
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Brighton verdict after the Canaries’ 2-0 Premier League defeat
1. And so it goes on
No lack of effort or commitment. There was even a stroke of genuine bad luck when Marco Stiepermann's gorgeous flicked effort had Matt Ryan beaten all ends up but smacked the crossbar in the first half.
Yet in truth once again it was the opposition asking the vast majority of the questions and City scrambling for the answers.
Tim Krul again had to showcase his shot-stopping ability.
But a defence further depleted with Ibrahim Amadou left on the bench and Alex Tettey deployed for a full emergency shift was unable to produce another clean sheet. Brighton's brace was a familiar story. City switched off at a throw in before Leandro Trossard got the near post run on Ben Godfrey.
Then the towering Shane Duffy escaped detection at a home free kick to slide the ball unmarked past Krul from six yards. Seconds after a double change from the Canaries.
That one snippet summed up what is wrong at present. A lack of personal and collective responsibility.
2. Pray for Pukki
The Finnish international's consolation strike at Anfield on the opening night remains Norwich's only Premier League away goal. For all the focus on defensive issues that is now just as troubling.
Pukki's August burst underlined with the right service he is capable of making the step up. But now he is feeding on scraps.
There is a lack of support and the supply line is fractured and lacking in quality.
Increasingly, when City find themselves trapped in the high press, he is having to fight for aerial tussles with the likes of Duffy or Lewis Dunk on this occasion. That is hardly a fair fight. But if the goals continue to dry up for the reigning player-of-the-year there is precious little evidence of any other team mates stepping up.
It has reached the stage where Daniel Farke must be weighing up how to get someone like Josip Drmic into the line up to give him some genuine support. But that is a whole different equation.
3. Baby blues
The perfect script would have been Onel Hernandez or Kenny McLean moving centre stage to celebrate additions to their families.
Hernandez's 'off/on' availability provided an interesting backdrop. In the event, the Cuban not only made the starting line up but ended up playing the full 90 minutes.
That must have tested his levels of endurance and stamina after a late night dash to the Canaries' team hotel.
It was not to be for either player on this occasion.
But Henandez, in particular, offers City some much-needed thrust and an injection of pace. Norwich need a spark from somewhere and right now he looks as likely as any.
4. Alarming numbers
Norwich have now won one in nine in the Premier League. Equally troubling is the huge volume of chances City continue to cough up to Premier League opponents. At times this must have felt like target practice for the Seagulls.
Farke spoke about the dent to self confidence such a run can produce and there is no doubt when Norwich get themselves in promising positions there is a chronic lack of belief. That final touch, pass, shot - which came so easily as last season built to a fantastic crescendo - has deserted this group.
Emi Buendia made a number of prominent darts but at the decisive moment tried one pivot or one twist too many. He was not alone in that regard. The ambition and the willingness to try and force the pace is not lacking.
But that sense a battling point at Bournemouth could act as a catalyst has proved unfounded. Until they can draw a line in the sand it is hard to see things changing.
5. Watford crunch
The Hornets' visit to Carrow Road next week assumes even greater proportions. Prior to kicking off in Saturday night's late affair against Chelsea, Watford had failed to muster a solitary Premier League win.
It is sure to be one to watch through the fingers at times but even at this relatively formative stage, Norwich will know the importance of a positive result.
The pessimism is already starting to engulf. Fail to pick up three points on home soil against a team who must surely be just as brittle right now and what looked a difficult road before a ball was kicked at Liverpool might start to feel nigh on impassable.