Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-0 League Cup shock at Crawley Town
PUBLISHED: 12:12 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 28 August 2019
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Crawley verdict after the Canaries’ League Cup exit
1. Central curse
Setting aside the embarrassment of a cup exit to lower league opponents, Timm Klose's suspected long term knee injury - followed by Christoph Zimmermann's later departure with a back/hip problem - prolonged what feels like a persistent, pernicious drag on City's quest for continued upward mobility.
Daniel Farke revealed the first Klose diagnosis from his medical staff was 'horrible', before raising the prospect of a season-ending layoff for the Swiss international.
Once the swelling has gone down medical scans in the next 24 hours will confirm whether Farke's initial fears become cold reality.
In this calendar year alone, Klose's first team involvement was seriously hindered by knee and hip problems before the latest sad sight of him hobbling out of the action after 27 minutes. His last tilt at the Premier League was curtailed by another knee ligament setback.
That Norwich campaign ended in relegation - best not to dwell on such a potential parallel at this stage. Klose's experience and composure on the ball would be desirable traits for the Premier League battles ahead.
His long term absence would be sorely felt.
2. Thankful for small mercies
To emphasize the gravity of Klose's latest injury woe, on another night the sight of Zimmermann running off the park and straight down the tunnel might have sparked palpitations.
Farke admitted the German would already have been sat safely in the away dug out long before the hour mark if Klose had not suffered another wretched twist of fate.
Zimmermann emerged as a warrior, a leader, a cornerstone of that Championship title-win. His unbeaten streak upon donning the captain's armband in the second half of the previous promotion campaign testified to his growing influence on this group of players.
Grant Hanley may have profited from his rival's summer surgery, which opened the door and stalled Zimmermann's bid to complete a fairytale rise from regional football in his homeland to the richest stage in club football.
Farke's immediate diagnosis suggested this latest scare is only a minor irritation.
Should Klose be ruled out for an indefinite period then Zimmermann's fitness becomes a huge topic. City deserve a slice of good news in a vulnerable area of the squad.
3. Aaah for Adam
Adam Idah would have dreamt of being involved in a goal on his senior debut for the club. Sadly, it came at the wrong end.
A desperate attempt to block Baz Lubala's swinging low angled shot defending his near post merely distracted and deceived Ralf Fahrmann and sent the ball spinning beyond the stranded keeper.
Idah's best chance saw Michael Luyambula push his second half effort around the post. In truth, given the way this game tilted in favour of Crawley it was a thankless task for long spells. Idah, or 'Midah' as Crawley's official team sheet inaccurately labelled him, was often isolated when Crawley's high tempo, high energy urgings pushed City back.
When Norwich did threaten most of the game was played in front of the Irishman rather than in behind to use his change of gear.
But the first one is now out of the way. Idah appears to have the temperament to go with the talent.
A difficult introduction will do him no harm and underline the leap from development prodigy to first team option is going to be a challenging one. Do that this season and everyone will know his name.
4. Amadou debut offers a shaft of light
Cutting through his dejection, stood on the touchline at the final whistle, Farke's mood lightened when he spoke about Ibrahim Amadou's debut.
In the build up his head coach was honest enough to concede he is yet to decide where the Sevilla loan signing could fit best into his Premier League plans.
In this game he started in central midfield alongside Mario Vrancic and finished it at centre back next to Ben Godfrey, after a fresh double injury blow.
There was enough of a sample from this body of work at Broadfield Stadium to suggest Amadou will bring athleticism and a combative streak that could, in the right environment against the right opponent, offer a perfect blend to the technically gifted operaors at Farke's disposal.
The two league defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea were notable for a porous streak centrally.
Norwich's midfield was too complaint and the defence too exposed to the speed and thrust of both Liverpool and Chelsea's goalscoring power. Farke's next step is to integrate him into his Premier League set-up. It might not be long on the evidence of Amadou's cup debut.
5. Precious cargo
Farke made 11 changes to his starting line up. The result might have gone against Norwich but the head coach may well have discovered far more in a League Cup exit than a walkover.
Rather then perhaps learning something new, it might have confirmed one or two thoughts in Farke's mind. Take the full back areas as one prime example.
This was a big audition for Sam Byram on the right and Philip Heise on the left to really grasp the opportunity and exert some pressure on Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis.
Heise certainly looked to have taken up the challenge in a vibrant opening first quarter that showcased his attacking instincts. But when the tide turned those questions about his defensive nous surfaced and he looked uncomfortable with the pace of Crawley's counters.
Byram on the other flank looks like a player searching for a shot or two of confidence after a career posting at West Ham that simply failed to pay off.
Neither it must be said appear in the same bracket as City's homegrown duo. To watch their deputies go about the task against Crawley was to appreciate how fortunate Norwich is to have the accomplished Aarons and Lewis in the ranks.