Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-0 Championship defeat against Derby
PUBLISHED: 21:53 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 04 October 2020
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Derby verdict after the Canaries’ 1-0 Championship defeat.
1. Born slippy
Daniel Farke is in for a sleepless night. How Norwich contrived to lose this game will infuriate the City head coach. Teemu Pukki’s stumbling missed penalty summed up a miserable afternoon at a wet and wild Carrow Road.
Derby arrived without a win or a clean sheet. They left with both.
David Marshall frustrated his former employers with two outstanding parries in the second half. Wayne Rooney turned back the clock with a sublime match-winning free kick. City were adamant Mario Vrancic was bundled over deep in stoppage time for another set piece.
But as Farke himself said on Friday, if you have to rely on penalty decisions then something is not right. City again had the lion’s share of possession in an echo of the Bournemouth reverse. But that is not enough. Nowhere near it. A lack of cutting edge must be addressed and remedied the other side of the international break.
2. Off the naughty step?
Farke may have wished to draw a line under the soap opera unleashed by his decision to omit both Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell from his plans at Bournemouth.
But that saga will rumble on after Cantwell remained on the outside looking in for the Rams’ visit. It capped a miserable week for the England Under-21 ace, after his absence from the latest Young Lions’ squad.
For Buendia it was a return to the right hand side with Przemyslaw Placheta ruled out through injury.
The Argentine certainly showed plenty of appetite for work in the tight pockets of space afforded by a well-drilled visiting outfit.
There was the trademark frustrated flourishes of the arms and some verbal barbs when team mates failed to spot his runs. Not to mention heading straight down the tunnel when he made way for Jordan Hugill. There was also a high risk pass intercepted by Morgan Whittaker prior to that, which required a flying stop from Tim Krul.
But there was also ample evidence of what Buendia offers this side with his intelligence, his awareness and his technical ability. Farke is right to assert a focused Buendia is as good as anything in the Championship.
If Norwich can navigate what remains of this uncomfortable transfer window by keeping him in the building, it could just rank as one of their best pieces of business in the market. He is that important.
3. Vocal Gibbo
Farke said it was a matter of when, not if, the Burnley loanee came into the starting line up. Ben Godfrey’s pending move has opened up a slot on the left side of the Canaries’ backline.
Gibson will need time, games and minutes after appearing to be frozen out at Turf Moor. But what was immediately apparent was his leadership instincts.
It was the Teessiders’ booming voice that cut through the rain inside the opening seconds; cajoling and organising his backline.
Buendia was routinely called back into a defensive shape when Derby tried to probe.
There were some inevitable signs of rust from the big centre back - and he might have re-considered his attacking burst on reflection in the lead up to Rooney’s free kick after stepping out of defence - but there was a reason why Norwich were so keen and so persistent to bring the 27-year-old to Carrow Road. They see an undoubted talent, touted as one of England’s best prospects in his youth, who has lost his way.
If Farke can do for Gibson what he managed to do for Krul, then it could prove an astute piece of business, and go a long way to softening the blow of losing Godfrey.
4. All the Ps
Farke made another big selection call with Kenny McLean benched and Lukas Rupp deployed alongside Oliver Skipp.
There was a generally positive reaction when that team news dropped an hour before kick off. Skipp looks to have the composure and the combative nature required at this level. Rupp looks a much better fit in that deeper-lying role.
He needed to take emergency action to halt Jason Knight in the act that led to Rooney’s stunning free kick, but that should not over-shadow one of his best outings in a yellow shirt. The German was desperately trying to make up for a sloppy loss of possession higher up the park by his team mates.
Rupp tried to be progressive as well when Norwich popped the ball around in search of holes in that Derby backline heroically marshalled by Curtis Davies.
The result leaves a sour taste but there was enough evidence Skipp and Rupp deserve a longer run the other side of the break to try and forge a key central axis. City need to find a duo who offer both the insurance without the ball and the ability to control games in the Championship.
5. Eyes down, look in
So that’s the football distractions out of the way. Now we can all focus on the real business, which is a frenetic end to a transfer window which has caused untold disruption to City’s bid for upward mobility following relegation.
By the time they re-emerge in the Championship at Rotherham, the window will be closed and Farke will know the resources he has available to build some genuine momentum until the turn of the year.
Then the circus returns to town.
The City head coach was brutally honest on Friday when he said all bets are off at this stage regarding the extent of Norwich’s ambitions this season.
A strong end to the window, which in all probability would mean retaining a Buendia and an Aarons, and Farke can surely set his sights on the top end of the division. Despite the on going bluntness to City’s attacking labours at present.
Should carnage ensure and the ‘crazy’ bids cut through the endless speculation landing on Stuart Webber’s desk prove too tempting to resist, then the degree of difficulty becomes even tougher.