Paddy Davitt verdict: Bum notes for tuneless City
PUBLISHED: 15:13 06 October 2019 | UPDATED: 22:53 06 October 2019
When it is good under Daniel Farke, Norwich City’s football is a sweet symphony. Against Aston Villa it was just white noise.
A disorientating, disjointed, chaotic offering that got what it deserved and could have been far worse if the Villans had really gone for the jugular.
Michael McGovern marked his full Premier League debut with a stunning double penalty stop after Anwar El Ghazi had earlier fluffed his lines from close range.
Defensively naive, lacking in any muscular punch or creativity across midfield and toothless in forward areas.
If you are going to get beat, do it in style.
Farke has often talked about breeding a culture where 'raising the white flag' is unacceptable.
But for the first time this season in the harsh, unforgiving environment of the Premier League Norwich looked sorry for themselves.
After Wesley profited from Ben Godfrey's error you could visibly see the bedraggled hosts sag; a dawning realisation the scale of this challenge was too big for them, as Villa raided with apparent impunity down the flanks and across midfield.
No-one should dismiss the severity of a chronic injury list which forced Farke to name two development youngsters to thicken out his substitutes' bench, and send a young man out to captain City who badly needs a hernia operation.
Farke labelled it the worst he has known in 11 years of coaching on the eve of battle.
When a training week is spent counting patched up bodies at Colney rather than preparing a tactical plan to outwit Dean Smith's visitors is it any wonder the scale of the implosion was so graphic.
Promotion was not only an opportunity but a challenge for the rump of Norwich's Championship title-winning squad. The same applies to their head coach.
City's swashbuckling, all-out attacking approach is not working in the Premier League.
It leaves them vulnerable on the counter and entices opponents to press high with speed and intensity. Dean Smith was happy to admit that was the gameplan, in the same manner Burnley savaged Norwich at Turf Moor.
In the third minute at Carrow Road McGovern rolled a ball out to Godfrey who in turn slipped a short pass to Moritz Leitner facing his own goal. The German was robbed deep in his own territory, but the final shot flashed beyond McGovern's far post.
Fast forward an hour our so later and Emi Buendia's ridiculous attempt at a drag back, in a similar position to Leitner, ended with the Argentine on the floor and Matt Targett servicing Conor Hourihane to lash a fourth goal beyond McGovern.
Bravery in possession is one thing. Stupidity is another.
Buendia has all the tools and time on his side to become a serious operator at this level. But he also has plenty of growing up to do. The petulant, frustrated flourishes need smoothing out.
Farke's 100th league game in charge will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. In the scale of the loss, in the sense City's lightweight approach was simply unfit for purpose, it genuinely evoked memories of that watershed defeat early in his reign at Millwall.
What happened in the aftermath demonstrated a pragmatic side. Once this injury haze dissipates beyond the international break it needs to come to the fore again.
A fifth defeat in six league games further dents the confidence.
Godfrey was not even a regular starter this time last season. Now he is the senior partner in a creaking backline. It is far too much to ask of him.
Or for Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell to be expected to carry this team forward. They need help as much as Farke needs a clean bill of health.
Beyond circumstances outside his control what must really irk is the catalogue of errors that contributed to the heaviest home defeat of his tenure.
The scrambled thinking, the inaccuracy in the decision-making is so far out of kilter with the smooth, synchronised motions that carried the Canaries to that Championship title. Confidence and momentum are elusive traits.
Farke is right to reiterate staring into the apparent abyss is about as accurate now as thinking they were looking out across the top of the mountain after eclipsing the champions.
There are plenty of games left and plenty of points available to tack in a positive direction. Norwich is better than what they have served up since beating Pep's boys. So much better.
Their fans know it but more importantly Farke and his players know it.
Time to start showing it again.