Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 4-0 Premier League hammering at Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 00:49 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 00:51 02 July 2020
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Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Arsenal verdict after the Canaries’ 4-0 Premier League defeat.
1. Oh no. Not Timmy Krul
You would have to be very creative to construct an argument for an alternative player-of-the-year to the experienced Dutchman. Krul has been over-worked and manfully resilient despite a season which looks destined for Premier League relegation.
Lest we forget the small matter of his FA Cup heroics, which continued against Manchester United in a losing effort at the weekend.
But his calamitous delay in possession gifted one of the best strikers in the world, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, arguably one of the easiest goals of his illustrious career.
It was a terrible concession at a period when City looked to be establishing a foothold. Albeit Arsenal were firmly dictating terms.
Krul was not alone in defensive abdication. Quite what Josip Drmic was doing from his own throw in only he knows. Or the sloppy collective work in failing to clear a corner that ended with Cedric Soares thumping a fourth.
Krul has built up enough reserves of credit to be excused his aberration. The same perhaps cannot be said of the rest of his team mates.
2. Take a bow, Mr Tettey
Given the number of goals shipped you might be forgiven for thinking a makeshift centre back was likely to be the cause of some underlying vulnerability. In truth, City’s experienced Norwegian looked reasonably comfortable.
His ability to read the game meant he was rarely out of position or isolated against the likes of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
The same could not be said of his younger defensive colleagues.
Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons both endured a difficult first period, with the Gunners raiding with width and overloads.
They needed more support in truth. Ben Godfrey smacked a long range shot against a post but in racing out his own box in an attempt to deal with Aubameyang for Arsenal’s second he merely allowed Granit Xhaka to profit from the vacant space.
Tettey is a priceless commodity for his combative work in a holding midfield role. But he let no-one down at the back. The concern is he remains such an influential figure within this squad. Others need to emerge over the coming seasons.
3. Statistical quirk?
Farke himself alluded to the fact prior to this game he did not expect teams at the wrong end to harvest a huge amount of points in this strange, soulless return of Premier League football.
His logic ran along the lines that the better teams with more quality could handle the surreal backdrop, the volume of games and the relative lack of preparation. Whereas those scrapping at the bottom really need the emotion and the raucous support of their fans to bridge the divide.
But the fact that none of the bottom five have won since the restart in the top flight – setting aside West Ham’s later kick-off against Chelsea on Wednesday – might add a degree of credibility to Farke’s theory.
That does not excuse how poor City have been in defensive phases since resuming against Southampton.
But it does add fuel again to the belief that a jumping, atmospheric Carrow Road might have tipped the balance in the winnable games they had left.
4. Changing of the guard
Adam Idah made his presence felt within a minute of his half-time introduction. There was plenty of intent in his low, rasping shot grasped by Emiliano Martinez. It did not signal anything approaching an improbable Norwich comeback.
What it did show, however, was a young man itching for his chance and betraying no sense he does not belong in this company.
Idah has looked vibrant in a series of little cameos since the resumption. This was his longest stint of Premier League action in recent times.
He arguably deserves a shot at a leading role from here. Farke will inevitably talk up the slim chances of staying in the relegation race. But this increasingly appears a look ahead to next season. City have looked toothless since the turn of the year - and Teemu Pukki’s downturn. Drmic hardly looks the answer.
Idah is a player with his career ahead of him. He has shown already he can score in the first team. Plenty of Norwich fans would not be averse to seeing him earn an extended run over what remains of this wretched league campaign.
5. So long Ondrej
By the same token, it would appear the Hertha Berlin loanee is being eased out of the picture. Duda came with a huge reputation but had to sit and watch as Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann completed Norwich’s allotted five substitutions at the Emirates.
Duda had plenty of opportunities to stamp his authority prior to the lockdown. Farke framed it as a gamble when they brought him in in January. Not in the financial but the footballing sense. But the book appears to have closed. Norwich need to move on and in all probability that means ramping up planning for the next campaign.
Duda will not be part of that. He may well revive his career back in the Bundesliga. But there will be few fond memories, one suspects, on either side of the ledger. Credit to him for wanting to stay and not cut short his loan when the opportunity presented itself due to logn hiatus. But it will go down as another plank of City’s recruitment which will righly come under the microscope when the dust settles.