Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship defeat against Sheffield United
PUBLISHED: 23:49 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:49 19 August 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Bramall Lane
Norwich may feel a sense of grievance at succumbing deep in stoppage time. They need to look closer to home. Again, they carved out a number of inviting chances in what was a composed shift for long spells at Bramall Lane.
Moritz Leitner lost his personal duel with Dean Henderson eight yards out as the Blades’ backline appealed in vain for an offside flag.
Then when Jordan Rhodes’ diverted Grant Hanley’s header against a post, Teemu Pukki hooked over the rebound from barely four yards.
Norwich had to ride their luck as the balls rained into their penalty area but all that hard work counted for nothing in the final analysis.
After so much positivity in the manner of the comeback a Birmingham City on the opening day, one point from nine looks anything but a club moving in the right direction. Early days, yes, but it better turn quickly.
2. Corner carnage
The Blades had clearly done their homework from Norwich’s generous concessions the previous week at home to West Brom.
Particularly the Baggies’ third goal, when Alex Tettey was beaten in the air at a far post corner and Jay Rodriguez did the rest.
Here, Chris Wilder’s side opened the scoring in not dissimilar fashion when John Egan rose above Tettey and Rhodes to loop Ollie Norwood’s corner over Tim Krul.
Farke has clearly been irked by Norwich’s vulnerability from set pieces.
But if the word is already out on the Championsip circuit then it is imperative the hard yards are now put in on the training pitches of Colney to eradicate a weakness that will tested on a routine basis.
3. Rhodes. He scores goals
If you want to cling to a positive, Norwich have found a man who knows where the back of the net is.
There was a delicious moment of personal satisfaction for the on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker after he again underlined his predatory instincts to draw Norwich City level. After sweeping home Onel Hernandez’s low cross he stood in the shadow of the imposing home Kop with his arm outstretched and satisfaction spreading across his features.
This is why he came to the Canaries. To get back scoring on a Saturday afternoon.
Rhodes now has two in his first three.
Add a missed penalty, a couple of couple chances at Birmingham and a snap header that clipped a post here and that tally would have climbed even higher.
On the early evidence, it looks an inspired piece of business.
4. Hail Hernandez
On the topic of Onel, that latest assist in the first half at Bramall Lane made it five for the season (statistic c/o Dave Freezer).
Add in the two goals he scored at St Andrew’s and right now the infectious wide player is responding to Daniel Farke’s call to add end product to his undoubted potential.
Hernandez is a bubbly character off the park and that enthusiasm is stamped right through his labours in the early weeks of the season.
In tight games like these, away from home, when City are under the cosh he offers a genuine counter attacking threat.
Hernandez already looks to be emerging as a key figure in Farke’s plans.
5. Next up. PNE and wee Alex in town
That quest for an elusive first Championship win of the season now rolls on to midweek back at the Carra and a familiar figure blocking their path.
Alex Neil earned plenty of plaudits in his return to the game at Preston last season. The men from Deepdale sustained an unlikely play-off push until the closing stages of his debut campaign.
There will be no favours from the Scot when he returns to Norfolk for the season time since leaving at the behest of the City top brass.
Picking out winnable games in the second tier is a fruitless exercise.
Norwich have no time to lick their wounds. Any semblance of feeling sorry for themselves will merely be an invitation you can be sure Neil will grasp.