Connor Southwell’s verdict: Forget talk about a great escape... City need to find their way again

PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:12 24 February 2020

Raul Jimenez makes sure of victory with Wolves' third on a disappointing day for the Canaries. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Raul Jimenez makes sure of victory with Wolves' third on a disappointing day for the Canaries. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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The agonising reality with this group of Norwich City footballers is that they simply don’t possess the required tools to establish themselves in the Premier League.

Norwich City's wall does the job against Wolves 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City's wall does the job against Wolves Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

That analysis may seem brutal, but for every statistic that works in City's favour, another scoreline seems to go against them.

Knitting the two together has been a problem that has plagued Daniel Farke's men since that extraordinary night in September.

The reality shows that the situation at the foot of the table hasn't drastically altered but the damage to the confidence and goal difference have placed yet more roadblocks in City's path.

Any talk of an escapology act needs to be placed firmly on the back burner, City's next task needs to be restoring the vibrant, attacking football that supporters fell in love with throughout that title-winning Championship campaign.

Daniel Farke had plenty to ponder in Norwich City's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Wolves Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdDaniel Farke had plenty to ponder in Norwich City's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Wolves Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

At present, this current offering is bland, devoid of creativity and lacking the spark that saw City defy the odds in the Championship.

They lack penetration in their attacking passages, in possession, they are hesitant and ponderous. This is a radical departure from the side who lit up English football with their aesthetically pleasing style.

Wolves were merely left to camp and wait for a City player to turn the ball over in possession.

Laboured in transition, the hosts took full advantage. Often City's performances have contained suitable straws to grasp, but this was the closest to white flag waving since City's no-show at Old Trafford in January.

Action from the match between Norwich and Wolves.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdAction from the match between Norwich and Wolves. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

At the final whistle, numerous City operators dropped to their knees, fully conscious of the opportunity they'd squandered.

Despite conspiracy theories that tend to race around in a season that culminates with relegation, these City players don't lack effort. They are bereft of confidence and short of quality.

As a supporter, you cannot enjoy the positive moments without acknowledging the negative ones. On the one hand, City's efforts this season do evoke pride.

In a footballing bubble consuming itself in transfer fees and hysteria over finances, City opt to buck the trend and seek to break convention.

How do Norwich City find their footing in the Premier League again? 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdHow do Norwich City find their footing in the Premier League again? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Being proud of that fact doesn't prevent the agonising disappointment that they find themselves on the cusp of being a regular diner at the top table of English football.

By the same token, supporters are left looking enviously up at Sheffield United whilst boastfully watching the exploits of Ipswich Town.

Whilst numerous performances have displayed that, regardless of league position, the Canaries are heading in the right direction, this effort was an occasion where they did lack competition and were comfortably second-best.

Wolves were rampant on the counter-attack. They breezed past City despite question-marks surrounding their levels of fitness after their Europa League fixture on Thursday.

City were too ponderous in possession. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdCity were too ponderous in possession. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez were withdrawn before the 70th minute, their work had been done and the recovery could continue.

For City, the hurt continues. Without Emi Buendia, they lack the penetration required to break through resilient defensive shapes.

Buendia's absence remains a mystery considering his metrics. He may not have provided the goals that some will have desired but his technical proficiency adds a dimension to City's attacking phases that they are in desperate need of.

Lukas Rupp is dependable and offers City a greater level of security, but in terms of creativity, Buendia offers plenty more.

Max Aarons rues a missed chance in the second half. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdMax Aarons rues a missed chance in the second half. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

That's not a dismissal of Rupp's qualities but an acknowledgment of the need to risk given the desperate nature of the situation.

If Buendia is fit, then he needs to start games. Jota's individual quality decided this fixture in the same way City need the Argentine's quality to gain points.

By the same token, City need to rediscover their fearless nature. A change of formation is required to freshen up their tired-looking 4-2-3-1. Mario Vrancic needs to be restored in City's midfield.

This game served as a microcosm for City's season. There were decent passages prior to and following the goals but ultimately it boiled down to quality.

Kenny McLean was bright for the opening 10 minutes before fading. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdKenny McLean was bright for the opening 10 minutes before fading. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

One team is searching for Champions League qualification. The other is marching back to the Championship.

Now, it's about restoring their identity to ensure they don't go down with a whimper.

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