Home form is the next piece of the Championship jigsaw Farke must find to keep his Canaries revolution on track
PUBLISHED: 10:44 29 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 29 October 2017
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Home form is becoming an increasing concern for Norwich City, after a fourth Carrow Road game on the spin without a win brought groans from the Canaries faithful.
Losing 2-1 to Derby on Saturday brought an end to an excellent eight-game unbeaten Championship run which has earned head coach Daniel Farke a great deal of credit and faith among supporters.
However, the frustration was obvious at full-time as another big crowd – an attendance of 26,048 – drifted away without being able to celebrate the progress being made overall by their team.
It will come as little surprise that the last time City went four home games without a win was during the Premier League relegation campaign of 2015-16.
Defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea as well as draws with West Ham and Manchester City made it five Carrow Road disappointments on the bounce back then – six if a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup third round is included – during a disastrous run of 10 league games without a win between January and March of 2016.
The last time in the second tier came during the early months of 2014-15, as Neil Adams struggled to get City moving in the right direction after relegation back to the second tier.
Draws with Bournemouth, Birmingham, Rotherham and Leeds, and a 1-0 loss to Charlton, made for a five-game stretch without success at Carrow Road between August and October of 2014.
What is adding to the frustration now however, is that last season the Canaries had one of the best home records in the division.
Just four defeats all season and a league-high return of 55 goals at home made Carrow Road a fortress, even if the play-offs did prove out of reach. Only runners-up Brighton and play-off finalists Reading picked up more points at their own stadiums.
Whereas so far during the current campaign, the Canaries have picked up nine points from a possible 21, better than just seven of their Championship rivals.
Only Birmingham, Reading and Sunderland (all five) have scored less than City (six) have managed thanks to Timm Klose’s header during the defeat to Derby.
To put that into context, six goals were scored in the first half of April’s 7-1 thumping of Reading, when a fully fit Alex Pritchard and Nelson Oliveira were available.
On the other hand, just five teams have conceded less than the six City have restricted their visitors to. While that is a positive of sorts, it isn’t doing much for the entertainment value on offer.
Last season only Fulham could match the goals on offer in NR1, with the Craven Cottage crowd also witnessing 77 in total, so it’s been something of a case of feast to famine for Canaries fans so far.
Of course there were also Carabao Cup home victories, 3-2 over League Two side Swindon and 4-1 against League One side Charlton, but those were played out in front of a half-full stadium. It is the Championship where it matters.
For all the away day heroics of Farke’s team – superbly winning their last four league games outside of Norfolk – a big chunk of the club’s supporters are not feeling a part of that success with little to celebrate on home turf.
With injuries and the gruelling amount of games largely seen as reasonable mitigation for defeat to an in-form Derby team, Wolves arrive in East Anglia on Tuesday in the same situation, having been beaten on penalties at Manchester City last week.
That also appears to have had a knock-on effect for Nuno Espirito Santo’s team, who lost 2-1 at QPR on Saturday. Can Farke now pull fresh life out of his tired squad to get a very welcome win against a team bolstered by expensive signings and looking on course for a promotion challenge?
If not, it will be the best part of three weeks before home season-ticket holders get a chance to see their team in action, against Barnsley on November 18, followed by more tough games against Preston and Sheffield Wednesday.
It’s another puzzle for Farke to solve, as the relentless nature of the Championship continues to live up to its reputation.