Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 Championship deadlock against Hull City
PUBLISHED: 13:35 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 28 November 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the KCOM Stadium
1. All weather City
Emi Buendia’s face said it all prior to the game. The Argentine-bred, Spanish import could not quite believe what he was seeing as he took his pre-match stroll wearing a snood to protect himself from the howling gale and the driving rain sweeping across Humberside.
This was football, but not perhaps as he knows it. Throw in a heavy, saturated pitch that appeared to hinder the Canaries’ passing motions and a fully-committed Hull City side and, make no mistake, Daniel Farke’s men were dealt a tough hand.
Farke noted afterwards for young talents like Buendia the night may have resembled a culture shock.
Yes, there was frustration Norwich failed to convert the best chances on the evening but there might be longer lasting benefits beyond a hard-fought point, compared to another goal-laden romp.
To resist in the manner they did and earn a point that kept them top was another step in the right direction. They must realise they will require that character trait many times over the rest of the campaign.
2. Firing blanks
This was only the second time since August Norwich had failed to trouble the scorers. That remarkable barrage of four goals per game was going to end sooner rather than later.
Much like strikers are told to keep getting in the penalty box when they hit a dry spell, there is no need to dwell on a rare Humberside stalemate. Norwich carved out 19 attempts on goal; the best of which was the unmarked Tom Trybull’s headed miss from barely eight yards out.
David Marshall rather fortuitously denied the same player in the first half, when his angled effort squirmed through the keeper’s hands but bounced the wrong side of the far post for Farke’s side.
Look at the spread of goalscorers in the recent surge and quite clearly there is not an over-reliance on Teemu Pukki.
That should be another source of comfort. As Farke himself noted afterwards, the focus for him was less on what he already knows - when it comes to firepower at the top end of the pitch - and rather another prized clean sheet at the other end, which suggested in tight games down the stretch Norwich can keep the back door shut.
3. Get used to it
For those not part of the Norwich City bubble it was interesting to observe the tone of Hull manager Nigel Adkins’ post-match media debrief.
The Tigers’ press pack queued up to bowl any number of questions at Adkins which effectively centred around the huge kudos of a result against Norwich City.
There was references to the Canaries’ table topping status, the success of the hosts’ defence in blunting the visitors’ attacking arsenal, and a nod to the evenness of the Championship that lowly Hull could hold the league’s in form side. To sit and listen was to understand how Norwich’s improvement is being measured and perceived outside of their Norfolk powerbase.
It also underlined this is likely to be it from hereon in if Norwich refuse to go quietly back into the shadows. Opponents will automatically raise their game simply because the Canaries will be viewed as a prized scalp.
4. Tough on Tom
It was unfortunate Trybull was the central character in what Farke labelled a ‘golden chance’ after the interval.
This was a big audition for the central midfielder, who has found league starts elusive due to the assured pairing of Alex Tettey and Moritz Leitner.
A calf problem for his compatriot opened the door for Trybull to make another compelling case for inclusion.
The German was excellent alongside Mario Vrancic at Bournemouth in the recent League Cup defeat. But in the context of a difficult game in testing conditions, this was a missed opportunity.
Trybull was unable to exert the same control of the overall tempo and flow that Leitner routinely produces, as he knits Norwich’s passing together from back to front.
In Trybull’s defence, it is asking a lot to sit on the sidelines for a prolonged period and then try to move centre stage so seamlessly. Should Leitner not be fit for Rotherham’s visit it will be an interesting selection call for Farke.
5. Quiz question
Which team out of Norwich and Rotherham United have the longest unbeaten record, ahead of Saturday’s Carrow Road tussle? Easy, it has to be Farke’s table toppers and promotion hopefuls. Not a bit of it. Paul Warne’s Millers are on an identical seven-match unbeaten league run, which includes Middlesbrough, Swansea and Sheffield United.
The boyhood Norwich City fan is doing a remarkable job of defying the odds with last season’s League One play-off winners. Warne’s budget is by some distance the smallest in the second tier.
Should he guide Rotherham to safety it will be every bit as noteworthy as any other managerial achievement in the Football League this season.
For that reason alone, Rotherham deserve the utmost respect from Norwich this weekend on and off the park. Warne will surely put any family sentiment to one side on Saturday for 90 minutes.
Norwich fans should give one of their own the ovation he merits before the game. Then set about doing the same, in the pursuit of getting back to winning ways.