Michael Bailey: Flying Farke, Chambers on his backside - Six things we learned from City's latest derby joy
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It's happened again - MICHAEL BAILEY digs out six more things learned from derby success, as Norwich City beat Ipswich Town once more.
1 – Farke played a blinder
Hindsight can cloud reflections of the pre-match picture that was originally painted – but not this time. This time, it always felt like Daniel Farke got it.
From stirring up some passion to having a nibble at Ipswich’s lack of recent Premier League action – all with his customary smile.
The City head coach then saw his side put in an energetic derby effort that’s success came from its pragmatism. Simple things like the timing of James Husband’s introduction. Like the fact City aren’t getting lost in ideals – instead just focusing on how to win the football match they’re surrounded by.
Some had worried the intricacies of the East Anglian derby might have been lost on numerous German imports – including the head coach.
What was proven in the end was that they know how a derby works and they know how it. And boy does it strengthen their position from here.
2 – Captain Ivo is a natural
It was one of the more subtle moments of Norwich City’s derby afternoon, but it still stood out.
At one of numerous home set pieces, there was Ivo Pinto – shoving his fellow defenders around, pointing to where they should be and having a word in their ear about what was happening.
City’s improved organisation and compact shape in defence are clear in open play. This was a sign of just what is happening in the more rudimental aspects of the game.
In all honesty it still feels a little alien referring to Pinto as City captain, yet his influence in the role continues to grow – assisted by others rising to the leadership gauntlet. A word here for Harrison Reed, whose display alongside Tom Trybull at Portman Road was relentless and a point-prover to my concerns against Hull.
As for Pinto, with each passing undefeated game his own unbeaten record as captain becomes far less of a happy coincidence.
3 – It’s one Hool of a run, Wes
Norwich City’s unbeaten derby run isn’t bad – but Wes Hoolahan’s is better.
It’s now 10 derbies of involvement and 10 derbies unbeaten for the Irish wizard, in his decade with the club; 10 years painting the East Anglian pitchwar yellow and green.
And it was another derby with Hoolahan’s influence stamped all over it. His vision to sweep the ball across the pitch for Yanic Wildschut, set in motion the move that led to James Maddison’s winning goal.
Hoolahan’s place in City history is already assured of course. The magic moments are numerous – with one more added on Sunday. And yet at 35 years old, he continues to be named by fans and pundits as a key dangerman in all fixtures like Sunday – and continues to produce such magic moments. That says it all.
It remains a joy to watch Hoolahan in yellow and green, while his own unbeaten record is equally the stuff of City legend.
4 – A repeat that’s far from Mad
I wasn’t sure whether to bring up James Maddison again in these six things – but the young man is leaving me very little choice but to include him.
I don’t want to repeat myself but then, maybe we’re still learning about what the midfielder is really capable of achieving.
It’s rapidly becoming clear Maddison is a man for the big occasion. From his injury-time free-kick winner over Rangers for Aberdeen, to important goals for City that now include a derby clincher – all on live TV – Maddison is exuding the traits of a big-game player who is young enough and good enough.
The Coventry youth product is making a name for himself at Norwich, and that is exactly how it should be. Likewise the January vultures will circle.
City’s own rise could be what keeps him here, until the summer at least. Meanwhile Maddison’s job remains to keep his feet on the floor and carry on doing what he’s doing.
5 – I’d blame Luke, if I was Mick
You have to feel for Luke Chambers. In all the pre-match squabbles, he was the one who went below the belt – and all he got for it was being left on his backside, tasting another derby defeat as Ipswich Town captain. His words probably made little difference – but still.
Most said it before kick-off. This was Town’s best chance in years to topple their Norfolk neighbours.
They had the chances too – only for David MGoldrick to once again undermine his own reputation by missing a golden chance against City.
From here, all bets are off. Ipswich look no better than they have in recent struggles. Mick McCarthy is out of contract come the summer – yet how many other bosses could turn such paltry investment into regular Championship survival?
The return fixture at Carrow Road arrives in February. It will be interesting to see where the two sides sit in the table when it arrives.
6 – The perfect time for a distraction
It’s rare you get a free hit in football – but Tuesday night City get just that at the Emirates: Carabao Cup last 16 at Arsenal, with nothing expected and nothing much to lose.
That said, the way things are going some Norwich fans may wonder if City could catch their hosts cold.
The realism comes with the squads where City will have to deal with yet more injuries, while Arsenal can take some of their big guns out of the firing line – and replace them with some more big guns.
Championship visits from promotion-hopefuls Derby and impressive leaders Wolves occur within a week of City’s London jaunt. Plenty of past Carrow Road bosses would bring out the kids on Tuesday and be done with it.
If Farke does that, it will be out of keeping with his previous three League Cup teams. And at the moment, the last thing Farke seems likely to do is alter the reputation he’s building.