Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 Premier League draw against Bournemouth
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Bournemouth verdict after the Canaries’ spirited 0-0 Premier League draw.
1. When will it end?
The story should be about a resolute statement of intent from Daniel Farke's squad. A first away point of the Premier League season. A first clean sheet home or away to answer some of those growing questions about City's brittleness.
But while all the above stands, the sight of Ben Godfrey signalling to the bench early in the second half in considerable pain, after playing a simple short pass, must have quickened Farke's pulse.
Godfrey was forced to hobble off. Whether it is related to the recent hernia operation will become clear quickly enough.
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Farke sounded cautiously optimistic in the immediate aftermath he would be back in contention for Manchester United's visit.
But Alex Tettey was forced to plug the gap against the Cherries, leaving Norwich's central midfield shorn of a combative presence and its central defence populated by essentially two holding midfielders.
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But there was no white flag. Norwich pushed forward and created more than enough to earn what would have been a remarkable win in the circumstances.
2. Precious commodity
Ibrahim Amadou must wonder what he has let himself in for. A shot at the Premier League was a career goal to tick off the bucket list for the powerhouse. But Amadou would not have envisaged his versatility would have been required in such prolonged fashion.
There will be no option to push into a more familiar midfield role any time soon with Christoph Zimmermann, Timm Klose and Grant Hanley all out for two months (plus) and Godfrey departing at the Vitality Stadium in considerable pain.
Amadou has been heavily punished in previous games for lapses that highlight his defensive discomfort. There was one move to the ball in the first half that afforded Dominic Solanke a chance to test Tim Krul, but either side of that poor decision Amadou was an imperious presence as the balls were clipped in from wide areas. He will be needed more than ever you suspect in the games ahead.
3. Cool Krul
Amadou was spared further pain by Krul's smothering block to foil Solanke. There was a more routine stop from Arnault Danjuma in the second half but it was his soothing presence, his guidance to a makeshift backline and his commanding air in a fraught final quarter that underlined what an vital presence the Dutchman has become in this Norwich set-up.
He was one of the few with genuine Premier League experience before a ball was kicked at Anfield. Norwich's goals against tally may have been a cause for alarm but until his injury at Burnley Krul had been one of the few to continue where he left off in the Championship.
With players falling around him, Krul needs to stay fit and healthy to improve City's survival prospects.
4. Action man Onel
Such was Onel Hernandez's powers of recovery the Cuban was included two to three weeks ahead of schedule after recovering from his freak knee injury.
But with Norwich suffering another defensive injury blow early in the second half, Hernandez must have feared his chances of a late cameo had passed him by.
Farke opted to twist rather than stick. Norwich continued to probe and prod on the counter and Hernandez offered more than enough evidence in his second half salvo to show his pace and thrust will prove invaluable in the months ahead.
One surge down the left brought a chance for Tom Trybull that bent narrowly wide. There was another dart along the byline and a pick for Teemu Pukki when Kenny McLean was arguably better placed for a cut back.
But Hernandez can be forgiven for that. He is a welcome sight back in green and yellow.
5. Sorry Stiepermann
The big news prior to kick-off was Marco Stiepermann's demotion to the bench. Buoyed by more fit and available options Farke opted to give the attacking midfielder a breather.
There were words of encouragement prior to the international break regarding his tactical discipline but also a cautionary note about needing to add the productivity that lit up Norwich's Championship promotion season.
Farke clearly felt the time had come to make a change. With Patrick Roberts another who clearly needs to impress the head coach - given he was left behind in Norfolk for a goalscoring development outing at Colney on Friday - Farke has shown his pragmatic side plenty of times in the past.
With the treatment room clearing those entrusted to perform need to step up to the plate. The ball is now in Marco's court.