Six things you may have missed from City's disheartening defeat to Watford
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After Norwich City's disheartening and frustrating defeat to newly promoted Watford, Connor Southwell takes a look at six things you may have missed at Carrow Road.
1 - Breaking the wrong records
Daniel Farke has snatched the unwanted record of 15 successive defeats in the Premier League.
That has never been matched by another manager in top-flight history. As the head coach completed his lap around Carrow Road post-match, he was greeted by empty seats and a smattering of boos.
These City fans simply won't accept a series of meek performances that are similar to those that ended their top-flight campaign two seasons ago in Project Restart.
City have lost the last 29 games in which they've fallen behind.
The circumstances, year and squad are all different but this feels like the continuation of a theme. As supporters have robustly sought to rebuff their critics, this group of players is doing little to support their defence.
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- 2 Ferguson knew ex-City captain would excel in management
- 3 Paddy Davitt: Should Farke pick up the phone to Neil?
- 4 'Scandalous, a disgrace' - City chief hits backs at haters
- 5 'Don't give up on us now' - Webber plea to City fans
- 6 Buendia sale crucial to £21.5m profit that helped fund City's summer revamp
- 7 Webber defends City's summer recruitment
- 8 City chiefs 'very proud' of financial results amid Covid-19 challenges
- 9 Former City striker takes caretaker charge of Championship side
- 10 Giannoulis committed to City survival scrap
City are showing little to suggest the narrative surrounding their existence in the Premier League can be rewritten this time around.
2 - Silent protest
Much will be made about the booing that greeted the final whistle and those directed at City boss Daniel Farke, but perhaps more telling was the sheer amount of empty seats inside Carrow Road when the final whistle sounded.
Very rarely does the announcement of four minutes of additional time get greeted with silence, but that was the case.
Extract the anger, and the overriding emotion on Saturday was the sense that Norwich fans have seen this all before.
With the baggage of two seasons ago weighing heavy on their shoulders, there is an expectation that City should at least be competitive. That simply isn't the case at present.
That was expressed through those who decided to leave early, who sighed at the familiar sight of City struggling in the Premier League, who are no longer disappointed, but embarrassed.
After a rallying call from City's boss aimed towards those in the stands, the fans would have expected a display befitting of the atmosphere they created.
3 - 50/50?
Only four teams have lost their opening five matches in the Premier League since its creation in 1992.
Those are Southampton in the 98/99 season, Sunderland in the 05/06 campaign, Portsmouth in 09/10 although they were subjected to a nine point penalty due to financial struggles and Crystal Palace in 17/18.
Even that Derby County team had managed to get off the mark by this point, registering a point against Pompey on the opening day.
Of those four sides, Sunderland and Portsmouth finished rock bottom of the table and failed to record 20 points. Both Palace and Southampton managed to survive however, with the Eagles swapping Frank de Boer with Roy Hodgson after four fixtures.
Only that Southampton side of 98/99 have a worst goal difference at this stage of the season than City in Premier League history. The Saints had a -14 record after five matches. The Canaries have only conceded two fewer.
4 - Attacking promise
In an afternoon of few positives, the link up between Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent did present a much needed attacking positive for City.
The American international started on the right side of the attacking trio but drifted centrally and offered a physicality that helped bring the Finnish international into play.
There was one moment in particular when Sargent managed to engineer a chance for himself after Kenny McLean's lofted pass in the opening period that was a window into what the 21-year-old could offer.
Perhaps the most promising moment arrived after the interval when Sargent and Pukki combined inside the box before William Troost-Ekong managed to get his toe to the ball and clear for a corner.
If Farke does opt to alter the Canaries approach, a front two containing Pukki and Sargent could create a City side that contain more of a edge at the top end of the pitch.
5 - Mix and match
Five matches into the season and Norwich have already named their third different partnership in central defence.
All of them have contained captain Grant Hanley but the other position has been shared by Ben Gibson, Andrew Omobamidele and now Ozan Kabak. The loan defender made his first appearance for City during the defeat and was somewhat hit and miss.
After a great burst to break an intense Watford press, he was unable to prevent Emmanuel Dennis from nipping in front of him to head in the opener. He was also stood with his arm in the air after Josh King was played through for Watford's third.
Given he hasn't played a minute of football since his final appearance for Liverpool in April, the Turkish international may have been somewhat undercooked. So far, a change of personnel has not contributed to a more solid display.
There were undoubtedly glimpses of his quality, but whether City's boss will look to reinstate either Omobamidele or Gibson for the trip to Everton next weekend will make for interesting reading.
6 - What next?
With the mood music playing a tune of sorrow and performances doing little to offer any encouragement, Norwich now face a double header away from home in an attempt to get their season going.
Goodison Park was the only Premier League stadium they managed to record a victory in during their torrid campaign two years ago, and Farke will need a repeat of that 2-0 win to ease the pressure on his side.
Following that is a trip to Burnley, who have failed to record a home win in their last 15 matches. That statistic will be seen as many as another Along Come Norwich moment - that is the sort of narrative this squad have to shift.
And then there is the tactical set-up. Does Farke persist with the 4-3-3 or will he revert to the 4-2-3-1 which did offer City with a greater thrust when they fell 2-1 down?
It does feel like they are back to square one and in search of a formula capable of winning points.