Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Crystal Palace verdict after the Canaries’ 2-0 Premier League loss
1. Harsh reality
The warm afterglow of that epic Premier League win over Manchester City has gone. Burnley beat up Daniel Farke's boys at Turf Moor and Crystal Palace exposed naivety.
That and a distinct lack of a cutting edge when City got on top prior to the interval.
Farke would arguably have been happy with the majority of what he witnessed against the streetwise Eagles. But again in the defining moments at the highest level they were found wanting.
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Aston Villa head to Carrow Road next in what some, you can be sure, will portray as a pivotal contest even this early in the proceedings.
That is rather premature. What is not in doubt however is City must put an end to a worrying trend since that superb high against the champions and head into the international break in an upbeat mood.
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It is not the performance level that needs to improve, it is the productivity and the sharpness of thought and deed in those decisive moments.
2. Oh Ibrahim
Norwich City's summer signing from Sevilla may have had enough of deputising at centre back. His intercepted pass led to Burnley's second goal at Turf Moor and his lunging attempt to clear the ball at Crystal Palace was an invitation James McArthur gratefully accepted.
Referee Moss had no hesitation pointing to the spot and the video assistant referee (VAR) felt there was nothing to merit overturning the on-pitch decision.
Going to ground in such fashion was fraught with danger, even if the contact was minimal and cunningly amplified by the Palace midfielder. Certainly there was no debate about the emphatic penalty Luka Milivojevic crashed past Ralf Fahrmann.
Amadou's failure to halt Wilfried Zaha in the build up to Andros Townsend sealing the win left plenty to be desired as well.
He was recruited to add ballast to City's midfield work. The sooner City's central defensive injuries ease the quicker we can see him in his natural surroundings.
3. Beyond ridiculous
Farke said prior to the game he would have no issue if Michael McGovern (or Fahrmann) had to step into the breach.
But not even Farke would have wanted to see McGovern striding onto the park and the stricken Fahrmann hobbling off in the aftermath of Milivojevic's penalty.
The German appeared to have aggravated the groin problem that kept him out against Burnley. But with Tim Krul essentially now wrapped in cotton wool for the thick end of a month, either side of the international break, this was the Schalke 04 loanee's big chance.
There was a confident catch from an early Eagles' free kick and then a smart near post stop to halt Jordan Ayew's powerful strike.
Yet it was entirely in keeping with a wretched run of injuries that such early promise was curtailed in painful fashion.
McGovern is an experienced operator with international experience. He will need to draw on that after the fates intervened to hand him a first league appearance in more than 29 months. You suspect, even at this early stage after the final whistle, a second will follow against Villa.
4. Blunt instrument
Under Farke's guidance, Norwich have served up some scintillating attacking play. Goals and chances, brilliantly constructed flowing moves of dazzling dexterity signposted that Championship title win. But against Premier League teams and Premier League players the conversion rate has to be better.
Norwich's midfield got on top in the 15 minutes or so prior to the interval at Selhurst Park. Chances flowed, balls were fizzed into the box but the final shot, the final decision lacked the precision to turn that pleasing approach play into tangible reward.
Given Palace had leaked two points last time out to Wolves there was a palpable sense of growing unease among the home fans.
But Norwich's attacking threat receded following the interval. Todd Cantwell arguably had City's best chance, when his goalbound was hacked clear by Martin Kelly.
With so much focus inevitably on Norwich's defensive work the Canaries need to retain that potent threat at the opposite end.
5. Mighty Max. Sorry Sam
Aarons' powers of recovery should be applauded. Farke appeared to rule him out of his plans until beyond the upcoming international break, after returning from a man-of-the-match display for England's Under-21s with his foot in a protective boot.
Not only did the right-back return to full training well ahead of schedule earlier this week but Farke trusted him with a start.
That underlines how important the young man is to City's head coach. Aarons' attacking instincts were evident in Norwich's best spell prior to the interval. There was some inevitable signs of rust in one or two aspects of his defending but that was understandable given the length of his layoff.
But Sam Byram could justifiably feel a touch aggrieved. A wonderful full debut against Manchester City was followed by a more sobering outing for the entire Norwich backline at Burnley. He has done little wrong to be demoted. But Farke is paid to make the tough calls.