Iwan Roberts: Don't blame formations for Norwich City's poor form

Divock Origi of Liverpool heads for goal during the Carabao Cup match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Pictur

Poor defending at a corner led to Liverpool's first goal against Norwich on Tuesday night - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I think it’s fair to say it's not been the best of weeks for the Canaries.

Beaten last Saturday - comfortably - by the more physical, stronger side in Watford and then knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night by a second string Liverpool side who once again scored their standard three goals against City. That's now 45 goals scored for Liverpool against Norwich in their last 16 meetings - talk about a bogey team! 

I’ve heard quite a lot of supporters criticising Daniel Farke about the way he’s changed formation from the 4-2-3-1 his team has played over the last three seasons to a 4-3-3 this season. I can understand fans questioning the change and why he felt the need to do this after all the success his teams had since he’s been here, but let’s be honest, the change of formation isn’t the reason for the start of the season Norwich have made. 

I look at the goals Norwich have conceded this season and there’s been far too many of them. That’s not down to the formation. The reason Norwich are conceding far too many goals from corner kicks has got nothing to do with formation - that is just a lack of organisation from set-pieces and players taking responsibility to go and compete for the ball when it is delivered in. It is far too easy at the minute to score against Norwich from set-pieces. 

It’s not the formation’s fault that players don’t stay and track their runners when they should do, which then causes big problems for the back four as they get overloaded and outnumbered.

I’ve seen this happen on far too many occasions already this season and it needs to stop. Once again, players need to take responsibility for the players they are playing against and not pass the buck and then put the blame on others. 

I see in wide areas in the final third the opposition’s players having far too much room and time on the ball to put quality crosses into Norwich’s penalty box, which have led to goals because of the lack of hard work and desire to close down the man on the ball with more urgency and tenacity. That's nothing to do with the formation. 

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Sometimes it's not a bad thing for a squad of players to sit down together and discuss how they put right what’s gone wrong at the start of this season.

I’ve been involved in this type of thing on quite a few occasions and at times it's got quite heated as players gets things out in the open and get things off their chest about a team-mate or a part of the team which they think should be doing more.

Bali Mumba of Norwich and Andrew Omobamidele of Norwich during the Carabao Cup match at Carrow Road,

Bali Mumba, left, and Andrew Omobamidele working it out during Norwich's defeat to Liverpool - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I’ve seen players having to be separated as it's nearly come to blows after a disagreement in the meeting - but, believe it or not, nearly every time it had a positive effect on the squad. 

Having been beaten by Liverpool on Tuesday night, Norwich travel up to Merseyside this weekend to face the blue side of the city.

I wasn’t keen on playing at Goodison - I never scored there and I don’t think I played in a team which won a point there. The away changing room is a bit like the pitch at Goodison - quite narrow with not a lot of space. 

However, I’m going to finish this week's column on a positive!

Two seasons ago Norwich took just six points from a possible 57 on their travels. They managed one win away from home in the 2019-20 season. Yes, you guessed it - that win came on Merseyside at Goodison Park.

Please can we have more of the same to bring this horrendous run of results to an end?

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