Bring back Marco – he could be key for the Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Your Posts is a new project where you can voice your opinions on the big sporting stories – Stuart Gent has a question to ask about Marco Stiepermann...
With the season going the way it is, with us propping everyone up, I, like many armchair Norwich City fans, ponder what could change to see an improvement in results.
Like many City fans I wondered why we did not spend money on players in the summer. Then the accounts were released – losing £38m and with the FA paying promotion money in instalments it is easy to see why it did not happen.
To do that would have meant loans with big interest and no guarantees it would yield the result we wanted, Aston Villa is a perfect case in point so far.
I have seen many complaints about our loan signings – Patrick Roberts, Ibrahim Amadou and Ralph Fahrmann. The key thing is thankfully they were on loan with no long-term cost to the club. Every signing is a gamble – some pay off some don’t. Amadou was immense against Manchester City and a key figure in that game, but from Southampton away onwards he just did not reproduce that level.
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Fahrmann – we will never know, but we might be reaping the rewards of him being around as he has pushed Tim Krul to be arguably our player of the season so far.
Personally, when I think about the games we have played this season, we have suffered from two things that we did not have last season, and that is a horrendous injury crisis and players’ drop in form.
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Looking at things now and from last season’s incredible journey, I believe we strongly miss a fully-firing Stiepermann.
His all-round play benefited so many others around him last season, not only his ability on the ball, which he demonstrated this season with that touch and pass against Manchester City after great work by Emi Buendia.
But on form he hustles the defensive midfielder and centre-backs, pushing them back. Last season he acted as the foil for Buendia and, in particular, Teemu Pukki, who I believe misses him the most. If you look back at his performances when we were firing last season he would break the lines of the opposition, and would carry the ball. He was not so often the creator of goals, but knitted the play together for the likes of Buendia and Onel Hernandez.
He always put in a hard-working defensive shift as well; at times last season with him and Emi pressuring, the turnovers they created released the pressure for their team-mates and helped us further up the pitch.
He suffered a loss of form and has not looked right at all, but then came the Leicester game when he came on as a substitute, it looked like the old Stiepermann as he hounded down players on a high press with Emi, just like the previous season.
I am not knocking Ondrej Duda, but we certainly have not seen the best of him. It just feels something is missing between the midfield and attacking midfield link. I also cannot see him being here any longer than the end of this season.
I would love to see Stiepermann return for our next game, when football returns, having Todd Cantwell and Buendia either side him and Pukki in front (hopefully by then his toe has fully healed) we can see him pick up again being the man to combine the play and bring our skilled players into action in the areas where they can be most effective.
Stiepermann’s stats for last season are 39 starts, 61 fouls committed, 38 fouls suffered, nine goals, six assists, 85 shots and 31 shots on target.
When you look at those stats, the first one that gets your attention is fouls committed and shows you how he would break up the play in the middle, something we have not seen from others in that position this season. In turn, this exposes more the likes of Alex Tettey and Kenny McLean in the middle of the park.
With that added presence in that role he provides, it would enable us to also bring Mario Vrancic back into the team. We all know what he can do when he finds his rhythm and offers something different to what Tettey and McLean do. Vrancic is more of your deep-lying playmaker with dead-ball skills and McLean is more of your hard-working box-to-box midfielder.
This season has been a steep learning curve for all our boys, the quality jump from the Championship to the Premier League cannot be underestimated.
But no matter what happens this season, if football returns to finish we need to be loud at Carrow Road. We should be loud from the first minute to the last (including all the extra time that VAR adds on). Yes, it is disappointing if we fall behind, but that should mean we should raise the noise to support them in trying to get back into it. After all, after last season and what they achieved and gave us, our noise and support are the least we can give them in return.
With the current pandemic and lockdown coming into effect I wish you all good health and look forward to getting back to Carrow Road and to meet up again with my fellow fans.
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