David Freezer: Canaries in need of some opening day optimism
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City, enduring a troubled return to Premier League life, hit the reset button this weekend - to prove they have the quality to compete in the top tier.
It’s felt bleak at times in recent weeks, challenging beliefs in survival prospects and testing patience, while knowing that the opening month always had the potential to be a rough ride.
From a Covid-19 outbreak disrupting pre-season to conceding 11 goals as the opening four games of the campaign were lost, the feelgood factor of promotion has been eroded.
Despite all of that, Watford will still sense optimism and a fresh feel when they arrive at Carrow on Saturday – as the season starts again for Norwich against a fellow promoted side.
The Hornets enjoyed an early boost when they flew out of the traps and held on for a 3-2 home win against Aston Villa during the opening weekend. They have also been reminded of the step up in quality from the Championship in recent weeks though.
Losing 2-0 at Brighton and 1-0 at Tottenham was followed by a third game without a goal as Wolves finally found their shooting boots and won 2-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday – applying early pressure for Xisco Munoz, at a club which has had 13 managers in the past 10 years.
In contrast, Farke has just taken charge of his 200th City game, recently signed a new four-year deal and has the full backing of his bosses.
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Despite 14 successive defeats at Premier League level either side of a second Championship title triumph on the German’s watch, there is very little talk about his position being in doubt.
Instead, Canaries supporters are eager to see what Farke can galvanise on the training pitches at Colney, after speaking openly about his delight at finally having a full week of proper preparation with his new-look squad.
Minimal injury issues, international duties being out of the way and the additions of Ozan Kabak and Mathias Normann should all add to the desperation to get this season up and running.
There is no denying the importance of the game - when a defeat really would be a significant setback - but with supporter groups asking fans to bring scarves to create a wall of yellow and green as they crank up the atmosphere, the opportunity to restart this season is very much there for the taking.