Six things you might have missed amid City’s calamitous chaos against Burnley
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After the latest calamitous chapter of Norwich City’s story, David Freezer assesses the aftermath of a 2-0 defeat to Burnley which extended the relegated Canaries’ club record losing streak to nine league games.
1 - Cruel luck for Ben on better day
Daniel Farke, his players and Norwich City supporters have been calling for pride in the yellow shirt to be shown during the closing stages of this disappointing season - and for much of the latest defeat it was.
That’s not including the red card duo of Josip Drmic and Emi Buendia of course.
Football can be a cruel game though, so it was just typical to see Ben Godfrey scoring an unfortunate own goal, after one of his most determined recent displays.
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The England U21 defender won nine aerial duels, the same amount as the last three games combined and a season high. He also cleared the ball on a total of nine occasions, for only the second match of this tough season.
A decent Nick Pope save had also denied a Godfrey header at 0-0, but instead his first goal of the campaign came at the wrong end. The 22-year-old looked genuinely crestfallen after his clumsy touch, as his harsh lessons continued, yet his overall performance was admirable.
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- 4 LOAN WATCH: Success for Heise and recognition for Adshead
- 5 Iwan Roberts: Hugill showed he truly belongs at Norwich City
- 6 Dowell hoping to make more happy FA Cup memories with Canaries
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- 8 Patience a virtue for City striker after injury had threatened his Premier League pursuit
- 9 'I didn't know if I'd make it' - City academy product ends over 1,000 days of injury woe
- 10 Paddy Davitt: Player ratings after Canaries' 2-0 Bristol City win
2 - Rarely seen type of red mist
That double sending off cannot be overlooked though, for just the sixth time in Canaries history and only the 10th match of the Premier League era.
Ashley Westwood’s amateur dramatics ensured Buendia saw red for a tangle which would probably have been overlooked if VAR didn’t exist. His reaction gave the officials a decision to make though, with slow-motion replays sealing judgement.
Drmic’s lunge may have been more ill-judged than nasty but it was still a very poor decision which left his team-mates stuck up a creek without a paddle.
It’s the first time two City players have been sent off in the same game since March 2008, when Gary Doherty and Darel Russell were both shown second yellows during a 1-0 loss at Coventry.
Three teams have had three players sent off before, Barnsley (1998), West Ham (1999) and Newcastle (2005), when Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer famously decided to start scrapping.
3 - How much will squad change?
Ironically, the two red cards came as the Canaries made a season low of six tackles during the defeat to Burnley.
Buendia are Drmic could both be facing three-game bans for their offences, so will it be the last time they are seen in a Norwich shirt at Carrow Road?
Given this happened while games are behind closed doors and that it’s unlikely there will be spectators at the start of next season, it’s not quite the same anyway. There was no fond farewell awaiting at full-time.
Indeed, it’s players like Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and maybe even Tim Krul or Teemu Pukki that may not get that chance, which really would be a shame.
It’s difficult to predict just how different this squad will look but Drmic even starting ahead of Pukki again was a surprise, with the 30-year-old looking at what could be the last big contract of his career. And Krul could well be the most in-demand player given his superb leadership, experience and consistency.
4 - Records continue to be broken
All six of these points could be dedicated to unwanted records this downtrodden City squad are claiming.
Defeat at Chelsea in midweek broke the previous club low for defeats in a single season, which now stands at 26 after the Burnley game, with 24 previously managed during four seasons, the most recent during relegation from the Championship in 2009.
Five home games without a goal equals a club record from back in 1920-21, City’s first as a Football League club, although three of those games were 0-0 draws.
The excellent @OptaJoe on Twitter points out it is also only the third occasion in top-flight history that a team have lost five successive home games without scoring - and the other two were back in the 1920s.
There are two big ones left to avoid. An away goal just to equal the Premier League record low total of eight in a season and not matching the 7-0 loss at Manchester City of 2013, which would equal the 77 conceded during 2004-05.
5 - Krul may yet claim top spot
The kick of the post summed up how all City fans were feeling as Chris Wood rubbed salt into the wounds of the two red cards just before the break.
Yet again it was a day when Krul was needed to keep the score down, making seven saves to take his total for the campaign to 128. That’s more than the 125 John Ruddy made during the relegation campaign of 2014 and plenty more than the 103 of Ruddy and Declan Rudd in 2016.
It’s now just Martin Dubravka of Newcastle to have made more (134), who has played one game fewer.
The denial of the deflected free-kick from Dwight McNeil was up there with his best this season - and it’s quite a highlights reel he’s putting together.
The Dutchman will almost certainly be named Player of the Season and although he may feel he could have done better with Wood’s awkward bicycle kick, Krul is back to the levels of his Newcastle days from before his serious knee injury in 2015.
6 - One last daunting away day
Krul may yet push Dubravka for top spot due to the daunting final-day trip to Manchester City - who will need little motivation from the relentless Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal haven’t helped matters, winding them up with an impressive 2-0 win in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday and the dethroned champions also go to Watford on Tuesday, fresh from giving Nigel Pearson the push as they scrap for survival.
Then there’s the small matter of revenge, for that glorious 3-2 win at Carrow Road. It cannot be forgotten that the visitors had 69pc of possession and that Krul was in fine fettle, as they had 25 shots, eight of them on target to the Canaries’ three.
They have scored 93 goals, 16 more than new champions Liverpool, and have a lead to protect against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie next month.
It might be best if Norwich take the empty supporters’ coaches with them, to park in front of Krul’s goal.