Ian Clarke: No more excuses - the season really starts now for City

Teemu Pukki drew Norwich City level from the penalty spot but Leicester City hit back in a 2-1 Premier League defeat.

Teemu Pukki drew Norwich City level from the penalty spot but Leicester City hit back in a 2-1 Premier League defeat. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I'm generally not a fan of international breaks, especially this early in the new season.

I see myself very much as a club over country fan, so will be frustrated this weekend with no Canary game.

I thought we had more momentum against Leicester the longer the game went on and could (and should) have got our first points on the board.

I really think if the trip to basement club Arsenal was this week, we'd have a very decent chance of taking something from it.

The pressure is definitely on Mikel Arteta and patience among the fans is wearing thin.

Norwich City sign Mathias Normann.

Mathias Normann has joined Norwich City on loan from Rostov - Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher

City have the bounce of the arrival of Mathias Normann, who looks like the missing link in that crucial central defensive midfield slot, and Ozan Kabak, who I'm very excited about to give a tremendously powerful option in the heart of the defence.

Their arrivals completed one of the finest transfer windows I can recall.

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When have we ever had a period when basically a new team which could compete at the highest level come through the doors at Carra?

The Norwich fans sing OTBC before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul C

It's good to be back in the old routine - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Think about a starting XI of Angus Gunn, Dimi Giannoulis, Kabak, Ben Gibson, Brandon Williams, Normann, Pierre Lees-Melou, Billy Gilmour, Milot Rashica, Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent. Pretty tasty eh? 

I'm not going bother wasting column inches or your time further unpicking the ludicrous arguments of the scoffers who have accused the Canaries of lack of ambition, cheating the system and lacking sporting integrity.

Staying within our model of sustainability, sporting director Stuart Webber has masterminded a simply remarkable summer of dealing.

Pretty much every box has been ticked.

Surely if Daniel Farke's can't stay up this season with all the investment and the depth of talent at his disposal, we never will.

So far in this campaign there have already been a wide range of excuses/points of mitigation (depending on how generous you are).

There was a lot of optimism before the opening game against Liverpool coupled with the reality of a terribly disrupted pre-season and players like Grant Hanley who hadn't played a single minute of competitive action.

So that 3-0 reversal was put into that context.

A trip to the Etihad was always going to be a massive ask even with a week more preparation in the tank.

Let's move on from that day as quickly as possible.

The 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth (yes, we all know they were well under-strength) seemed to be a point where the season's starting gun was fired, especially as some of the new boys really shone.

While the 2-1 defeat to the Foxes was in no way back to square one, there were a range more frustrations and disappointments and obvious signals where the team's weaknesses lie.

Kenny McLean's header is disallowed for Norwich City with Todd Cantwell deemed to be offside by the officials.

Kenny McLean's header is disallowed for Norwich City with Todd Cantwell deemed to be offside by the officials. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The completion of the excellent transfer business has to be a real line in the sand that now is the time for the Canaries to really start flying this year.

All the weaknesses have been recognised and addressed.

Short of Ollie Skipp deciding to return to NR1 or maybe Ronaldo picking the Yellows over the Reds, Webber and Farke's summer shopping has been as good as any of us could have possibly have dreamed of.

I know there's the factor of lots of players heading off on their travels to play for their countries in the next few days - but that's the same for all Premier League outfits, none more so than the Gunners.

Any concerns about lack of fitness after the pre-season have to be well and truly in the past now.

And I know there may be some thoughts that new arrivals will take to gel with their teammates. Again, I return to my point about it being the same at other clubs.

So basically my message is that the season starts now.

Brandon Williams made a costly mistake in Norwich City's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Leicester City

Brandon Williams made a costly mistake in Norwich City's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Leicester City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Of course there will be plenty of hurdles and bumps in the road.

But the momentum has to be stepped up, the points need to start coming and we have to make the rest of the top flight sit up and take notice of us.

OTBC.

Move on from Madders

It's well over 1,000 days since James Maddison left Norwich for Leicester.

It's widely known that the £20m-plus  transfer saved City from financial disaster.

The deal was certainly a good one for the Canaries - and let's remember a healthy sell-on clause was built in.

The move was definitely positive for Madders and he's been part of a squad which has won the FA Cup, Charity Shield and finished fifth twice in the Premier League.

I was slightly surprised by the gulf in opinion over his return on Saturday.

On the one extreme there was hero worship for him while others treated him as almost a figure of hate.

I politely applauded when his name was read out, treated him like the rest of the opposition during the game and didn't particularly pay any attention to his departure.

For me we remember his significant part in Norwich's history, treat him with respect and now move on.

Puzzled by half-time quiz

We all have different routines during the half-time break at Carra.

Some need to dash out to answer the call of nature, others prefer to head to the concourses for a pie and a pint while a good number stay in their seats and pore over the opening 45 minutes.

For as long as I can remember, there has been a variety of entertainment on the pitch for fans to enjoy.

Local kids have had mini matches, there has been the crossbar challenge (always more comical when participants wore a suit and smart slip on shoes), we had the Zorbs and the giant target in the centre circle with competitors having to get the ball as close to the middle as possible.

All of those were a great experience for those taking part/gave us a decent laugh.

So I was slightly puzzled on Saturday that the new half-time addition is a City-related quiz. 

There was no visual spectacle and with all the interval chatter it was difficult to hear the questions and answers.

Come on City - let's get back to some real entertainment.

  


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