Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Championship defeat to Wolves
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict after a Carrow Road mauling
1. Stark reality - This felt like a new sensation. Norwich City have lost games before in the Championship under Daniel Farke but at places such as Villa Park and Millwall it was City’s defensive failings and imbalance that contributed to their downfall.
You may argue the same again perhaps, given Wolves cashed in on set piece frailty. But this was more troubling. Nuno Espirito Santo’s expensively-assembled side toyed with Norwich. City plugged on gamely yet the gap in quality was painful.
Bar Marley Watkins’ glancing header against the outside of a post this was a routine assignment for John Ruddy.
There may have been too many below-par in yellow shirts,
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Farke may have had numerous injury absentees, plus Yanic Wildschut’s call off for personal reasons, but even at full power you would back Wolves to prevail. They are the Championship lightning rod, and City do not measure up at present.
2. Leftfield - It would have been difficult enough if one of James Husband or Josh Murphy had not been at the races. But the inescapable truth was the pair collectively failed to spark and City were exposed as a result.
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Too often they seemed to be operating on a different wavelength. By this stage of the relationship you would expect more signs of mutual understanding and a burgeoning partnership. Daniel Farke had finally seen enough by the hour mark and withdrew the pair.
By no stretch were they the only under-performing players in the home ranks but bar the odd fleeting moments this season neither has found that consistent seam to suggest they can be cornerstones of what Farke is trying to construct.
The German will not always be struggling for available resource. They need to take every chance they get.
3. Take a break, Tom - Trybull is another who looks leggy and weary over the past week or so. Here is one Norwich player who has stamped his class on the first part of the season.
Few, if any, in these parts could have told you anything about the free agent who only got his City chance after an extended trial. After his starring role in the League Cup win at Brentford,
Farke jovially mentioned the midfielder in the same breath as Chelsea. But his leading man role appears to be taking a toll.
Trybull was caught in possession too often against Wolves and his lack of pace exposed on the counter.
Alex Tettey’s return, allied to the international shutdown, can not come quickly enough for the playmaker.
4. Sort it out - Farke was ready with the statistics when challenged on two set piece con
cessions and the perceived flaws in his zonal marking system. City have only conceded twice in 13 league games.
That, of course, excludes Arsenal’s two cup goals from corners at the Emirates and also overlooks the brilliance of Angus Gunn to deny Rob Holding from point blank range.
Add David McGoldrick’s glaring miss at Portman Road or Bradley Johnson’s miscue for Derby last weekend when Norwich allowed a corner to travel the width of the six yard box, and that number-crunching only tells part of the story.
Whether Farke wants zonal, man to man or a hybrid approach, when balls rain into the Norwich penalty area those on duty must be more proactive. Wolves were gifted the opener when Willy Boly was afforded the freedom of Angus Gunn’s six-yard-box. Charity does indeed begin at home.
5. Bolton bounce - Setting aside the manner of Norwich’s brave League Cup defeat at Arsenal, to go into the international break on the back of three Championship defeats would feel in its own way just as miserable as Millwall.
The Trotters appear to have picked up after a wretched start and welcome City this weekend on the back of four games unbeaten. An away trip may offer some Farke’s squad respite from home struggles.
Norwich have found a residually effective formula to pick up away wins. Get another in the north-west and that period of reflection will not feel as long or require as much soul-searching as the fortnight that followed the Canaries’ heavy defeat at the Den earlier in the campaign.