Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from a first glimpse into Daniel’s world at Norwich City
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from St Colman’s Park
1. Bend it like...Vrancic - Granted, it might not have the same ring, but Norwich’s new Bosnian international signing looks to have the same ability to manipulate the football as one of England’s best exponents in recent times. Vrancic’s pinpoint delivery from a succession of early corners brought tangible reward for Alex Tettey to score the opener at Cobh and cause enough panic in the home ranks to suggest that could be a residually effective weapon against better opponents. City’s lack of thrust from dead balls has been a marked feature in recent times. With Vrancic and James Maddison on the park that might change this campaign.
2. Out with the old, in with the new - Maddison may have had a fleeting exposure to the Norwich first team towards the end of the last season but the way he knitted the play in the opening period, capped by a fine free kick finish, indicated there is an intense battle already underway to see who replaces Rangers-bound Graham Dorrans and in all probability Jonny Howson. Alex Pritchard served notice, with his late long range goal, he remains the main man but with Wes Hoolahan, Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic in the mix to name but a few, plus newly-arrived Saints’ loanee Harrison Reed, City’s central midfield is going to take some nailing down.
3. Keep him fit, keep him focused - There is no doubt Nelson Oliveira will score plenty of goals in the Championship. The task for the man himself and his new head coach is to extract all that talent and find a rich seam of consistency. Oliveira had his fair share of injury niggles last season, allied to a rash red card at Rotherham when he reacted to some unwanted attention that raised some genuine concerns over his temperament, but there is a player in there. Daniel Farke needs to unlock the code and Norwich can reap the benefit.
4. Defensive concerns - Inevitably the on-going speculation around potential exits is dominating much of the conversation off the park, but City must address holes in a backline before the real business begins at Fulham. The fact both Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann were the only two who had a full shift at Cobh indicates again how threadbare Norwich look in central defence and at left back. Harry Toffolo will need competition, and the same applies arguably on the opposite flank with Yanic Wildschut surprisingly starting before giving way to Ivo Pinto. With the imminent arrival of Angus Gunn injecting another variable that is the one area of this current squad that must be addressed. One need only look at the goals against column last season to know the value of a settled, well-drilled defence.
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5. Unflappable Farke - Norwich’s new head coach appears to be relishing the task in front of him. That enthusiasm and energy so evident when he was first unveiled earlier this summer appears to be growing now he can finally get down to work with his players. The feeling appears mutual, given Wes Hoolahan was the latest to speak in glowing terms of Farke’s initial impact. This is still the honeymoon period but the German will know first impressions count and in order to impose his philosophy he needs to have a buy-in from all those under his command. We heard too much about fractures and dressing room divisions last season. Unity is the only way forward.
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