Robin Sainty: Are football gods finally smiling on Daniel Farke?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Could it be that the footballing gods have, somewhat belatedly, decided to smile on Daniel Farke?
At the start of last week City's head coach must have felt that the world was once again against him.
An awful performance at Wolves had been followed by news of another season-ending injury, this time to Onel Hernandez, while sections of the fan base were up in arms about the fact that Emi Buendia had been on the bench in recent games.
Nevertheless, he managed to motivate his players to produce a superb performance on Friday night, led by inspirational skipper Grant Hanley, and when VAR finally came up with a decision in City's favour (although the fact that the players had already lined up for a kick-off showed how little faith they had in that happening) he may have felt that the tide had turned.
However, Saturday's results produced yet another kick in the teeth and so, whilst the win provided a welcome injection of self-belief, the points situation barely changed.
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Consequently it was almost inevitable that this Tuesday's press conference would bring further gloom in the form of the illnesses suffered by Alex Tettey and Teemu Pukki which affected Farke's preparations for the game at Spurs, although the fact that Ralf Fährmann was yet again unavailable for a game in which he seemed certain to start was, unbeknown to all of us, to be the best possible news.
However, while Tim Krul, who had probably been looking forward to a well-earned rest, was to be the ultimate hero at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday night, he was far from the only one.
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Despite going behind early to yet another set-piece goal and being guilty of too much over-elaboration around the opposition's penalty area, City showed just how much heart they have to first get back on terms and then survive a Spurs onslaught, despite looking out on their feet.
No one would suggest it was a classic City performance because, as so often this season, promising build-ups were too often ended by a misplaced pass, poor control or an ill-judged flick, although the back four were absolutely magnificent, their performance exemplified by Ben Godfrey's late goal-line block.
It was also a difficult game for Tom Trybull and Mario Vrancic to come into having spent months on the sidelines and it showed in the early stages, with Vrancic having to shoulder much of the responsibility for Spurs' goal as he failed to either jump with Jan Vertonghen or block his run.
However, despite struggling to keep his feet several times and generally being slightly off the pace of the game in a poor first-half showing, he dug in and showed some of the passing quality that we know he has in the second half.
One person who certainly enhanced his status was Josip Drmic who not only worked tirelessly and thoroughly deserved his goal, but also made full use of the experience gained in a 34-cap international career both in attacking and defensive situations, while Adam Idah added to his growing reputation once again.
I'm sure I wasn't the only City fan who approached the penalty shoot-out with a feeling of apprehension, but how glad I am to be wrong and from a Canaries Trust point of view I was delighted for Krul, who is the special guest for our post AGM Q&A session on March 18. I just hope we've got a big enough room now!
The big question now is how much City have left in the tank for the game at Sheffield United. Certainly they have the momentum, but will they have the legs after such a gruelling evening's work?
The Blades have been something of a bogey team for the last couple of seasons and have made huge strides under Chris Wilder, but maybe, just maybe, those footballing gods will still be smiling on City.