Michael Bailey: Uncomfortable living rooms, joke decisions and tired Tom – six things we learned from City’s Derby defeat
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Lightning does strike twice, in more ways than one – MICHAEL BAILEY offers his six lessons learned as Norwich City slip up at home to Derby County.
1 – The living room isn’t so comfy
It was a line that left me a little twitchy – and then the latest 90 minutes at Carrow Road confirmed the point.
To Daniel Farke, Norwich City’s current predicament at home is not down to anything worth separating from their form on the road – yet the evidence says otherwise.
In their living room City seem to try scoring the perfect goal too often, adding a high tariff of difficulty to a task that can be hard enough on its own. It can also make them look predictable, as City all too often manoeuvre to the edge of the opponents’ box – and then get stuck.
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It’s causing the bulk of City’s issues on home turf; at least it is while they prove not good enough at Carrow Road to take the reduced number of chances they are actually creating. Perhaps that’s the real paradox – because away from home, they’ve proven pretty lethal.
Timm Klose told me City should stop feeling they need to show how good they are at home, to really shine. That’s a good starting point for me.
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2 – It’s good to hear the R-word
Speaking of Timm Klose, he found it hard not to start smiling at his fresh use of his boat analogy – you know, the one Josh Murphy fell out of last month.
His warnings over the waves hitting City’s vessel and the need to stick together will hold firm until the international break at least.
But what also stood out to me was his thoughtful point on his own actions – that rushing back for the restart following his equaliser, may not have helped City’s cause.
Whether he was right or wrong wasn’t the important thing; it was his desire to take his share of responsibility – when once again, the excuses he could have plucked out of the Norfolk sky were numerous. More on that in a moment. Likewise Marco Stiepermann on Instagram, who acknowledged he should’ve bagged at least one goal at the weekend.
There is perhaps another R-word that we could have done with seeing though – that being rotation.
3 – Something worse is always possible
In the immediate depths of City’s epic defeat at Arsenal, I tweeted this sentiment – that I hoped City’s Carabao Cup bravery would be rewarded in their league games. It wasn’t – so far.
With both decisions at Arsenal, I could see why the referee gave what he gave. City were hard done-by. Maybe at home, they’d have been the ones getting the benefit of the doubt.
But on Saturday, there was never a debate. Never a doubt. Josh Murphy was hauled back by a desperate keeper, moments before he slid in and got the ball. To reiterate: Murphy was fouled, before Scott Carson won the ball. Some people have struggled with that last bit – including Mr Bankes.
I’m not fussed about red cards – it was just the basic penalty that had to be given. For it not to be, was a dereliction of refereeing duty.
It wasn’t the sole reason City lost, but it had a major impact on the game – and that quality of officiating simply isn’t good enough.
4 – Tom told the tired minds tale
We’ve reached the point where City fans love singing his song so much, it almost feels unfair on his other Canaries team-mates.
Tom Trybull is a class act. He could prove one of the best signings the club has made – but in recent weeks and especially against Derby, he cut a tired man.
Some fans can get uppity when footballers start being labelled as tired. After all, it’s only running around for an hour or so every few days. But the tiredness that really effects performance is often in the mind. The tiredness that saw City’s concentration in terms of positioning, tracking and keeping possession drop dramatically as the game wore on.
It’s why City made such a fast start too. They wanted to get ahead while the adrenaline was pumping. Instead, they got kicks in the teeth from the referee and their opponents.
Sadly the load is taking its toll – and may even be why Nelson Oliveira’s afternoon was cut short so quickly.
5 – The Rams really have no excuses
In the end, Derby showed City exactly what they are up against this season if they are to stand any chance of making the top six – never mind going up.
The Rams’ squad depth was emphasised by their bench, while years of money pumped into the club has left Gary Rowett with a squad full of experience, that should really push promotion pretty close this season. Rowett himself is no slouch, which adds to the mix.
In truth, Derby looked awful in the first half – a real disappointment lacking energy and quality. Maybe they were waiting so much for City to trip up, it contributed to how poor they looked before the break.
But then, the quality of David Nugent’s opening goal and their lively play after the break proved exactly what I said at the start of this point.
We’ll find out over the coming months whether Derby played it perfectly on Saturday – or whether in truth, it was all about their tiring hosts.
6 – It’s the battle of the reactions
I said it confidently enough before kick-off, it was probably asking for it – that a win and defeat from City’s two home games would actually be more beneficial than two draws and the unbeaten run carrying on.
Obviously we’ve got a pretty big caveat here, given City lost on Saturday and would now need to go and beat a Wolves side that almost every opponent they’ve come up against this season, has left saying just how good they are.
It is of course John Ruddy’s Carrow Road return and the sight of another former canary sticking the knife into his former club wouldn’t go down too well.
But ultimately Wanderers are in a similar boat to City. They also rode out 120 minutes in midweek at top Premier League opposition in the Carabao Cup, only to get dumped out of the competition. They then lost at QPR on Saturday.
It’s a huge game and a huge task for City, with plenty to lose – but still so much left for them to gain.