Spud Thornhill: Norwich fans face a lot more twists and turns yet
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
They say a week is a long time in politics ... 24 days must be a lifetime in football.
It’s that long since we beat Bristol City 2-0 at Carrow Road, our fourth consecutive win in 2021. Many players, like Jordan Hugill, were flying, we had a seven-point lead over Swansea City and most importantly a nine-point lead over third-placed Brentford with just two goals fewer than the Bees.
Many fans on social media were full of it, talking of us winning the league or saying how Daniel Farke could do no wrong. Things were just good.
Personally, I get excited when things go well, but I know for sure I shouldn’t get too carried away. I’m just cautious. But at the same time I won’t be too stressed when things are not going our way.
Following Brentford’s win at Reading on Wednesday we are now two points behind Brentford with the Bees having a better goal difference than us now – by a staggering 15 goals. They’ve scored 19 league goals since our last league goal, scored by Hugill.
I must confess I’m seeing a lot of our side of two years ago in Brentford – attacking for fun and having the will to win, which I don’t see in us at the moment. Brentford have conceded the first goal in each of their last three games and each time they responded and came back to win – something I can’t see us doing for long time.
Some of those fans who were full of it on social media are now panicking and having their normal meltdowns, judging by some of the posts I’ve seen.
Like many fans, I have been frustrated by some of the performances recently, but I’m not totally surprised. First, we really do struggle against teams with certain managers – Gary Rowett and Neil Warnock being good examples.
Daniel Farke has now faced Rowett three times – the two goalless draws with Millwall this season and when his Stoke side beat us in October 2018 with a Timm Klose own goal. That was the game where fans applauded the players off after a 1-0 home defeat.
Then the worst thing that could’ve happened before we played Middlesbrough was for them to lose 3-0 at home to Rotherham United. The wily old fox Warnock was always going to come to Carrow Road and get his team do a job on us. Which is what they did – and I’m not just talking about how they got to Emi Buendia.
Yes, I do get that some fans may feel Farke should get the better of these managers, but I’m sure every manager struggles against certain opposite numbers. You only have to think back to ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who always struggled against Tony Pulis.
It feels our biggest problem is in midfield and the number 10 not producing the success like it did two years ago. I feel the lack of threat from them will only feed into the likes of Millwall and Middlesbrough. They will just wait, let us have all the possession in the world and hopefully sneak a goal. It does concern me that more teams will do this against us for the rest of the season.
This season, Oliver Skipp, Kenny McLean and Lukas Rupp they have made 62 appearances between them, 52 of them starts, but they have produced only one goal and two assists, all three from McLean. It’s a worrying stat.
These mid-season blips are not uncommon. Two years ago we went four games without a win before beating Birmingham in our 28th game. Even last season, Leeds United, who won the league convincingly by 10 points, had a blip during the season. Between games 22 and 33, Leeds only won two games in 11.
I’m sure Farke will keep his cool and we will need our fans to keep their cool.
And if we beat Stoke it might only be 24 hours but we will be back on top. So stay strong, fellow Canaries – this Championship ride is going to have plenty of twists and turns before the season is out.