What does Farke do now to kickstart City?

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
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Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 18/09/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Many a conversation was already well underway by the time the final whistle had blown on Norwich City’s 3-1 defeat to Watford. 

Whilst there was a smattering of boos inside the stadium as the Norwich players clapped who had stuck it out to the bitter end, several punters were halfway through their next pint on Riverside Road. 

But nearly every conversation started in a similar way: What does Farke do now? 

Whilst there is mitigation that the City chief is only just getting his ideas across to a much-changed squad following the summer transfer, it is clear plan A isn’t working. 

The defence is being exposed at an alarming rate by the quality the Premier League has to offer and, with confidence plummeting, individual mistakes are being routinely made that are being ruthlessly exposed. 

If it doesn’t change very quickly then Norwich are going to find themselves cut adrift at a depressingly early stage in the season. 

It’s all too familiar from the last time City where in the Premier League and many fans think it shouldn’t be. 

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Yes, the Canaries sold their best player in Emi Buendia but Norwich have ‘had a go’ (to adopt Talksport’s vernacular) in the transfer market. They have brought quality into the squad but at this stage it isn’t working and five games in it feels like Farke is no nearer to knowing how he is going to extract points out of this league. 

The 4-3-3 formation isn’t offering the defence the protection it needs on the body of evidence so far. 

Norwich are being exposed regularly in transitional phases and Farke must be tempted to go back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that served the Canaries so well in the Championship.  

There are issues with that though: where does Billy Gilmour play in that formation? Is his defensive nous good enough to screen the defence alongside Mathias Normann for example? A question the Scottish international needs to answer as part of his education at Carrow Road. 

Many fans would like to see Norwich go to a three at the back with the defensive resources Farke now has. However, Farke has never shown a huge appetite for this, using a three during in pre-season but only because Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley were unavailable through injury at the time. 

Three at the back could allow Farke to get his full backs higher as he likes to do with less risk. A feature of the German’s City side has been how advanced he likes his full backs, which proved a huge weapon in the Championship. It has been a weakness in the top-flight so far with the amount of goals coming from wide areas alarming. 

Farke has a lot of credit in the bank with the majority of supporters and rightly so.  

But he and his players must show they can adapt to the harsher environment they find themselves in or face up to the reality of a long slog that only ends one way. 

Norwich worked too hard last season and in the summer market for this trend to continue.  

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