An enthralling encounter at the Carra which very nearly saw City snatch an unlikely point. Here's Jon Punt and Andy Lawn to review a sweltering afternoon for all concerned.....
Random star performer
This was possibly City’s sloppiest performance of the season thus far, so to have pushed the Europa League winners all the way gives you some indication of how far this team has come. There were sloppy, rather than poor, displays throughout the team from Hanley, through Leitner and Stiepermann.
That said, there was also some excellence, notably from Ben Godfrey who is looking more and more like the world class central defender Farke suggested he could be with every passing week. The youngster’s marauding surge into the Chelsea box won Norwich’s only corner of the game. He then went onto get his head to Buendia’s delivery and nearly salvage a point. Definite man of the match contender if we had hold of the sponsor’s champagne.
However, this week the random award goes to Timmy Krul for another assured 90 minutes. He made one fantastic save from a point-blank header that kept his side in the game and a clutch of other stops which while they were generally regulation, might have been spilled in 2018/19. We’re now seeing the best of the Dutchman, and from being a questionable starter before the season started, Krul is firmly cementing that number 1 shirt.
Moment of the match
A first Premier League goal for the boy from Dereham capped an excellent start to Todd’s season. After disgruntling many for not being Emi towards the end of last season, Cantwell has exploded into life this term. His swoony little flick round the corner which brought Emi the room he needed to slip in Teemu for equaliser number two, was just one example of the lightning quick feet which will surely earn Todd a place in the Premier League Young Player of the Month award discussion next week.
Decked out in another black number completely unsuitable for the sweltering conditions, Farke was as energetic on the touch line as we remember seeing him. Growing increasingly exasperated with Chelsea buying cheap free-kicks, he was tipped over the edge by the officials not allowing him to make the triple-substitution with which he tried to rescue a point.
The switch to 3-5-2 didn’t really work as we appeared to abandon our neat build-up play in the hope Srbeny would win a flick on and free the goat. Such a break never came.
Biggest positive to take
Once again City showed they can cause any team in this division problems, with their neat, quick and incisive passing. To come back twice, against a side which personifies the shitty, sly, gamesmanship culture of a hideous club (too far) was hugely encouraging, and then we almost did it a third time too. Down with shithousery. Unless we’re doing it, then of course it’s absolutely fine.
You can’t keep giving sides goals and while 6 scored in 3 games is great, 8 conceded is less so. Grant Hanley has struggled to deal with Premier League strikers’ movement and has been squared up on numerous occasions. The obvious mitigation is that the skipper is still shaking off the ring rust, but individual lapses in concentration get punished at the top level with increasing frequency.
Cut out the sloppy errors and this City side could really soar. To do that we might need a hero. That hero’s name is probably Christoph, possibly Timm, yet they too will need time to get up to speed once they’re fully over their respective injuries. Farke will soon have some tough decisions to make around who dons the cape and slots in alongside young Ben.
Fantastic. With Lawny having given it the big build-up on BT Sport by chatting to Jake and Peter Crouch it needed to be good. It was. As with the Newcastle game last week, the team’s arrival was greeted with a huge “Yellows”, which merged into an ‘On the Ball City’ from all four corners of Carrow Road. The support barely dropped during the game and was back up to pre-game levels at full-time as the side were applauded off the field, with another chorus of “Yellows” to acknowledge their efforts. Excellent work every one, the Carrow Road culture continues to evolve, and definitely for the better.
Let’s face it, Chelsea were worthy winners. While they weren’t at their optimum, and that might take some weeks/months for Lampard to implement the style and swagger he wants his side to play with, they still have individual quality a side like Norwich can't live with.
The shape and press the Londoners employed was impressive, specifically going out to target our chosen ways to play through teams. This wasn’t the frenetic heavy metal press experienced at Anfield where the whole defensive line struggled at times. This was a more considered prog rock version. Much more sedate, but often effective, and it centred on stopping Trybull and Leitner getting their foot on the ball, while also denying the full backs the kind of space they need to carry City up the park. Frank had done his homework.
Norwich’s season isn’t defined by results like this though, as much as the pre-match chatter was around City being able to put Chelsea to the sword, this very much remained a free hit.
So the fact City did find a way to haul themselves into the contest, showing the attacking verve which became a trademark of the promotion winning campaign in the process, makes us feel better about our chances when the lesser lights start rolling up with more regularity.