CITY 2-0 QPR; THE REVIEW

17/08/17

Farkelife progresses nicely with an entertaining opening win of the season under the Carrow Road lights, backed by a buoyant, bouncing Barclay. Andrew Lawn and Jon Punt review a night to remember.

Random star performer

Super Mario. After a gruelling pre-season where he figured prominently, Vrancic looked a little off the pace during his outing at Craven Cottage and then against League Two Swindon. Even in the opening skirmishes here, the Bosnian appeared to want a second longer than QPR were willing to give him.

However, 90 minutes out of the spotlight and then patience last night, saw Mario give a more accomplished and energetic display with every passing minute. His first half effort was goal-bound, but the beautifully weighted and inventive pass for Oliveira's opener was sublime. As the game wore on, Mario found those pockets of space when Rangers' legs tired with increasing regularity. A couple of cheeky professional fouls also suggested he may well be adjusting to life in the hurly burly of the Championship.

Moment of the match

Harrison Reed capped off another spirited and dogged performance with a strike reminiscent of a certain Safri thunderbastard, albeit a few yards further forward on the pitch. Ok, the QPR defence retreated into their own shells as effectively as George Washington escaped New York (one for you history buffs there), but regardless of the time and space afforded to him, the finish was wonderful. It also helped settle a few nerves in the crowd, leading to a raucous final few moments in the Barclay.

Atmosphere rating

The first thing to note is that while we appreciate the kind words directed towards us for the upturn in atmosphere, the credit has to go to everyone who gets involved. The increased noise and feeling of positivity and togetherness comes from all of you, getting behind the team and enjoying football again.

The new chants are instant Barclay classics, and last night was as good an atmosphere as there's been since we beat that lot down the road on our way to Wembley. Nights under the Carrow Road lights can often be special, this was one of them.

We will continue to use the money from t-shirt sales to fund banners and work with the club to expand the number allowed in the ground. We're also always looking for volunteers willing to hold banners up, so we include as many people as possible in the visual aspect. Get in touch if you sit in the Barclay and are keen.

Let's keep it going. Together.

Referee watch

Oliver Langford was, at best, enigmatic. At one point every innocuous foul went unpunished, then suddenly the tide turned and he started blowing up for everything. Langford also seemed to play fast and loose with the definition of "advantage". However, these are minor quibbles which can afford to be so when you win comfortably.

Biggest positive to take

Now when reviewing Sunday's disappointing loss to the Black Cats Messrs Zimmermann and Franke were singled out for a lack of awareness, perhaps exacerbated by Lewis Grabban's clever movement. Against the more physically imposing threat of Mackie and Washington the German's stuck to their task well.

Set pieces were attacked rather than the passive zonal marking we'd seen last time out, and the balance was struck between knowing when to play out from the back and when to be slightly more direct. Still a work in progress but the signs were positive.

While we're talking Zimmermann, massive kudos to the man for staying out on the pitch a full five minutes longer than any other player and posing for selfies with any young supporter who wanted one. That kind of selflessness goes a long way with fans. We have long been advocates of the players making more of thanking supporters at the end of games and you could see the reaction Zimmerman's presence received. Zusammen - win, lose or draw.

Weekly whinge

Right, we know you love Ivo, we do too, but this is a match where negatives are difficult to find. Pinto was beaten too easily out wide on a few occasions and didn't seem fully at it. Perfectly excusable though given this was his first league start of the season. Of course, his return to the line-up was a necessity, given we hadn't won without him since April 2016.

While we're at it, Oliveira demonstrated why his inclusion in the starting line-up was so vital, but also displaying the attributes which kept him on the bench at Craven Cottage. Nelson's general hold up play and finish were just what we needed. But his workrate second half, when Rangers were starting to dominate possession, left much to be desired. More polishing of this rough diamond for Farke required, but it should at least put to bed the Oliveira v Jerome debate, they are wholly different players and as the season wears on, each will have a job to do. As an old school football coach once sagely told Andy, as he hauled him off 5 minutes into a County Cup final; "horses for courses".

Summary

A first league victory of the season was key to keeping the naysayers onside while this fledgling Farke side continues to find it's feet. The players remained patient, even in the face of some audacious cries from the crowd to shoot (one of which was when Vrancic had his back to goal a full 25 yards out), and a tremendous atmosphere left everyone with the sense of unity so sorely lacking for the last two seasons. It won't always be easy. We won't always win, but we can always enjoy it and Farkelife is pretty good so far, wouldn't you agree?


While you're here.

To keep AlongComeNorwich advert free and to help us fund additional initiatives aimed at improving the Carrow Road atmosphere, we occasionally produce exclusive t-shirts. To celebrate the latest Barclay classic chant, Farkelife we've done another one. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the profits back into the site and things we can all enjoy.

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