DERBY (A); THE REVIEW

11/02/18

City's shithousing tour of the Championship claimed another victim as Gary Rowett and Pride Park 'enjoyed' their close encounter with James Maddison. Dughall McCormack joined nearly 2,000 fellow Canaries to witness another excellent away-day showing.

Random star performer

I'm going to say it was the Lino (well, it does say 'random').


In the 40th minute Maddison went to ground in the box and neither ref nor lino appeared too decisive. To all intents and purposes, it looked a pretty soft and unlikely to yield anything more than a restart. Maybe it was under the weight of multiple appeals from City players, but the ref decided to consult with his assistant and, after a brief discussion, awarded the penalty.


Ok, the subsequent penalty was another story (see below), but good on lino for apparently swinging a tricky decision - the sort that can decide matches.

Moment of the match
I'm not sure how many people would have noticed the moment of the match but it came in the 9th minute shortly after Nelson Oliveira, having broken Derby's defenses, delivered his (fairly lame) shot directly to Scott Carson. The moment itself was Oliveira subsequently and overtly offering his congratulations to Carson on his (fairly straightforward) save. That was an important moment for a number of reasons: not least because in that act, Oliveira exposed a characteristic of his that he could do well to reflect upon. Instead of looking to himself in that failure to convert, he looked to someone else and saw the failure to score as the responsibility of someone else. Maybe there's something in that.

More importantly though, by congratulating Carson, a psychological relationship was established between the two in which Carson was gifted the edge by Oliveira. Fast forward to the 39th minute and Norwich were awarded a penalty. Who stepped up? Oliveira. Now, even those who didn't see the 9th minute moment of the match would have felt a certain sense of dread as Nelson positioned the ball (the same Nelson who was the only Norwich player to fall short in the shoot-out against Chelsea). The same Nelson who has struggled with his scoring form all season. Were we really surprised when Carson comfortably saved? I certainly wasn't. The outcome of that penalty had been decided half an hour before.

Farke watch
I'm increasingly confident in the boss's ability to move this team forward despite being increasingly lacking in confidence in our chances of actually making the play-offs. His style is distinctive, not to everyone's taste but increasingly consistent. It can be frustrating (and for stretches in this game even infuriating) to have to endure endless minutes of middle-third possession within a 20 yard area either side of the halfway line, seemingly bereft of ideas or the incisive attacking edge to get it forwardwith any real threat. That may be a little unfair as on balance Norwich probably made the best of this game and arguably should have taken all 3 points which, had they done so, would have more than vindicated the tactical approach.

Biggest positive to take
A winnable game in which Norwich acquitted themselves well against one of the more likely candidates for promotion. Whilst it is disappointing to come away with a single point when 3 would seem a more deserved yield, faint hope remains that we may yet make the play-offs.

Weekly whinge
Dear Nelson, first of all thank you. Thank you for all those wonderful, joyous moments when we've shared the thrill of goals and victories that had your name on them. We won't forget those. However, what we won't thank you for are the strops, the arrogance (ok, we understand that the best strikers have a touch of this), the petulance and a seeminginability to take personal responsibility for some recent shortcomings. We want to love you again, to share the joy again. We want you back to your old self.

Love from significant (and increasing) numbers of us.

PS This is probably unfair, especially today. One Derby County fan tweeted that Oliveira was one of the best forwards they've seen visit Pride Park this season and the overall performance was pretty good (despite the misses). I for one just want to see him regain some form. Soon. Please.

Atmosphere rating
Mixed. A good turn out and some decent passionate output in patches. Having said that, there were boos at the half time whistle. Boos. Strange to think that those same booers were so passionately cheering and applauding the players off at full time. Double standards?

Summary
On balance a creditable performance against promotion pretenders who did not look a class apart. There were outings for new boys too: most notably Moritz Leitner who impressed again, this time as a starter. Leitner also scored, albeit he wasn't credited with the goal as the ref failed to play advantage and instead awarded the penalty from which Maddison levelled the game. What's more, Leitner's finish was preceded by a gorgeous interplay withOliveira and Maddison and a sublime and audacious back-heel. This is a player who shows real promise.

Unsurprisingly, there was also another outstanding game for James Maddison; a game in which he 'enjoyed' the opprobrious disdain of the home fans, something upon which he appears to thrive. Let's continue to enjoy him while he lasts and look forward to some exciting hooking up with the new boys (glimmers of which were seen today).

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Before the real derby, City head to actual Derby for an early reunion with Mr Cameron Jerome and the high-flying Rams. Andrew Lawn spoke to the Derby County Blog for our Pride Park preview.

Dave Phillips picks up the Nelson Oliveira thread.Should he have taken that penalty at Derby? Is the derby just the sort of game he needs to spark back into life? Nelson Oliveira, scapegoat or saviour?