Another association football match, another Norwich loss. Maddie Mackenzie looks back at a confusing and difficult night at Carrow Road, and wonders where we go from here
If it’s okay with everyone, I’m going to skip this one and get right into it.
There is no confidence at Carrow Road. The players’ body language drops the moment they concede a goal from an inevitable defensive howler. The fans are booing. Farke is holding press conferences that would be expected from a man who feels condemned.
There is no solid formation – nothing seems to work. Pukki is isolated in a 4-3-3, a 3-5-2 added none of the expected defensive solidity, and our typical 4-2-3-1 seems a thing of the past. What now? We’re at the tail end of September and no one knows our best team, our standout player, our most trusted formation. Every tactical question about Norwich seems to be unanswerable, at least for the moment.
It’s strange to think a Tuesday night, kids for a quid cup game represents one of the lowest points of the Farke reign, but the boos that rang out around Carrow Road at full time tell their own story. I’m not a journalist; I don’t know how long Farke has to turn this around. I don’t know if he knows. The biggest problem currently facing Norwich, however, is figuring out how to convince the fans and the players that we’re not already down and out.
Funniest moment of the game
There was a bloke in front of me giving it large about being a season ticket holder and going on about how ‘I’m sitting in my seat, unlike some’, thinking he was surrounded by people who don’t usually sit in the B Block of the Barclay. Alas, I was actually in my season ticket seat and I’m certain I would recognise such a, shall we say, unique character. His antics were at least entertaining when Norwich’s performance on the pitch was far less so.
Did an along come Norwich happen?
A Premier League team would usually be expected to beat Klopp’s typical ‘I don’t care about the cup so I’m going to stick some children and fringe players on and see how it goes’ league cup team, but based on the odds I saw at the bookies during my walk to the ground, this Premier League team was not.
We did miss a penalty to make it 1-1 though, which was about as Norwich as it gets.
Norwich’s best player
Forgive me an indulgence here – like everyone else I’ve had a long, aggravating evening, and like plenty of others I’m in a pretty foul mood. In an attempt to get some of that onto paper (or screen) I’m going to talk about Norwich’s most unappreciated player.
There is one uninjured outfield player without a single Premier League minute. This player got 90 minutes against Bournemouth, watched Rupp and Gilmour being instructed to play in something that vaguely resembled his position in the league, then watched from the bench as the same happened again this evening (I actually have no issues with Rupp, but CDM he ain’t).
I’m baffled as to what Sørensen has done to warrant this. There are lots of reasons that have been suggested to me, but surely a cameo appearance is due? A few minutes in a game where we’ve clearly got nothing left to play for (we’re hardly short of them) to get him some match fitness, let him get a taste of the physicality of Premier League football.
Farke once said no one in Norfolk loved Jacob Sørensen more than him. I’m openly biased and frankly a bit tired and grumpy, but I’d like to see him prove it.
Oh, and Gilmour got the MOTM in the ground, and this is backed up by WhoScored’s ratings. I’d be hard pressed to pick a ‘best player’ so I won’t argue with the match sponsors, because at least they did my job for me.
What was the atmosphere like?
Liverpool fans wouldn’t shut up and seemed to be quite enjoying their evening out. Dickheads.
We were quieter and a bit more subdued than normal, but again, kids for a quid on a Tuesday night and a horrific few days means that’s hardly surprising. Expect another press conference rallying call before Brighton at home.
As I write this Twitter has been treated to an excerpt of Daniel Farke’s post match comments, in which he speaks about Tzolis’ penalty. It’s not gone down well, and is perhaps indicative of where the Norwich fanbase currently is. Everything that’s happened in the past is now being closely scrutinised: why did he say this during the last Prem season? Why didn’t we do this last year? Why didn’t we send this player there, or keep this player, or buy this player? It’s the sign of a club in trouble. We’ve never really been this disconnected from Farke. There was that strange first season where we didn’t know him, he didn’t know us, we didn’t have the right players, and going to football often felt like a chore, but he then proceeded to deliver some of the best moments Norwich fans have had supporting their team. Those associated with the club often speak of our togetherness, our bond with our manager and our players. That bond currently feels very fragile and tonight was yet another moment that saw it pushed to breaking point.
Dramatic? Perhaps, but it’s impossible to look past how miserable many of us are feeling right now. I want nothing more than for Farke and his players to prove everyone wrong. I’m increasingly at a loss as to how they’re going to find the means to do that.