A day for the happy clappers to clap as furiously as Michael Gove at a Tory party conference. Three much needed points to propel the Canaries into the festive period, Jon Punt takes you through the key points from the proverbial game of two halves.
Random Star Performer
Harrison Reed was the stand out player on the park but this week it’s the much maligned Mario Vrancic. Neat and tidy all game, the position of deep lying ball player suits him more than the offensive roles he’s been asked to play for the majority of the season, not least because he’s afforded the time and space to pick his passes.
There also seemed to be more energy and steel to the Bosnian’s efforts. He is by no means the finished article but Saturday’s display, coupled with a decent opening 45 minutes at Cardiff, showed there are visible signs he is starting to adapt to the rigours of English league football.
Moment of the match
Nelson Oliveira’s last gasp goal. For a man under pressure and out of form, his penalty was precision and power at its finest. Oliveria’s overall performance levels were much better, signalling a man once again finding his feet in the Championship.
Nelson’s hold up play was more conducive to the style City are trying to implement and his desire to win the direct balls played into him much more evident. Perhaps more importantly, Oliveira conducted most of his business in and around the opponent’s penalty area, being unfortunate not to see the net ripple long before his injury time strike. There were only one or two wild punts from distance which have characterised recent games, and while his pressing could have been more efficient, he looked as if he had heeded the head coach’s calls to put in a display worthy of the shirt.
The first 45 minutes saw a deliberate ploy of balls over the top, by design looking to utilise Murphy’s pace. Unfortunately the City youngster didn’t have the desire or muscle to get by Wednesday’s backline, possibly Yanic Wildschut would have been better suited to the role. Lessons to be learned then, but Murphy being hooked at the interval was clear recognition things weren’t working and the introduction of Marley Watkins was logical. Wednesday’s defence weren’t being put under enough pressure by the lone front man and Watkins’ dogged industry added another dimension to City’s play. A few fine touches from the Welshman too, he must be close to a starting berth at Elland Road.
James Maddison’s post match comments included praise for Farke’s calming influence at half time, it would have been easy to tear into his side given the preceding performance, yet a few fine tweaks at the edges ultimately saw the German vindicated.
Also, a return to the starting line up for Alex Pritchard could have been judged as brave, foolish or desperate. Luckily for Farke, the diminutive midfielder’s role was key. Pritchard combined well with the precocious Maddison and largely brought a new dimension to Norwich’s attacking efforts. The fact he likes to play purposeful and high tempo offensive football was integral to the second half fightback, that kind of direct play has been worryingly absent all season. Big reasons for optimism here.
Oh, and a first win for the black #FarkeParka.
Biggest positive to take
Norwich have been criticised heavily this term for not accelerating the play enough through the final third and failing to have sufficient runners in the box when they finally arrive there. The fact City sped up the pace of their attacks, and often had the likes of Vrancic or Reed arriving in the penalty area to support proceedings, meant there was an added threat which saw them create many more chances than in previous matches at the Carra.
Josh Murphy. Not the man himself, but the crowd’s continued vilification of his performances. There’s logic and reason behind the arguments which state at 22 years of age he should be displaying more consistently the type of attributes which has seen him as the next great hope off the academy production line, but his confidence levels are now at an all time low. It was a mistake for Farke to select him, yet he’s been at pains to emphasise that Norwich will continue to trust their young players and they will make mistakes. It’s gone too far now though, some time away from the starting XI may just help, coming back with a point to prove to his manager, the crowd and himself can only be a good thing for everyone concerned.
If reports are to be believed Block A went about their business in the usual manner, steadfastly standing for most of the match. Whether that affects the stadium capacity for the visit of Brentford remains to be seen, but that may well be a moot point judging by the swathes of empty seats throughout the stands.
That aside, signs of life emerged from the Barclay. As the travelling support waned after a boisterous opening, Blocks D and E found their voices. And before people continue to push the argument this was because City were winning, it started well before that. A few empty seats at the back of the stand meant a handful of vocal fans were able to congregate together and get the singing started, just imagine the impact if a few hundred were allowed to huddle en masse in a SINGING SECTION.
After a fairly turd-gid opening half, the character shown to battle back in front of the television cameras proved there is still that sense of togetherness in the squad which saw City put together a nine game unbeaten streak. There’s still plenty of work to do, but Norwich can start to look toward the festive fixtures with more hope now they don’t have to deal with the spectre of a winless run which was conjuring up talk of a relegation battle.
While you're here. Two things; first, did you know we have a new podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. Thomas Markham-Uden from Barclay End Norwich was our recent guest. He gives his thoughts on the atmosphere at Carrow Road and what can be done to improve it
Second, 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/merchandise.
This time we've produced garments celebrating our rightful place as the Pride of Anglia. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the revenue back into the site and things we can all enjoy.