VILLA 4-2 CITY; TOM MARKHAM-UDEN

21/08/17

Barclay End Norwich founder member Thomas Markham-Uden was also at Villa Park. You can tell he enjoyed it nearly as much as Duncan.

Random Star Performer
Josh Murphy. Despite a general lack of cohesion and spark to most of Norwich's play, particularly during a fairly torrid opening half, the few moments of attacking threat we did produce invariably came courtesy of our remaining Murphy twin as he sought to drive at the Villa defence with pace and directness.

Much is expected of Josh this term, with many continuing to compare the finer points of his game with that of his departed brother. That Josh had a hand in both of our goals is just reward for his efforts on an afternoon when those around him failed to click.

Moment of the Match
The sublime pass from Josh Murphy to set up Oliveira for our second goal was a rare moment of attacking play that was executed perfectly by all involved. An inch perfect chip through to the Portuguese striker - who had done well to create space for himself - allowed Admiral Nelson to bag his third of the campaign. It briefly restored some faith among the away support. As they say, it's the hope that gets you.

Atmosphere Rating
Decent enough from the travelling support until it became apparent that we were in for one of those afternoons, whereby the backing dropped off in a manner to rival our defensive line, save for some short-lived efforts following both goals.

As for the home support, I'm still baffled by their "Four - two, on your big day out!" chants at the end, as, for me anyway, the mystique surrounding a trip to Villa Park that would constitute it being a "big day out" has long since evaporated.

Referee Watch
In my view, he was generally sufficient. No doubt many are still up in arms regarding the missed handball in the lead up to Villa's fourth goal. Yes it was handball, but in his defence I thought the assistant referee was more at fault in not awarding a free-kick. Also, we can't use a slightly dodgy refereeing decision to mask the fact that we conceded FOUR GOALS AWAY AT ASTON VILLA.

Biggest Positives
The lads at Along Come Norwich really threw me a good one for my first contribution to match reviewing duties, huh?

As mentioned previously, Josh Murphy's persistence in trying to make some thing in the attacking third was encouraging, as was our ability to briefly mount a fight back when the score was both 0-2 and 1-3. It's just a shame that each goal was met with such a flimsy defensive display so as to render them futile.

Weekly Whinge
Much has been made of the relative merits and negatives from Farke's squad rotation on Saturday and I don't feel chipping in with my two penneth is going to be all that revelatory.

Instead I'll save my whinge for the minority of travelling fans who, as with several away games last season, indulge in joining in with the home fans' jibes at the relative merits of our performance. Yes, we weren't very good on Saturday, but when one of the loudest songs of the afternoon is "we're fucking shit!" it's embarrassing. I'm all for some self-deprecating humour in the stands, but this is just puerile and, just four games in to the new season, unnecessary.

Summary
A team selection that appeared a little disjointed on paper turned in a performance that was a lot disjointed on the pitch. I'm perfectly happy for the side to be rotated, particularly during this hectic start to the campaign, but leaving our three best attacking players on the bench for over an hour was incredibly frustrating. Coupled with a defensive performance that was lacking from the whole team, not just the back four, and it proved another afternoon to forget at Villa Park.

No doubt Farke will have learnt much from his team's toiling in the second city and I'm still resolutely sticking with my belief that it will all work out well in the end. Judging by the reaction of some, though, I can't say the same for their outlook of our season, a fact that can only place even more pressure on the team and management. How they react to this at Millwall next weekend will have a huge bearing on the mood at Carrow Road for our next home hame after the international break.


While you're here.

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