Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 draw against Burton
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his Burton verdict.
1. Stick or twist? - Daniel Farke opted for the former course of action against Burton; both in a matchday squad that was unchanged with only James Maddison and Wes Hoolahan swapping places. But also within a frustrating game that felt from the early stages as if it would be a test of Norwich’s collective patience. Farke certainly displayed plenty of that commodity in his reluctance to make changes from the bench until the final 12 minutes. The German revealed afterwards he was tempted to shuffle his pack after a sluggish opening. City did improve and still created enough clear chances to win the contest but the likes of Yanic Wildschut and Cameron Jerome were never given a real chance to make a lasting impression. Hindsight and all that perhaps but Farke fell the wrong side of the line on this occasion.
2. Composure, young man - Josh Murphy spurned the best opening for the hosts when he blinked first in a duel with Stephen Bywater after latching onto Wes Hoolahan’s delicate pass. There was another wild miscue in the final seconds, followed by a frustrated look skywards. Murphy slashed at a close range chance on Saturday against Birmingham City. Yes, we know he is a young man with immense potential but, much in the same vein as his brother and Nathan Redmond before that, City’s latest highly-rated wide midfield prospect must strive to find that composure and clinical edge when his ability gets him into shooting situations.
3. Tidy Tom - Good enough for Werder Bremen as a highly-rated teenager but now on his sixth professional club before his 25th year. Tom Trybull did his best to explain this strange conundrum when he addressed the media on the eve of the Brewers’ visit. He spoke with a maturity and an intelligence that suggested he knows he needs to find the right footballing environment to move his career back in an upward direction. There is no doubt City have found a player. Again, there were enough glimpses of his passing range and his calmness in possession against Burton to illustrate that point. Farke just needs to find out what makes the midfielder tick and give him the canvas to express himself.
4. A night to forget. For more than the Canaries - A clean sheet and a point will be the lasting legacy, but this game will swiftly be consigned to history for any who had the misfortune to be in attendance. That applies to referee Davies. Let’s get it straight, City had only themselves to blame for a fitful, attacking display but frustration at their own performance was compounded by an official seemingly oblivious to the time-wasting tactics of the Brewers from midway through the opening period. Add a series of bizarre decisions, capped by a corner awarded against Christoph Zimmermann who fell in the vicinity of the ball in front of the Lower Barclay, and it was not only the Canaries who must do better. One can only hope the assessors take note.
5. Tables turned - Let’s finish on a positive shall we. After the navel-gazing provoked by those pummellings at Aston Villa and Millwall, Norwich’s much-maligned backline has now kept three clean sheets in the first seven Championship contests. That is a commendable ratio. Burton may have only really threatened sporadically, given the nature of their defensive mission at Carrow Road, but Angus Gunn was again for the vast majority a protected species. With Grant Hanley still in reserve, Farke is constructing a genuine platform to build upon. But the acid test of this nascent defensive resolve, at least in the short term, will come at a resurgent Sheffield United this weekend.