Search

The kind of football Daniel Farke has Norwich City playing has attracted plaudits far and wide – it has even sparked debate among fans as to which team was better; the current crop or Paul Lambert’s promotion winners of 2011.

After another blockbuster at Carrow Road on Saturday, it was perhaps too much to ask for Sunday’s televised double header to provide similar entertainment.

With every fixture that gets ticked off, there’s an increasing feeling that Norwich City are about to approach the home straight of this nine-month marathon.

Whatever happens between now and when the season ends in May, Daniel Farke has already proved so many of us wrong.

The overriding feeling from Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield United seemed to be that winning the game wasn’t as important as not losing it.

There seems to have been so much noise around the upcoming Leeds United fixture this week that the small matter of Sheffield United this Saturday has almost been overshadowed.

Anybody active on social media might have noticed the latest phenomenon doing the rounds, which encourages users to post a recent photo of themselves alongside one a decade ago.

As injury-time sucker punches go, Portsmouth’s 95th minute winner on Saturday was among the easier ones to take.

After Norwich City’s incredible run of form in the 2018 half of this campaign, a blip was always going to be inevitable.

Not since Premier League relegation loomed have City fans had a reason to care much about other teams’ results.

When the fixture list is released in June there are certain games you pray don’t fall on important dates.

There seems to have been genuine surprise when Norwich’s thumping 4-0 win at Hillsborough sent them top of the league on Saturday evening.

I was devastated. When Paul Lambert emerged as the white-hot favourite to replace the departing Paul Hurst a week ago, I found myself having to explain to colleagues why I felt so upset.

There is one word that every football fan dreads seeing in a headline about their club during the international break. Especially when it precedes the name of your team’s top scorer.

Timm Klose’s unfortunate attempt at a sliding clearance to gift Stoke their winning goal on Saturday may have been a literal slice of bad fortune, but for once City have luck on their side in the timing of this international break.

If you’d asked Norwich City fans their biggest concern ahead of this campaign, most would probably have cited a potential lack of goals.

There would have been a cruel irony if Russell Martin’s departure last week had preceded a first derby loss since before he joined the club.

While there is little doubt that table-toppers Leeds would cause most Championship teams problems playing how they did on Saturday, their comfortable win at Carrow Road highlighted more worrying wider issues for City.

The League Cup may be a staple in the English footballing calendar, but since Norwich City lifted it at Wembley 33 years ago there’s little doubt its stature in the game has dwindled, along with its attendances.

In the 13-week period that Norwich City’s fortunes did not pre-occupy supporters’ minds this summer, those of us who followed every kick of England’s exploits in Russia were reminded how special this game can be when hope far outweighs expectation.

It was a freezing February night in 1996 when I first laid eyes on Carrow Road.

As the Fulham fans belted out chants of “We are going up” at the full-time whistle on Good Friday, it was hard not to feel envious.

A lot of words have been used to describe City’s football this season; fluid, flowing, sexy, exhilarating to name but a few, but one which isn’t often mentioned is perhaps the most important; disciplined.

At Carrow Road in early December, City made a meal of beating Bolton, surrendering a two-goal lead and only claiming the points through a Teemu Pukki strike late in injury time.

I’m not sure that too many of us would have been too surprised by Wednesday night’s performance at Preston.

I’ve had some great moments watching City over the years, but Saturday evening was right up there with the best.

While Chris Wilder has assumed the role of pantomime villain for many City fans it’s only fair to give him credit for the development of a team which resembles the footballing equivalent of a cockroach in terms of their apparent indestructability.

It’s scarcely more than a year since Mario Vrancic was widely derided as too slow and insufficiently physical to cut it in the Championship and Christoph Zimmermann was written off as a German fourth division defender – yet on Friday night both were absolutely central to City’s stunning statement of intent.

When I was growing up the FA Cup was something special, culminating in the day of the final when for just once in the year, TV would devote several hours to the build-up with the game itself the highlight of the football calendar.

Well, at least I now know that my heart must still be in decent shape.

Getting a result without playing well is key to any promotion push, so while it was disappointing to see City have to come from behind having led, albeit somewhat undeservedly, at Ashton Gate, the fact that they garnered a point from a game they could so easily have lost is a real positive.

The last couple of months have seen those who write about Norwich City struggling to find new words to describe their stylish football, but one has been noticeable by its absence: ruthless.

It’s a sign of how much positivity currently surrounds the club that last week’s AGM was more celebration than interrogation.

In Wim Wenders’ recently re-released film noir The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty, the central character talks about the existential crisis faced by a keeper facing a spot kick. He’d clearly never seen Norwich City take one.

I think that we’re all rapidly running out of superlatives for Daniel Farke and his remarkable squad of players.

You realise that you must have somehow failed as a parent when your son announces that he is going to get married during the football season.

“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.”

Anyone wanting a perfect snapshot of this new, vibrant Norwich City need only look at the highlights of Saturday’s game.

When you lose at home but leave the field to rapturous applause and On the Ball City ringing around the ground you must be doing something right.

The game against Wigan last Saturday demonstrated how quickly football managers respond to successful tactics.

Last week was pretty remarkable – achieving league wins against three very different types of opponent with Grant Hanley sidelined for every game, and Onel Hernandez for the last two, was beyond the wildest dreams of most City fans.

The first few league games before the first international break always feel like a kind of phoney war, with clubs still integrating new players with old and the loan transfer window still open to allow those with the requisite resources to further adjust their squads.

In the opening minutes of last Saturday’s game the Leeds defender Luke Ayling found himself closed down by Jordan Rhodes and left exposed by his own goalkeeper who had rushed from his line with no hope of getting to the ball first.

I would suggest that Saturday’s first half was probably the most impressive and sustained attacking display from City under Daniel Farke.

It would be dangerous to draw too many conclusions, either positive or negative, from City’s trip to Birmingham last week.

It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was walking away, embarrassed, from Hillsborough, but after one of the best World Cups that I can remember, the Championship season is already upon us.

As I walked out of the away end at Hillsborough last week, I was glad to see the back end of what has been such a dismal season.

Well, at least it’s over.

Amidst all of the untrammelled emotion of Wexit a rather entertaining football match eventually broke out at Carrow Road against Leeds.

As City’s disappointing season meanders towards its seemingly interminable close, games and results have become almost secondary to statistics, which are being pored in over in much the same way that an ancient Roman oracle might study the entrails of a freshly-sacrificed sheep.

At least we can now resolve the long-standing debate about how to improve the atmosphere at Carrow Road. If the EFL were to appoint Tim Robinson to referee all of City’s home games I’m convinced that we would have plenty of noise.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest from the EDP

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast