Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-1 draw against Barnsley
PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 November 2017 | UPDATED: 00:35 19 November 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road.
1. Oh Eddie. What have you done? - Ever since Arsenal’s young hotshot striker Eddie Nketiah entered the fray to such devastating effect at the Emirates it has been a downhill slide for Norwich City.
All that confidence and composure, all that impressive cohesion without the ball and maximum efficiency with it has largely dissolved.
Barnsley looked the side most likely for large spells at Carrow Road. City were disjointed, laboured and lacking in any spark. There were plenty of mitigating factors around the defeats to Wolves and Derby.
A lacklustre effort at Bolton following by more of the same against the Tykes suggest the self-belief and confidence has hit worryingly low levels.
2. Midfield muddle - Much of the focus in the search for answers understandably has settled on defensive weakness and fitful attacking productivity.
But shorn of Alex Tettey and Alex Pritchard, City’s midfield in this latest fallow period is another cause for concern.
Tom Trybull looks a long way short of the man who made such an early impact. Mario Vrancic is yet to prove he can cut it at this level consistently and James Maddison in this game looked like a young man who has had to shoulder a heavy burden.
There is a lack of protection to the back four, as it started this game before switching to a back three, and a lack of genuine thrust to support a lone frontman. It will be a few weeks yet before Daniel Farke can call on Tettey and Pritchard.
Trybull’s second half injury exit - which you feel is poised to rule him out of the midweek trip to Nottingham Forest - underlines Farke requires a fast-acting remedy.
3. Nelson Oliveira - A welcome return for the Portugal international. This was his first start in the league since September 12.
Despite the general lacklustre nature of City’s collective labours against the well-drilled Reds, Oliveira’s usual large quota of strikes on goal was at least a step in the right direction given the urgency Norwich must increase their goal output.
The clinical edge may have been lacking from his work after so long out but Oliveira offers a mobile target and a focal point for his team mates. The Canaries’ medical staff just need to keep him fit.
4. Grant Hanley - The Scottish international has had to display boundless patience since his summer arrival. One error too many from Christoph Zimmermann for Bolton’s first goal prior to the international break felt like a watershed moment.
Farke made the switch and Hanley showed enough alongside Klose that he can offer the ballast and the aerial presence required.
The manner of City’s concession so soon after switching to a back three following the interval was in sharp contrast to the assured way Hanley went about his work for the most part.
There are a number of areas for concern across this Norwich unit right now but if Hanley can build on this performance it will be one less thing for Farke to worry about.
5. Positive thinking - Yes, it was a performance that left a lot to be desired but it did bring an end to a three-game losing league run.
The smattering of boos at the final whistle underlined the sense of frustration.
Norwich look a long way short at present. There is quality to come back but Farke must inject a degree of urgency, a sense of direction and some energy back into his troops.
Otherwise mid-table will beckon for the foreseeable.
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