Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 4-1 Championship rout at QPR
PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 April 2018 | UPDATED: 23:28 02 April 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Loftus Road
1. Grim - Every bit as poor as Millwall and Aston Villa away from home early on in a season of discovery which is in real danger of heading south at a rate of knots. At least on the park.
Which is really the only place it matters and the forum those supporters who trooped away from Loftus Road and the ones who stayed at home will judge Norwich City under Daniel FArke and Stuart Webber.
City had no answer to the physicality and direct aerial thrust of the uncomplicated hosts. It was like that watershed day across London at the Den. Norwich responded in stirring fashion to a truly woeful affair at Millwall.
The question is now can they fashion a repeat. This was bordering on capitulation.
2. The power of three - Norwich’s quest for more attacking power appears to have seen the defensive three formation put into cold storage.
But since switching to a flat four, City have shipped goals in the type of quantities that caused so much consternation earlier in the campaign.
Granted, a back three would not have mitigated against Angus Gunn failing to deal with Matt Smith aerially at Loftus Road, or James Husband caught out by a slick one - two, or Christoph Zimmermann similarly beasted by Smith in the air, but there is no question City exuded a greater degree of defensive resolution with Grant Hanley, Timm Klose and Zimmermann operating together.
How that translates into offensive intent is one for Farke to solve. But at the present moment both ends of the pitch are a cause for concern.
3. Nice but not nasty enough - On that topic, Farke’s post-match comments after the Good Friday defeat to Fulham cut to the heart of the matter.
The promise and the pleasing passing is there in this group of Norwich players but the final pass, the final shot, the final thought is too often awry. Farke believes it is only a matter of time before his youthful talents hone those decision-making traits; to anticipate inside the opposition penalty area, to be proactive rather than reactive.
There was more evidence at Loftus Road when a series of probing forays lacked the clinical edge in a dominant opening 30 minutes
Cast your mind back to the most successful Norwich sides of recent vintage. They all that streetwise nous and cunning. Step forward Mr Holt.
Until Farke finds the answers both inside and outside this current group of players, potential will not be fully realised.
4. Husband has the hump - The minor flashpoint with Massimo Luongo that earned Norwich’s left-back a first half caution was really the by-product of Luongo’s leveller, when he darted past the defender before getting his shot away before Harrison Reed and Hanley could close in.
Husband trooped back to his position for the restart with head bowed.
Seconds later that frustration had simmered to the surface. This has been a season of fitful opportunities to stamp his mark on the starting XI.
There have been glimpses of his ability but with the emergence of Jamal Lewis, he has had to increasingly settle for a supporting role.
Every chance he gets, he has to take.
On balance, this was another one spurned.
5. The wonder of Wes - There might not be many more chances to savour the Irish magician in Norwich colours.
Although after the social media whirl of recent days the club reiterated before kick-off they are keen to ensure one of those will include a testimonial farewell to mark the Dubliner’s decade of service.
Hoolahan looked hungry for work in the early exchanges and the sight of him and James Maddison darting into pockets of space evoked a degree of wishful thinking that Hoolahan was not a few years younger.
There was one clever short pass for Mario Vrancic, that ended with Nelson Oliveira being crowded out but the dust has been rationed this season.
The end appears nigh for Hoolahan and the reality is this summer may end with both departing Carrow Road.
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