David Freezer: The stats which have sparked Farke's frustration at City
Those inside Carrow Road witnessed an animated venting of frustration from Daniel Farke on the sidelines on Tuesday night – and City’s head coach was fully justified in the need to let off some steam.
Young debutants Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons felt the brunt of the head coach’s emotions during a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Stevenage, playing on the same side as the dugouts during the first half.
Farke was in no mood to be messed around after a start to the season which has deserved more than a solitary Championship point from two games.
He said after progress was sealed to the second round of the Carabao Cup that his two young starlets needed guidance as their full senior bows came in unfamiliar left-sided positions. That’s fair enough but rarely have we seen Farke as animated.
A disappointingly disjointed first half saw victory very much in the balance after 10 changes to the starting XI, going into half-time level at 1-1 and with the threat of a humiliating home defeat still very possible.
On the back of Saturday’s self-inflicted 4-3 loss to West Brom in the league, an uneasy atmosphere swirled around Carrow Road at the break after 45 minutes of seeing square pegs struggling to fit into round holes.
Farke found his solution, thanks to front-line players Teemu Pukki and Onel Hernandez turning the tide. However, when you delve into the Championship statistics it’s easy to see why the Canaries chief’s emotions were bubbling to the surface, after seeing his best-laid plans so nearly bringing a fine start to the campaign.
Top of the average possession stats after two games? Norwich, of course, with 61 percent, ahead of Brentford (59.4pc).
Which team has unleashed the most shots in the division so far? You guessed it, City, with a huge average of 18.5 per game, clear of Nottingham Forest on 15.7.
Shots are all well and good but they need to be on target. Well, the Canaries also top that table so far, averaging 8.5 shots on target.
It’s only two games into a long season but those stats show the fine margins which separate Farke’s team from being the talk of the Championship.
Had Jordan Rhodes not fluffed his header from that fine Mo Leitner cross at Birmingham and wasted his penalty against West Brom, had Tim Krul not had a nightmare home debut against the Baggies, had the clear style earned the six points City quite clearly could have had at this point...
All of this can be set against the background of important players including Krul, Rhodes, Grant Hanley, Alex Tettey, Emi Buendia, Jamal Lewis and Ivo Pinto missing all or part of pre-season.
That’s not to mention the big-name players who had to be sold, the futures of Nelson Oliveira and Russell Martin still being in the background at Colney or Mario Vrancic and Carlton Morris being out injured.
It’s fair to say that Farke is earning his money – and maybe deserves a bit more credit from some supporters.
How about this for another stat: It’s been 16 years since a Norwich side have scored five goals in their opening two league games. However, a City side also haven’t conceded four in a home Championship game since a 4-1 loss to Burnley in October 2006, the game which ended Nigel Worthington’s reign.
All of which makes ‘balance’ the new buzz word as the roller-coaster turns towards Bramall Lane this afternoon. Retain enough of that attacking threat and combine it with the defensive muscle seen at times last season and a win could really kick this Canaries campaign into gear.
Every City fan would surely snatch at a repeat of last year’s 1-0 victory over the Blades were it offered. However, it looks likely that the left-back position will remain a problem going into the game after Tuesday’s tense game denied Lewis much needed game time from the bench.
With Farke leaving out James Husband totally in the last two games, his City career may well be at an end, and with makeshift left-back Pinto ill and Marco Stiepermann having a troublesome knee, Lewis may well have to be chucked straight back into the deep end.
As that left-side trouble continues it could well be time for a return to three at the back, so that Timm Klose can offer added security to that side of the defence.
With home games against Preston and Leeds followed by trips to Cardiff – insert groan here – and Ipswich, this is a fortnight which could well define how much Farke is going to be able to achieve this season.
My team for today (3-4-3): Krul; Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose; Marshall, Tettey, Trybull, Lewis; Pukki, Rhodes, Hernandez
DJ’s loan lesson
City loanee Diallang Jaiyesimi endured a rather chastening experience on live television this week.
The 20-year-old forward didn’t hold back after opening the scoring against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup first round, taunting around 2,000 visiting fans after scoring at that end of Huish Park. The only problem was the goal had been disallowed – and Jaiyesimi didn’t realise, for a good 10 seconds.
As the Canaries youngster danced a jig of joy with his thumb and index finger in an L shape against his forehead, a celebration from online game Fortnite, Villa’s fans were happily letting him know the referee had ruled out his effort.
Having scored his first Football League goal in a 2-2 home draw with Mansfield at the weekend, Jaiyesimi thought he had scored again as he tapped in from close range after a goal-mouth scramble. Yeovil boss Darren Way felt the goal was disallowed wrongly and Villa eventually edged a 1-0 win. A harsh loan lesson for DJ.
Play it cool, Tristan
Another Canaries loanee also deserves a mention – and not just for helping to knock Ipswich out of the Carabao Cup.
City striker Tristan Abrahams came on five minutes into the second half with Exeter trailing 1-0 to the Tractor Boys at St James Park and helped the League Two side earn a 1-1 draw.
With extra-time wisely abolished from the competition it gave the Grecians the chance of a ‘cupset’ in a penalty shootout. Both sides missed their first spot-kicks and 19-year-old Abrahams stepped up for Exeter’s third with the shootout at 1-1.
As the former Orient man approached his kick he will have known full well that Norwich fans would be watching from afar, adding extra pressure, but he coolly slotted a left-footed penalty into the top-left corner to keep the hosts on track for their 4-2 shootout success.
The loanee scored on his debut as Exeter beat Carlisle 3-1, next on his checklist is to earn a place in the starting XI.