Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s slick 3-1 League Cup win at Cardiff City
PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:14 29 August 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the Cardiff City Stadium
The word itself has rapidly passed into Daniel Farke’s early season vocabulary.
The City chief is using it to try and make sense of everything from the Canaries’ slim points haul - relative to their performance level in his opinion - to the lack of minutes for the likes of Ben Godfrey or Christoph Zimmermann.
It seems entirely apt in this instance to capture the mood swing from the despair following Leeds to the sense of optimism as a young, hungry, desperate-to-impress League Cup line up set about dismantling Cardiff.
Neil Warnock’s fringe men did nothing to push their own Premier League claims.
The Canaries’ contingent, however, provided some much needed selection headaches for Farke.
That Portman Road trip felt akin to something approaching trepidation, after a brush with Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Now most City fans will be counting the hours to Sunday.
2. ‘World class’ Godders
Given Farke’s reticence to praise Max Aarons after his landmark senior goal lit up another encouraging appearance for the teenage defender, it was a strange aside from the head coach in the build up to insist Ben Godfrey is potentially a superstar at centre back.
Godfrey is further down the development path than Aarons but it was nonetheless a startling revelation from his head coach he has potential to be ‘world class’.
It is not just his limited Championship involvement so far but the fact he spent last season at Shrewsbury in a defensive midfielder role that raised eyebrows after Farke’s sound bite. Godfrey is clearly comfortable with the positional change and on the evidence of his outing at the Cardiff City Stadium, the weight of expectation.
When the Bluebirds tried to up the ante early in the second half he was a stout figure alongside Zimmermann as balls rained into Michael McGovern’s penalty area.
Godfrey’s immediate task is trying to dislodge Timm Klose or Grant Hanley. Then we can see if Farke’s faith is well placed.
3. Sizzling Srbeny
Time will tell if this was a watershed moment in Dennis Srbeny’s Norwich City career.
The young forward has failed to perhaps make the same strides as Onel Hernandez, since arriving in the same January window from Germany.
Srbeny spurned his chance towards the end of the previous campaign, when Nelson Oliveira’s City career started to meander up a cul-de-sac.
The arrival of both Jordan Rhodes and Teemu Pukki may have presented another road block. But Srbeny made a huge impression at Cardiff.
The first goal was an instinctive finish. The second was the act of a penalty box pedator. It should be the shot of confidence he needs.
This is a brutal business but Srbeny has had time to adapt to alien surroundings.
There is still a rawness and a frustration to some of his movements on the pitch, particularly when he has too much time and space to weigh up his options, but there is also a goalscorer there. Rhodes needs to be pushed. Srbeny is capable of accepting the challenge.
4. Stick or twist?
A League Cup win for a much-changed side at Cardiff will not have altered the thinking of Farke or Stuart Webber, you suspect, in regards to whether Norwich opt for a quiet end to the summer transfer window or take a punt.
Farke reiterated after this victory he expects the former but there was a tantalising pay-off these next few days might not pass without a revision to his squad.
The smart money would still be on exits rather than arrivals. Oliveira and Russell Martin need to play football.
Otherwise, Farke will face a challenge to integrate both between now and January. Norwich fans are naturally more interested in the prospect of attracting fresh blood.
Given the meticulous planning you associate with Webber, unless there is any tangible encouragement to revive interest in longer term targets, Farke will go with what he has got.
But at least the smooth manner his shadow squad performed in Wales must offer reassurance he does possess deeper resources than perhaps this time last season.
5. Hedge your bets
Does the uplift from a place in round three of the League Cup counteract a full week’s preparation for Paul Hurst’s Ipswich? Based on the fact the vast majority of those Farke has in mind for Portman Road sat out the Cardiff victory, you would suggest not. Follow up the Bluebirds’ win by maintaining derby dominance and Norwich have a platform to push on beyond the international break.
All the pressure is on Hurst to pick up a first competitive win since replacing the much-maligned Mick McCarthy. Norwich’s long unbeaten streak against their neighbours must come to an end. At some point. That is inevitable. It was seconds away at Carrow Road last season before a delicious late twist involving Timm Klose. Prior to that game you could detect a palpable sense the time had come and the tide was turning.
The gap may well have narrowed - as the loss of Premier League revenue flattens the playing field - but do not underestimate the sense of unease in Suffolk. Norwich should forget about the weight of recent history. Just enjoy, boys.
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