Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat at Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 15:22 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:12 01 November 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the south-coast
1. Warm words, cold comfort
It was unprompted and they were the first soundbites Eddie Howe uttered in his post-match debrief. Itunderlined the scale of Norwich City’s efforts Howe felt compelled to pay a glowing tribute to the Canaries as they departed the Carabao Cup.
Until the FA Cup comes around again in January it is very much ‘time to concentrate on the league’ but in that particular endeavour Howe felt moved to suggest ‘they will take some stopping in the Championship if they perform like that’.
Howe knows exactly what it takes to get out of the second tier and then establish his club in the Premier League.
His opinion should count.
Perhaps it is best not to focus not on those missed chances and defensive naivety in the crucial moments. If Howe can see what is building, then so should Norwich City fans.
2. Mario’s timing is perfect
In the interests of accentuating the positives from cup woe, Mario Vrancic’s display could catapult him straight into the Norwich midfield for this weekend’s Championship trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
With Marco Stiepermann and Todd Cantwell both struggling to recover from injury there might be a vacancy or two. Tom Trybull may feel he deserves a chance but Vrancic was by some distance the best Norwich player against Bournemouth.
From the opening exchanges there was an appetite for work and plenty of energy and endeavour. The quality on the ball is never in question, and there was a lengthy showreel of clever movements and probing crosses fired into Artur Boruc’s penalty area. Not forgetting his own series of attempted shots. All in all, a strong body of evidence for Daniel Farke to consider in the days ahead.
3. Pleasure and pain
It’s been quite a week or so for Jordan Rhodes. That match-winning brace against Aston Villa rightly earned him headlines and gratitude from all quarters.
But another tame penalty saved at home to Brentford and then a glaring stoppage time miss to peg back the Cherries will prove tough to take.
Particularly as Rhodes is now ineligible under the terms of his loan deal for Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
The smart money would be on Teemu Pukki re-establishing his rightful claim to lead the line after his late cameo at Bournemouth. Rhodes may not get a chance for a while to turn the page.
He may have plenty of time to stew on that near post header which dropped off target deep in stoppage time.
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4. Oh no, Ivo
Spare a thought or two for the Portuguese full back. He has gone from Farke’s captain and leader last season to Max Aarons’ deputy.
Add in a few injuries, which have hindered his progress, perhaps the roll out of the homegrown rule, which counts against Pinto in the Championship, and maybe even a sense time has already moved on for a player entering the final year of his current Carrow Road deal.
If Aarons is indeed the present and the future it is hard to see where Pinto fits into the equation. The 28-year-old has now played two senior games since August 25. He has many attributes, in the modern mould of full back play, but perhaps defending is not his strongest suit.
That desire to push high up the pitch brought unwanted consequences as Bournemouth countered with the game goalless. Jermain Defoe’s reverse pass picked out Junior Stanislas, with the freedom of Pinto’s flank, to drive into the box and lash the opening goal beyond Michael McGovern. If Aarons’ continues to shine it is tough to see when he gets back in.
5. Hillsborough hoodoo. Something has to give
A trip to the Owls might just be what Farke and his players need for a cup pick-me-up.
Let’s face it, those who were involved on the final day of last season must be desperate to set the record straight on a ground which has brought nothing but heavy blows to the goals against column during recent visits.
At least they do not have to worry about Rhodes plundering in blue and white strips on this occasion.
The hosts need a win after a downturn in form which has tempered the rising optimism in that part of South Yorkshire. The sight of bitter rivals United leading the way must be a further pressure point. Norwich need to turn such factors to their advantage.
So far this season every City defeat has been followed with a victory. Manage that at Hillsborough and the disappointment of losing a cup tie they should, in all probability have won, will swiftly recede.