Norwich 3 : 2 Swindon
We'd expect the managers of every team we play against to have done their homework on us, right? In the same way we would expect Farke to have analysed the opposition we're to face and to have imparted his newly found wisdom to his players - looking to exploit any apparent weakness.
It seemed to me, watching the game tonight that the Swindon Manager, David Flitcroft, had certainly done his job.
After the first 10 minutes I said to my mate: 'We're going to thrash them.' This 'claim' was on the back of the space the Swindon fullbacks were affording Murphy on the right and Hoolahan on the left. With Pinto and Husband also pushing forward I felt it was only a matter of time that a good cross wold be met by Jerome or perhaps a cut in and shot would deliver the goods.
But Flitcroft seemed to relinquish this space in favour of swamping the middle of the box, middle of the pitch. Yet - with all that space nothing transpired. No cross, no shot. It was constantly and consistently played back into the centre to try and find a way through the middle. Our MO was so clear to see that it felt that Flitcroft had been able to concede the wide areas without ramification as if he'd established we just wouldn't bother to cross or a long range shot.
In fact I don't remember a shot from Norwich until the 21st minute when Murphy had a couple of half-chances.
This was my criticism from the Brighton game - another, possession heavy match without any end product. No decent attempts.
Swindon should have taken the lead before that when Marcel Franke slipped and handed a one on one with Angus Gunn to Harry Smith. Smith took it round Gunn, but crucially Gunn fell on the shot, it squirmed under him and was trickling over the line when my man-of-the-match James Maddison cleared it off the line.
Maddison's efforts came to nought though when just a few minutes later Swindon were awarded a free kick and the floaty ball delivered in was met by Olly Lancashire.
Norwich 0 : 1 Swindon
The lead lasted only 3 minutes when a very crisp move saw Jerome played through by Maddison for a simple tap-in. We were clearly trying to walk it in and, certainly, that was the goal our style of play warranted.
Norwich 1 : 1 Swindon
In a way it added a gloss to the team tactics. We had managed to pass through Swindon and suddenly they were on the ropes. We upped the pace, starting playing neat triangles around them and looked like we would score at every opportunity. We promptly did.
Murphy nutmegged one of the Swindon players and played in Husband down the left, who passed to Hoolahan, who then played the sweetest one-two with Maddison to find himself one-on-one with Vigoroux. There was only going to be one winner.
Norwich 2 : 1 Swindon.
It was three just a few minutes later when the double team of Maddison and Hoolahan were again the protagonists. This time it was favour returned as Hoolahan's exquisite pass left Maddison with the space to ram home our current dominance.
I was frustrated just before half time though when it appeared to me that Murphy had a great chance to make it four - but he seemed to try and lift the ball over the last defender in some sort of showboating move. As I say, I might have been mistaken - but it certainly looked like he could have just had a shot on the half-volley.
Half time Norwich 3 : 1 Swindon.
After the break I was looking for a continuation of the dominance we had shown in the last 20 minutes of the first-half.
What we got instead was a repeat of the first 25. Dross.
City became increasingly desperate to unlock the Swindon defence rather than just shoot. Swindon pressed and we struggled to find the space for the clever passes. We were warned. Again and again Swindon pressed Norwich into mistakes but didn't capitalise. Our insistence on playing it out from the back looked to have back-fired when a stray pass let in a Swindon attacker one on one with Gunn. Angus not only stopped the shot - he promptly stopped the rebounded effort. Sorry I haven't researched who had the Swindon attempts.
The Robins got a second in the 62 minute. Paul Mullin getting the better of Zimmerman to angle another floated free kick past a stranded Gunn. Not the Carrow Road debut Bryan was hoping for his son. (in a competitive match)
Norwich 3 : 2 Swindon
Norwich had nothing in the way of chances. I couldn't help feeling that we were missing the two-footed talents of Nelson Oliviera. (That's another article I need to write later)
Instead we had Mario Vrancic finally having a few digs from range. Even Murphy found another 5 minutes of decent attempts - which I was really pleased to see.
Jerome was taken out by Vigoroux on the edge of the box. It was probably the right decision to allow him to stay on. I was in line with the foul and it was definitely outside the box - so a good decision by the ref, but another day that could have been a red card.
Overall a very, very poor second half. We've got to find a better balance, IMHO, on the possession style and a more direct, have a shot, type football. Until we find a way to smooth the waters with Lord Nelson, or find another striker that can produce the goods we're reliant on our midfielders wading in with a couple of dozen goals. They'll need to shoot if they want that to happen.
Still, we're in the next round and a win is a win.
Norwich 3 : 2 Swindon