Norwich Taking Backward Steps
Norwich City appear to have taken several steps backwards in just seven days.
Prior to the first of three consecutive defeats, against Derby County, Wolves and now Bolton, City were on a decent run that had taken them to sixth in the table with away wins at Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Ipswich in their pocket.
There had even been a near giant killing at The Emirates but eventually losing 2-1 there was no disgrace.
Now though, the picture is far from rosy. You could accept the two defeats at the hands of Derby and Wolves, especially the latter. However, Saturday`s defeat against Bolton, propping up the table at kick off, was a very worrying regression into the bad old days of poor away defeats under Alex Neil.
We look bereft of confidence going forwards and have only one fit striker in Cameron Jerome. Cam has proven himself at this level in the past but he`s got just one goal in fifteen, yep, FIFTEEN appearances for City this season and that is frankly pathetic for a striker.
At Bolton he had three very good chances. He could be forgiven for a good save made by Ben Alnwick in the first half but just a minute later, he was guilty of an absolutely shocking miss from 10 yards when he failed to hit the target, firing woefully wide with the goal at his mercy.
This is the sort of thing that is costing us at the moment. A lack of confidence in front of goal that was underlined in the second half when Josh Murphy went one on one with Alnwick from a great Maddison ball over the top, only to fire straight at the Bolton keeper and then scuff the rebound wide as well.
With every passing game and missed chance, Nelson Oliveira`s stature grows by doing nothing and Jerome`s reputation takes hit after hit among the Canary nation.
The thing with Oliveira is that he doesn`t need loads of chances to score, he is a reliable finisher and usually hits the target. He is badly missed.
I am struggling to see too much difference between the 4-2-3-1 that Daniel Farke plays compared to that employed previously by Alex Neil, apart from the fact that Neil`s formation had goals in them. This current side need to defend perfectly because if we don`t score first then we`re in trouble. We certainly should`ve scored first at the Macron, shouldn`t we, Cam?
The recent revival was kick started by the return of Alex Tettey to the starting XI and how he is missed. His ability to sense trouble and deal with it before it gets too serious is invaluable. Harrison Reed is better on the ball but not such an imposing physical presence or athlete.
Daniel Farke worked miracles after the Millwall drubbing during the following international break and he needs to do so again. City just aren`t enough of a threat and I`m sure we`re all desperately hoping that Nelson`s back, groin, teeth or whatever it is that`s causing his injury woes can be pinpointed and dealt with as soon as possible.
The return of the Portuguese firebrand to the side, along with Tettey and Alex Pritchard cannot come soon enough. Tettey is likely to be another month though and Pritchard around the same. In the meantime, we`re stuck with a blank firing Jerome and a side overly reliant on the young James Maddison.
Remember last season how Antonio Conte changed formation at Chelsea after a series of poor results and went on to win the league? Well, maybe a change of identity and formation on the pitch is what we need. The current Canary side are able to keep the goals conceded down, well, they were, but just aren`t enough of a threat.
Is it just me or is anyone else wondering if the likes of Abrahams, Fonkeu or Phillips from the U23s might be worth a go? Even if only starting on the bench.
Adam Phillips has had some rave reviews for the development side, so why not get him more involved? I could be just clutching at straws because I`m as disappointed as the next fan at the moment.
Scoring goals has to be a priority or you won`t win games. Farke needs to address that quickly or we can kiss goodbye to the top six and any chance of promotion.