A week ago, Norwich City dismantled a high-flying Middlesbrough side who were unbeaten prior to that fixture at Carrow Road.
Since then, momentum has been discovered, the mood music has drastically changed, and Norwich are operating with some effective and aesthetically pleasing football. A cup run can now be added to the highlights of a very productive and pleasing week for the Canaries.
However, this game will require an inquest as to the nature of how Norwich’s control transcended into them becoming the protagonists of their own downfall.
Questions need to be asked as to how Norwich allowed Wycombe back into the tie despite possessing the comfort of both a two and three goal advantage at differing points during the game.
For extensive periods, Norwich were dominant.
Playing slick and attractive football, scoring goals through the prolific Jordan Rhodes and leading the hosts 4-1 meant seemingly being able to enjoy the latter stages of this fixture. Yet Norwich provided Wycombe a route back into the game, and the introduction of the seasoned Adebayo Akinfenwa offered an alternative dimensional to Wycombe’s offensive play that they weren’t anticipating.
Professionalism and composure severely lacked from a Norwich side lacking minutes, yet defensively, they leaked goals and invited pressure when they were comfortably in command.
They’ve seen out games against Middlesbrough, Reading and QPR with relative comfort. Daniel Farke ensured streetwise operators were on the pitch to close out those games in the Championship.
Primarily, they were able to negotiate through the tie, and get themselves into the hat for the next round, that is the headline. The manner of Norwich’s minor implosion will anger Farke. They were in cruise control and making their higher league standing count whilst playing some exhilarating offensive football for prolonged spells.
Just heard the Rhodes interview. Does he sound like the nicest bloke in the world? Even criticised the ref in the nicest possible way!?Great to hear! #ncfc
— Mike Ward (@mjtward19) September 25, 2018
Defensive frailties reared their ugly heads once more, if Norwich hold any aspirations of competing for the Playoffs in the Championship, then that is a head they must ensure gets left purely cup competitions.
Responsibility must be taken for the manner of the collapse witnessed at Adams Park. Yes, Norwich won the tie, but a 4-1 win would have ensured momentum is carried forward without any degree of self-doubt.
Norwich’s midfield succumbed to the physicality and got dragged down to the League One side level whilst sacrificing the width to involve themselves in a battle whereby Wycombe held the better cards.
Negatively aside, Norwich did win the fixture.
It was an entertaining and authentic cup tie for those neutrals who opted to consume this fixture. That incredible travelling contingent would have had a heart rate in a constant state of flux due to the nature of Norwich’s defensive errors and lapses of concentration which provided the hosts with a glimmer of hope.
These mistakes are better off becoming evident in cup competitions as oppose to league football. The only thing that truly mattered was progression and avoiding major injury to their key protagonists, both of those factors have been achieved.
One man who deserves praise is Jordan Rhodes.
Rhodes has been forced to buy his time due to the form of Finnish striker Teemu Pukki. His contributions off the bench have been selfless and helped with that process of ensuring Norwich see out games with efficiently.
Some at Norwich decide to sulk and elect to show their frustration at the philosophy by shooting from 40 yards wastefully instead of contributing and working hard.
Others knuckle down, accept the judgement of their head coach and do all they can to help the team whilst sharing celebrations with the other striker in form. That breeds togetherness, the egotistical case study previously mentioned only divides a camp and breeds negativity.
Norwich City at Wycombe Wanderers tonight #NCFC #OTBC pic.twitter.com/pgZD73y1sj
— FootballAwaydays (@Awaydays23) September 25, 2018
Rhodes has displayed an incredible attitude to understand why he is on the bench. He, to his credit, has chosen to push Pukki through his appearances and provide Norwich with a genuine option should Pukki’s fine form decline.
Professional, confident and determined.
He thrives on chances in the box. Rhodes is a manipulator of space inside the penalty area with a prowess and intelligence that makes him a nightmare to defend against.
Rhodes is the epitome of a confidence player.
When he arrived on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, his numerical records were a graphic illustration of the pedigree and experience he would bring to Carrow Road. It was expensive, and he sacrificed financial gain to don yellow and green. Rhodes deserves tremendous credit.
Togetherness is so pivotal to success in the Championship.
Those who don’t have the option to loosen the purse strings and splash the cash need to seek marginal gains where ever possible. Having a team who are willing to work relentlessly for each other and are respected among their peers can prove the difference between three points and one.
As mentioned previously, mistakes in this fixture will be favoured over appearing on Saturday against Wigan and can be, hopefully, put down to the fact this Norwich team hasn’t operated together consistently.
Progression was the desired outcome. Ensuring Norwich maintained this vibrant run of form and rewarding those 1,300 supporters who made the trip to Wycombe with a fourth-round tie on the horizon to compliment the upward mobility discovered in the league.
A huge thank you to Jake Mann for allowing us to use his picture for the article this evening. He is available to follow on Twitter: @JakeNCFCMann11.
Hopefully you've got our next event 25th Oct in your diaries, some of our regulars suggested we try something different & this certainly is, you won't want to miss this one & yes its hosted as usual by @eadie11 . All will be revealed at the weekend, RT's appreciated
— NCFSC (@NorwichCityFSC) September 24, 2018