A two month wait and weeks of frustration have finally ended with a victory against Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite a desperate and forgettable first half showing from a Canaries side weighed down by an abysmal run of form which has seen them slump into the bottom half of the table, Norwich eventually came away with three points on a cold Saturday evening in Norfolk.
A poor first half which saw the Canaries display a lack of energy and movement restricted offensive efforts, despite a guilt edged chance for Nelson Oliveira.
From tepid to tempo, Norwich displayed serious character and application of tactical tweaks in the second period which led to a victory which was required to lift the spirits of supporters rapidly feeling apathy and a sense of disconnect.
The lateral passing was a by-product of a lack of midfield manoeuvre. In the opening period, Norwich was devoid of a connection between the thirds of the pitch which led to a sense of disequilibrium being strikingly evident throughout the first half.
It was another cold serving of predictable dross in the first half. Those who have followed City this season would have laughed off any suggestion of a free scoring half incoming from the usually profligate Canaries. With the relationship between club and supporters straining once more, this was a timely victory for Norwich.
Those who patience has been worn away from a severe lack of entertainment missed Norwich scoring three goals in the league for the first time this season. Few could blame those loyalists who questioned whether to take their seat at Carrow Road in light of repeatedly poor displays from Norwich.
If they can maintain that display of vibrancy and offensively minded performance which graced Carrow Road’s turf in the second half, then goals will arrive in numbers for Norwich. This three goal salvo was refreshing and desperately needed, particularly in light of supporters being told to sit down this week to comply with safety regulations.
The tactical modifications played a major factor in the blossoming of vibrancy upon Norwich’s game. Daniel Farke’s initial selection was questionable. A vexed fan base became more united with every offensive sequence, those told to sit did the conflicting as Maddison, Klose and Oliveira scored to topple the Owls.
The press resembled a gegenpress with Norwich opting to zonally press as a unit, thus restricting Wednesday’s distribution from defence.
The increased desire to press Sheffield Wednesday following the interval came direct from the dugout.
This increased tempo allowed Norwich to dispossess Wednesday in more advanced areas. In turn, this allowed Norwich’s technical players to flourish with Wednesday back peddling.
Lateral possession became decisive and purposeful. Midfield passiveness became tenacity and drive. James Maddison will be lauded and rightly so, but Harrison Reed resembled a terrier. Reed covered every blade of grass, dispossessing those in blue and white and seeking to get Norwich on the front foot.
His colleague in the midfield, Mario Vrancic, had arguably his most impressive performance whilst donning yellow and green. The Bosnian has been heavily criticised, and rightly so, but Vrancic was much improved on and off the ball. Perhaps he is starting to adapt…
Another man fronting up following a tirade of abuse is Nelson Oliveria.
From the best striker in the division to one whose attitude lingers and leaves a lot to be desired, Oliveria’s performance resembled a player on a poor run of form. Oliveria is a top operator, he displayed glimpses of quality over the piece and when Reed was subsequently hacked down in the area, there was no question who would take the penalty.
Norwich displayed so much more intensity and direction when in possession of the ball, whilst defending from the front in an aggressive and hostile manner. They needed differentiation and a rocket after the abysmal first half and the punters were delighted to consume it. Hopefully Farke can implement this more consistently.
Hopes must not be raised significantly however, as Norwich’s disequilibrium and ugly side reared its all too familiar head in the first half. To proclaim statements of revival may be untimely, with Leeds the next destination, Norwich need to continue with caution.
Josh Murphy is a player devoid of all confidence and requires protection from his head coach. He resembles a shadow of himself prior to Middlesbrough and he now requires a period out of the firing line. With every murmur of criticism, Murphy’s lack of cognition heightens. These players are human beings, and Murphy requires protection.
He proved the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes as he revived Norwich’s performance and dragged his teammates to victory. Every dip of the shoulder, every segment of technical quality and movement personifies class. The looming transfer window will provide an interesting epoch for Maddison as he will be invariably be linked to Premier League bigwigs.
Yet, despite Norwich’s underwhelming campaign, this man continuously provides snippets of sheer quality. Maddison is an exciting prospect, arguably one of the best Norwich has seen from some time.
Norwich must resist temptation however. With the season still hanging by a thread, Norwich need results more than financial gain and extracting him leaves Norwich inept in regards of offensive. Maintaining Maddison’s services must be of the highest priority for Norwich.
Timm Klose and Grant Hanley are quietly constructing an impressive partnership in City’s backline. Hanley’s brazen and no nonsense style combined with Klose’s technical quality complement each other perfectly.
It’s finally nice to write in the aftermath of a Norwich win.