Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-0 Premier League defeat to Wolves
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 00:00 24 February 2020
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Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Wolves verdict after the Canaries’ 3-0 Premier League defeat
1. Maybe appearances are not deceptive
Quite rightly Norwich have earned plenty of praise from all quarters, despite a prolonged spell either side of the festive games when there were unable to marry performances with points.
But this offering was limp, woeful, lacking in self belief, leadership or quality.
To turn in a sub-standard effort after a brave riposte against Liverpool simply beggars belief. It frankly looked like a set of players who did not believe the 'little miracle' is possible.
Or that they could barely force Wolves to even slip out of first gear.
But for Tim Krul's shot stopping ability Wolves would have been out of sight by the interval. It took five minutes after the restart to add a third, when Kenny McLean coughed up possession in his own half and Raul Jimenez slammed home a rebound.
To turn in such an anaemic offering, after some favourable results elsewhere involving relegation rivals on Saturday, raised more questions than answers. From Daniel Farke downwards. A true low point this season.
2. Short memories. Short corners
Given how Wolves scored at Carrow Road and their incessant use of short corners in that 2-1 away win one might have expected Farke's side to be fully briefed.
But the manner of Wolves' second at Molineux typified a laboured, sluggish approach to the visitors' first half work.
The hosts worked a short corner with no pressure from a red shirt. Leander Dendoncker then kept the ball alive inside the City penalty box before Romain Saiss cut the ball across at the back post to the same space for the unmarked Diogo Jota to grab his second.
A truly awful lack of collective and individual responsibility.
You really did have to question whether Farke's side actually realised the gravity of the situation, in that defining first period, as the games run out and the Championship looms into view.
3. Buendia balance
Farke's very forensic pre-match analysis of Emi Buendia's perceived shortcomings must have been a calculated gamble from the head coach.
Perhaps a message he had already delivered in private to the Argentine, and to anyone else in this current Norwich squad who perhaps have started to avert their gaze to what might happen in the summer.
That is meant as a personal slight to Buendia but, allied to Stuart Webber's comments on who controls what happens this summer if transfer speculation turns into tangible interest, it felt in recent days a concerted attempt to sharpen the focus of this squad for the run in.
Buendia did arrive just short of the hour mark, after a less than convincing display from Lukas Rupp. He was not alone.
This game might have already gone, but what happens between now and the end of the campaign, regarding Buendia's game time and influence, offers an interesting sub-plot. But the omens do not look good as Buendia turned and headed straight for the tunnel on the final whistle.
4. A keeper at all costs
When, rather than if, as it seems, Norwich return to the Championship City's top brass will have to minimise the turbulence to a squad which will inevitably need to be refreshed for the fresh challenge ahead.
But within that, there must also be some constants, some reassuring hooks to peg another tilt at promotion on. Krul is one of those. The experienced free transfer has been one of the few to maintain a consistency of performance at Premier League levels.
The tone was set at Anfield on the opening night with a series of impressive stops that limited the final margin of defeat.
He denied Ruben Neves here with two superb free kick saves. Plus a late goalline parry from Matt Doherty.
But he was badly let down by the men in front.
Krul now looks set for a recall to the Holland squad for friendlies next month.
Impress in that environment and it is not beyond the realms he has a date at the European Championships to look forward to in the summer.
The type of shop window Norwich fans could do without. He must be part of the next phase.
5. Changing man?
Farke has been hugely loyal to the rump of the same team for the past few months in that elusive quest for results. Bar injury or suspension he has opted to occasionally tinker around the margins of his starting line up.
But none of the outfield players on display at Molineux could come knocking on the head coach's door if they are left out for Leicester City's visit to Carrow Road on Friday.
Farke may be a cool customer front of house but he can also blow behind closed doors.
There are plenty of examples during his City reign of players who have found themselves on the outside looking in after a difference of opinion with the German.
If this is as much about next season, as it is the rest of this, Farke may want to reflect on who is going to be with him on the journey and who is surplus to requirements.
Time might prove this result, or rather the manner of it, act as another watershed in his reign.
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