Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 5-0 defeat against Manchester City
- Credit: PA
Paddy Davitt delivers his Manchester City verdict after Norwich City's 5-0 Premier League defeat.
1. Mitigation but too many mistakes
Given Norwich City started this game as 25/1 outsiders with some bookmakers the final outcome was hardly a surprise. The champions started at a furious lick. Norwich were two down inside 22 minutes, and a correct VAR over-rule from the official prevented a third.
Daniel Farke made a double change at the interval, and for a 20 minute spell this actually resembled a contest rather than cakewalk for Pep Guardiola’s side.
But the same lapses in concentration that allowed Liverpool to pull away in the second half of the opening weekend returned. Norwich were again punished for slackness at a defensive corner, and when Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez completed the rout there was a bedraggled look to the weary Canaries.
Farke is right now is not the time to judge. A terrible pre-season build up gave way to an opening pair of Premier League fixtures against title contenders. But the jury is out on whether there were enough positive glimmers from this latest top flight humbling for the battles ahead.
Fixtures Norwich not only need to be competitive but picking up points, allied to self-belief.
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2. Gear change for Giannoulis
The Greek international was badly exposed by Gabriel Jesus for the opening two goals. Giannoulis afforded him far too much room and space.
Alas, those defensive question marks have been evident since his arrival in England.
At Championship level, Norwich had too much for opponents going the other way. This league, especially against these superstars, is a brutal examination.
Giannoulis on the front foot in a team going forward is a huge asset with his attacking adventure and athletic urgings. He was good in that regard against Liverpool, but he was also caught ball-watching for the Reds’ second goal.
There was more of that on show when Jesus latched onto a ball played inside to cross for Jack Grealish to bundle home. The pending arrival of Brandon Williams and a second 45 minute cameo for Bali Mumba, in place of Giannoulis, should serve as a warning there is a battle heating up for the left back berth.
Giannoulis needs to display far more defensive resolution to supplement his attacking instincts.
3. Learning curve for Bali
Mumba looked assured in the visitors’ best spell immediately after his half-time arrival.
There were two key far post interceptions, when the ball came across the Norwich six yard box, and Jesus sensed further opportunities. He also offered width and balance higher up the pitch with a cushioned volley that set Milot Rashica on his way. But the hosts fourth and fifth goals exposed his naivety and underlined the gulf in the speed of movement and thought of these world class operators.
But if Mumba can handle being exposed in this high class environment then the future looks bright for the young defender.
There is no doubt Farke sees something he can mould into a talent good enough to hold down a regular spot in this Norwich line up. For now, his task is to accept any chance, big or small, to stake a claim for greater involvement.
4. Happy Gilmour
Norwich’s quest for a defensively-minded central midfield option looks key for multiple reasons. Not only to afford their back four some respite and much-needed protection at Premier League level. But also, perhaps, to release Gilmour to focus more on his work with the ball.
The Scot put his shoulder to the wheel again, with Manchester City sticking Norwich’s midfielders on that carousel for long spells, but against the lesser sides in this league Gilmour’s value will grow if he can dictate the tempo and start to ask opponents more probing questions.
Lukas Rupp was hooked at the break and Kenny McLean, over the piece, should offer a more robust barrier.
Pierre Lees-Melou was as good as any in green and yellow, but he is not cut from the same cloth as an Olly Skipp or an Alex Tettey in his prime.
Farke again reiterated on Friday that is one of the missing pieces of the jigsaw. For the balance of this Norwich side, and for the potential to release Gilmour, they need to find it.
5. Bournemouth bonus
Farke now has the chance to get minutes into some of his new boys, old boys and harness that winning feeling all in one hit when they host Bournemouth in the League Cup at Carrow Road.
Certainly for players like Josh Sargent or Christos Tzolis, a lengthy first outing in green and yellow should bring fringe benefits for the Premier League tussles on the horizon.
The Cherries should be in the shake up for promotion from the Championship under Scott Parker, but after gruelling examinations against Liverpool and Manchester City, it is a prime opportunity for the Canaries to get some forward momentum to roll into Leicester City’s Carrow Road Premier League visit.
NCFC Extra: Sargent relishing Norwich City challenge