Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 0-0 FA Cup third round draw against Chelsea
PUBLISHED: 00:55 07 January 2018 | UPDATED: 00:55 07 January 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Half-measures - Chelsea may have rested their big guns and the tempo left much to be desired until the second period but credit to Daniel Farke and his Norwich battlers. City were well-drilled, organised and carried a sporadic threat on the counter. This was a chess match at times rather than a rip-roaring FA Cup third round tie but Norwich get to do it all again on the grandest of stages. Whether Farke wanted another game to add to the fixture list is a different matter.
2. Three n’easy - Farke clearly favoured a back three when he first arrived in these parts.
That was the system of choice throughout pre-season but abandoned in those faltering early weeks of the Championship. The decision to match up with Chelsea was astute enough from the head coach but it might just be dusted off again over the second part of the Championship season.
With Ivo Pinto and Jamal Lewis comfortable in those wing back berths and Sean Raggett now added to the ranks of City’s healthy centre back stocks it could just be a formation Farke returns to more often than not.
3. How old? - Talking of Lewis, this was fresh evidence of the teenage full back’s maturity and ability to share the pitch with some world class talent.
Chelsea may have dipped into their shadow squad but Lewis still found himself up against the likes of internationals in Willian and Davide Zappacosta.
His willingness to take the ball in tight areas and find a man in yellow was a notable feature of the first half.
There was also an incident in the second period when he coaxed a foul out of Zappacosta to break up the play. Captain Pinto said prior to the game his young team mate can play at the highest level. He certainly did not look out of place against the high rollers.
4. Food for thought - Farke’s switch to a three saw Josh Murphy preferred to Nelson Oliveira in the one change from the team that beat Millwall on New Year’s Day. Murphy is in a confident vein at present and deployed in that advanced role he was the brightest attacking outlet in the first half.
There was less involvement after the interval when Chelsea stepped up the pace before Oliveira’s arrival, but Murphy has all the raw material to operate in that central role as his game continues to develop. With Oliveira and Cameron Jerome both touted with possible exits in the transfer window, Murphy’s versatility may be priceless in the months ahead.
5. Bubbling along - Back to league business next and a trip to promotion-chasing Bristol City but four games unbeaten is a signal with key players not fit and a consistency to selection, Farke’s squad is capable of improvement and upward mobility.
The feeling inside the camp this season has always been City’s radical overhaul on and off the pitch was always going to prove a long term process.
Harness genuine reliability from here and it can still be prove to be a season of promise.
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