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Ian Clarke: Home is where the heart (of the problem) is for Norwich City

Todd Cantwell scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season during City's loss to Wolves Pictures: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Todd Cantwell scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season during City's loss to Wolves Pictures: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

I’m sure I was not the only Norwich City fan who left Carrow Road with a mixed up concoction of emotions after the defeat to Wolves.

With my yellow and green glasses on, we'd seen one of the best halves of football from our team for some time.

Emi Buendia turned in a performance we all knew he was capable of - and there was no surprise that he got the highest Premier League individual rating of the weekend from WhoScored.Com.

Dereham's finest Todd Cantwell scored his fifth goal of the campaign and showed what a complete player he is turning into with the incredible workrate and break up play, especially in the first half.

Grant Hanley silenced the doubters with a strong display.

It was another tough afternoon for the City fansIt was another tough afternoon for the City fans

And yet for all the positives, we walked away from the game empty handed and again reflecting on the cruel margins of top flight football.

Wolves were decent after the break, but not that brilliant. They were clinical when it mattered and had the street wise-ness to get the win.

It is now more than 100 days since the Canaries won at their home ground.

Remember Fortress Carra?

Kenny McLean rues a missed opportunity against WolvesKenny McLean rues a missed opportunity against Wolves

The thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City seems a long, long time ago, as does the breathless way we swept aside Newcastle.

Those wins alongside the 3-2 defeat against Chelsea, were the first three home games of the season.

Six points from three games - against teams now in the top nine - was a really decent start.

Add in scoring eight goals and playing with flair and confidence, and it seemed that for all the concerns around City on their travels, home form would provide a sound foundation on which to build a survival plan.

Daniel Farke consoles Teemu PukkiDaniel Farke consoles Teemu Pukki

Since then Daniel Farke's men have managed just one point from six games in NR1.

We have scored only six and let in 16.

The reversals against Villa and Watford - who clearly are two of our main 'mini league' opponents - were particularly galling.

To lose 5-1 to Dean Smith's team was a real hammer blow,

The home fans get behind their side during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
21/12/2019The home fans get behind their side during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 21/12/2019

And the loss to Watford - which was their first three points of the season - was annoying to say the least, especially when they played a third of the game with 10 men.

Spurs at home on Saturday will see us into the second half of the home fixtures.

Jose Mourinho's men are certainly beatable - they've won two, drawn three and lost four of their away games this season.

But it will be tough.

The Norwich fans during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
21/12/2019The Norwich fans during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 21/12/2019

If we're going to prolong our stay at football's top table we've simply got to start getting more at home, especially when getting ahead in games.

Against Arsenal, City twice took the lead, only to be pegged back on each occasion.

The Sheffield United and Wolves games saw the Canaries dominate the opening 45 minutes but see deserved leads thrown away.

At half time in those three matches we were in line to get nine points - and ended up with just one.

The frustration was obvious for Tom Trybull after Wolves scored a winner to complete their comeback at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesThe frustration was obvious for Tom Trybull after Wolves scored a winner to complete their comeback at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich have the joint worst home record in the Premier League, which is a real concern.

And other stats don't give encouragement.

Saturday was the first time City had lost consecutive homes that they led at half time since 1939.

It was the first time they had conceded more than one goal in eight consecutive home matches.

The Norwich fans before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
21/12/2019The Norwich fans before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 21/12/2019

(Thanks @ncfcnumbers for the info).

Looking back, even in previous relegation seasons City have given themselves a fighting chance with the points tally at Carra.

In 2015/16, we amassed 23 points (six wins and five draws) and 2013/14 was 24 (six wins and six draws).

The previous year - when the Canaries ended up 11th - they got an impressive 31 points (eight wins, seven draws and only four losses).

The Norwich fans before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
21/12/2019The Norwich fans before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 21/12/2019

I really don't want to drink from a half glass full tankard during this festive season.

If we can gain revenge against Villa and then pick up points against Tottenham and Palace, then we must still have hope of saving ourselves in 2020.

But when we get off to such a good start in home games, Farke's troops have to find a way to manage games better.

Zonal marking is clearly the head coach's preferred style of defence. If he's going to stick with that, everyone must do their job.

Grant Hanley refused to be too downbeat after City's 2-1 defeat against Wolves. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesGrant Hanley refused to be too downbeat after City's 2-1 defeat against Wolves. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Right, come on City let's prolong those periods of dominance, finish off those gilt edged chances and keep awake.

The fans have generally been patient, even during the poor run.

The atmosphere was great in the first half against Wolves - and rightly so.

Let's raise the roof against Spurs and Palace, especially if all isn't going well.

Cantwell has scored six Premier League goals this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdCantwell has scored six Premier League goals this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

OTBC.

Martin was such a stylish legend

Of all the stylish, skilful and elegant players I have seen in a Norwich City shirt over the last 40 or so years, Martin Peters was the finest.

It was right at the beginning of my supporting life that the World Cup winner first arrived at Carrow Road - and what a coup it was to get him.

The 1970s was a tough period when no-nonsense players thrived, pitches were generally poor and it was far from easy to express themselves with flair.

Martin managed to do that - and beautifully so.

He had the nickname of the ghost as he managed to glide without often being seen.

Martin's passing ability was incredible and he clearly gave confidence to his team-mates to express themselves as well.

It has been a sad time for Norwich City with the passing of Duncan Forbes, Ron Saunders and now Martin.

All of them in their own ways gave so much to our club.

I have previously said we should have a memorial to Dunc and Ron - and we need to permanently remember Martin too.

We must be united on racism

I still shudder when I think back to the horrors of racism that I experienced as a young football fan.

The songs, chants and things thrown from the terraces were truly shocking.

We had hoped that the disease had been stamped out in this country.

We've seen lots of very unpleasant situations in other places and some commentators have put it down to those nations being behind in waking up to how abhorrent racism is.

In certain circles there has been a misplaced perception that we have got things sorted in Britain.

Sadly that is clearly not the case and the events at the Tottenham v Chelsea match remind us of that.

So what do we do about it?

The new tannoy announcements and threats of players walking off are positive steps forward.

But we all need to take responsibility and strongly challenge any words or behaviour we see and hear which are remotely racist. We must be united.

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