David Freezer: Six things you might have missed from Norwich City’s worrying loss at West Ham
PUBLISHED: 10:20 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:20 02 September 2019
After defeat at West Ham, David Freezer looks at the big Premier League issues for Norwich City.
1 - Reality check for Canaries
Let's kick-off with a degree of positivity and a reminder that this was the first time that City have lost back-to-back league matches in over a year.
Not since last August, when a 4-3 home loss to West Brom was followed by a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United, has that frustrating feeling of worry been present. Unfortunately an international break also allows that disappointment to fester for a fortnight.
Losing at West Ham brings an early test of that patience we all knew would be needed at times this season, a test of faith in the methods which have brought the Canaries to this point.
Stuart Webber made clear that City would be the poor relations of the top flight this season and losing 2-0 to a Hammers team with a £45m striker in Sebastien Haller and international talents such as Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini illustrates the Premier League strength.
West Ham look a top 10 team on this evidence, so there's no need to panic, yet.
2 - Referee missed far too much
In general I don't like to talk too much about referees after a game, as they have a difficult job on their hands.
How West Ham striker Haller didn't get booked for the late tackle which left Christoph Zimmermann on crutches though, has truly left me perplexed. To make matters worse, Paul Tierney didn't even give a free-kick.
With VAR only coming in for direct red card offences, I can accept a red card was debatable so there wasn't too much Andre Marriner could do at Stockley Park as he advised the official, but Haller could easily have walked for his poor tackle.
Add to the mix two dives from Andriy Yarmolenko, one under pressure from Todd Cantwell which was blatant, and somehow not awarding Haller a penalty when he was tripped in the box by City midfielder Tom Trybull, and it really wasn't the best performance from the Lancashire official.
Let's just hope the injury to Zimmermann isn't as bad as first feared.
3 - Incredible defensive moment
Before he was scythed down however, Zimmermann had reminded Canaries fans of just why he had become such a popular player in the last two seasons.
The big friendly German had shown the determination and spirit which meant the captain's armband had fitted perfectly on his bicep during City's Championship title triumph, becoming a genuine leader.
Fresh from returning from summer knee surgery in midweek and still just two and a half years since he was playing in the fourth tier of German football, a Premier League debut had arrived.
In the 16th minute the former Borussia Dortmund II man was proving he belonged, charging back after Cantwell had lost possession and launching himself through the air to slide in front of Anderson and block the Brazilian's shot behind for a corner.
The City fans behind the goal celebrated the block like it was a goal - with their captain back at the helm.
4 - Buendia looked an angry man
If one man summed up the frustration of Norwich City's afternoon at the London Stadium, it was Emi Buendia.
The talented playmaker is no stranger to a good strop, he wears his heart on his sleeve and struggles to conceal his emotions when things are going wrong.
So from the player who had offered a crucial creative edge to play a pivotal role in both goals during the 3-2 loss to Chelsea the previous weekend, the Argentine just could not settle.
From losing possession to Haller ahead of an early attack, to getting in the way of a Cantwell pass and prodding the ball straight to Yarmolenko ahead of the second goal, it was an afternoon to forget.
The 22-year-old was even giving up on chasing back to defend at points in the second half, which was unlike him. Thankfully his frustration didn't boil over and he did deny Issa Diop on the line, but we know Buendia is capable of much more.
5 - London can stop calling
As one positive run came to an end for the Canaries at the weekend, unfortunately a rather miserable record continued in the capital.
Daniel Farke's team were enjoying a club record streak of scoring in 30 consecutive league games but a failure to score at West Ham brought that run to end, which had started last December during the 3-1 home win over Rotherham.
City extended their run of games without a top-flight win in London to 19 matches, which stretches back to a 2-1 win at Tottenham in April 2012, when Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett scored the goals.
It's a stat flagged up by the excellent @OptaJoe on Twitter, which now stretches to 13 losses and six draws, conceding 38 goals in the process.
That is a typically Premier League focussed stat though, as City won 3-1 at Millwall in the Championship in March, but the opportunity to break that negative streak comes at Palace later this month.
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6 - Testing times for City boss
So how can Daniel Farke react to this off-colour performance from his team, lacking in the adventure and spirit which characterised last season's success in the Championship?
City have become the first team to concede 10 goals in the Premier League this season and were it not for a fine display from Tim Krul in the second half, it could have been worse.
A buccaneering attacking style will open up chances to win games when more winnable fixtures arrive but this display suggested a collective knock to the confidence.
Conceding an average of 2.5 goals a game cannot continue, that is relegation standards, yet until the injury situation is clear it's difficult to start scheming.
And next up it's none other than champions Manchester City, who score goals for fun. It may go against the grain but an attacking approach against Pep Guardiola's superb team is surely asking for trouble.
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