Norwich have come from nowhere this season to become firm promotion contenders. Billy Grant caught up with Tom from Along Come Norwich (@AlongComeNodge) blog to get the lowdown on Norwich’s start to the season. Why the fans are now believing in the Farke way. And whether Pukki and Rhodes are going to fire Norwich to play playoffs.
Norwich have had a slow start to the season but now seem to be firing on all cylinders. What do you put this down to?
It was another period of adjustment for the squad with focal point James Madisson moving on. But whilst the results weren’t what we wanted them to be, we have been controlling pretty much every game all season. The only exceptions were the losses to Leeds and West Brom, the latter of which was like a 5-a-side game. The lack of any defending from either team would have had Alan Hanson in tears. The belief comes from the team ethic – the sum of our parts now is greater than last year where one superstar was looked to for every assist goal and point.
You have a somewhat changed side from the team that played Brentford last season. Have these been changes for the better?
On the whole, yes. Pukki (injured on international break) and Rhodes up front have delivered goals and more crucially link up play that we sorely missed last season. Mo Leitner has stepped out of Madisson’s shadow with aplomb. He has completed the most passes in TYhe Championship, he never seems hurried and has been dubbed the sat nav of our team. Last season he didn’t get set pieces and was constantly just expected to give it to Madders so he didn’t get to pull the strings like he has been this term.
You have a number of young players who are poking their head above the parapet. Any young prospect you feel can go all the way?
Norwich have a great history of bringing through youth talent and giving them a chance early (and selling at the right time). Jamal Lewis is an outstanding international left back who will be in the Premier League next season. Either with us or via a £15m plus transfer he is that good and on a nice juicy 5 year deal to push his value up.
Max Arrons is the right back and made his senior debut this season away at the scum. Since then he has retained the shirt, keeping the former club captain Ivo Pinto out of the team. Like Lewis he plays the game like a veteran – great defensively whilst also being technically outstanding (the minimum expected of a Farke player) and thrilling going forward.
There is no doubt we have benefited from freshening up the squad with more youth – we still have enough leaders and experience to keep them calm in adversity and we actually have cut out conceding goals in quick succession this season).
Fans weren’t sure about Daniel Farke last season. Has he proved the doubters wrong?
I was appointed Doubter-In-Chief and I’m running out of things to be suspicious about. He makes subs earlier, makes fewer like for like ineffectual subs and we’ve increased the tempo from monotonous to patient. I dont think he handled the senior pros or their departure from the club with the respect they were due and that won’t be forgiven. But, its further to the back of my mind as we are seeing his methods working in results and consistently dominating performances. Against Villa on Tuesday our winning goal came from an 18 pass move including two back heels, every outfield player touched the ball before Jordan banged it in, what’s not to like?
You were impressed with Leeds when you played them – billing them as playoff certainties. Since then your form has really picked up. Do you think promotion is a reality?
That is the one game where we have truly been played off the park. They seemed to really have an identity that day and ironically that’s actually our strength now. You know what Farke’s team will deliver week in week out now and in the last 10 games no-one has had an answer to it.
The Blades and Stoke were battered and held on, fair play to them. We can make the playoffs because we have multiple goal threats, a visible team spirit and hard working attitude that reminds me of city teams of the past who have overachieved thanks to the overall sum of their parts.
I wouldn’t predict it yet, but the good run has lasted long enough (and without our 1st choice CB and winger who have been injured) to suggest that we will be there or thereabouts throughout the season.
It’s Farke’s Fledglings come up against Thomas’ Tiddlings on Saturday. A lot of youngsters on the pitch. We both like to see a lot of the ball. How will the game pan out? Give us a score prediction
Norwich have a lot of momentum and a striker in form. Our talismanic winger Onel is likely to return from injury to start for the first time in weeks. You need 2 goals to stand a chance of an away point.
Short of any bonkers injury or penalties / refereeing calamity I can’t see past a 3-1 comfortable win for the Canaries.
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