There were two ways of looking at the Canaries' start to the season before Saturday's clash with Cardiff.
On the positive side, City had played five games, won three – albeit courtesy of a penalty shoot-out in one of them – drawn one and lost one.
On paper, not bad at all.
The flip-side to that though would be the fact that only four points had been secured from the opening three league games, and when even the most ardent of City fans sporting the most rose-tinted spectacles ever created would find it hard to deny that the Canaries had simply not found their rhythm at all so far.
Well, after Saturday's defeat at the hands of Cardiff, the stone cold reality of the current situation must surely have hit home hard, no matter which of the above two camps anyone might have previously occupied.
Now then, as disappointing, frustrating, even annoying as Saturday's reverse was, there are one or two crumbs of comfort to savour when we're picking the bones out of a result which has just sent City plummeting down to fifth from bottom in the table.
Firstly, the opening 45 minutes of football was as good as we've seen from City so far this season, and finally something nearer the true standards that we know that they are capable of.
There was a fluency to Norwich's play – crisp passing complimented by energetic off the ball movement. And there was no lack of aggression or determination either.
And secondly, the most vital of elements required for a successful football team, namely confidence, appeared to be freely flowing through the side.
In fact even when Cardiff did start to enjoy a bigger share of possession and begin to play themselves into the contest after the interval, after having been on the receiving end a decidedly one-sided first-half, it was far from a case of City having completely lost the plot and come to an abrupt halt.
But, – cue sound of needle scratching across record, because this is when reality really hits home – that's four points from four league games now no matter which way you look at it, and in truth, they haven't really deserved any more.
True, it could have been oh so different yesterday though without a doubt? But it wasn't.
The marking and defending ? or rather lack of it ? that ultimately cost City their second home win of the season would have angered Peter Grant and his coaching staff beyond belief.
Because no matter how well a team might be playing or however many hours of organisation and practice have been put in on the training ground, if players fail to do their jobs properly ? basic, simple, routine jobs, that is – then it isn't going to win matches. Simple as that.
Both of Cardiff's goals were basically gifted to them, they didn't even have to work hard for them. One a far post tap-in and the other a free-header inside the box ? what more is there to be said?
And this is the crux it all it seems for City this season.
Because while it is only right to try to look for positives in any performance in order to avoid a situation developing where negativity completely envelopes the whole caboodle and sends you on a downward spiral to disaster, the blunt truth is that the excuses have to stop sooner or later.
Forget the 'plenty of time and games to put things right' school of thought, because sometime sharpish, City have to get their act together and start winning football matches.
Leave a Reply