City have now gone nine weeks without a win. 63 days. And at a time when they are supposed to be scrapping for their Premier League lives.
By no stretch of the imagination has it been fun yet it’s been played out against a backdrop of the “most exciting Premier League season ever”.
Exciting for others maybe. Certainly exciting if you’re a Leicester fan, Tottenham too probably, and for supporters of fellow promotees Watford and Bournemouth there’s been plenty to be proud of. But for Norwich fans?
Okay, there’s been Old Trafford and the first away game at Sunderland was a good one but in general it’s been that feeling of being at a party full of drunk people while you’re stone cold sober.
The stats suggest we still have a sniff of safety – and we do because Newcastle and Sunderland are both in similarly dire straits – but don’t expect there to be too much fun along the way.
That will only present itself if, by some quirk of footballing fate, we manage to win the mini-league with those from the North East.
Even then any fun will be usurped by relief.
But that feels an awfully long way off right now and instead season 2015/16 is drawing rather too many parallels to 1994/95, when the wheels of the Robert Chase era came off in spectacular fashion.
In the 1995 part of that season City won one, drew seven and lost twelve. It was a slow, painful, excruciating slide to the second tier. It was death by a thousand cuts.
And unfortunately there is no escaping the fact that this feels similar.
Decent performances against those with top four aspirations, but which invariably end in gallant failure, are duly followed by performances of indifference against those we should have in our sights.
A Chelsea-type performance yesterday would have offered a realistic chance of a win. Instead we had something more akin to Villa away and subsequently a scoreline to match. That Leroy Fer was the provider of the only goal just rubbed salt into an already festering wound.
Think of your worse case scenario and City invariably deliver it.
Typically the brickbats have been out in force, with an increasingly vocal section questioning the decision-making of the manager, and it’s not unreasonable to question the working practices of one whose side have earned one point from the last 27 available.
In any other walk of life that level of performance would be scrutinised. In football many a coach has fallen on his or her sword for such a run.
For the record I’m with David McNally on this one and think that even if the worst were to happen Alex earned enough Championship stripes last season to be given a chance to repeat it, but there’s appears to be lots of over-thinking going on right now.
I’m personally no fan of three centre-backs but equally there was also no denying that the performances against Leicester and Chelsea suggested he’d stumbled across a formation that suited the personnel.
Yet yesterday we reverted back to a 4-4-1-1, presumably designed to accommodate Steven Naismith?
Whatever the reason, it didn’t work. Naismith was either unfit or off colour and as a conventional right-back Ivo Pinto is, for the time being at least, unconvincing.
The loss of Robbie Brady was of course a blow, but typifies the breaks you get when in the relegation zone, and the sight of poor ol’ Russ having to slot in as an uncomfortable looking left-back pretty much summed up the afternoon.
The goal itself, while nicely executed by Gylfi Sigurdsson, was yet again avoidable and if Messrs Remond or Pinto were watching Alan Shearer’s critique of their respective roles I expect there to have been copious amounts of squirming.
But we can dissect the mistakes and deficiencies all day long, when it’s all boiled down what City really lack is genuine quality.
We’re just not quite good enough when it really matters. We’re not defensively solid enough when it really matters and we’re not clinical enough in front of goal when it really matters.
For the majority of the time what happens in the middle third of the pitch is actually quite good and when we move the ball at speed we look decent but all too often either the final ball isn’t good enough or the finish doesn’t find the back of the net.
At the other end we appear capable of defending reasonably solidly for 85 minutes but minus the surety that we can see it through for the full 94 or 95. Even the introduction of the impressive Timm Klose has done nothing for our ability to keep a clean sheet.
At both ends of the pitch we come up short, perhaps befitting of a club with the 20th biggest budget in the league. In order to survive we need to punch above our weight – at the moment we are performing in line with our level of spending power.
But that doesn’t mean we accept it.
To perform over and above your expected level can be done – just ask those Leicester fans – but it requires you to be a cohesive unit that collectively is greater than the sum of its parts.
And that’s something Alex and co have been unable to achieve. The lack of quality is apparent in nearly every game, so too the club’s inability to recruit a quality centre-back in the summer, so too the lack of a proven goalscorer.
Again, that doesn’t make us a bad side but at the elite level we fall just short. And to watch them come up short week in, week out is not much fun. Neither is observing members of the Yellow Army taking metaphorical chunks out of each other as a result.
We’re an unhappy little ship at the moment, there’s no escaping that, but still we must cling on to the fact that Newcastle are in a similar shape and Sunderland are only one point ahead of us.
Tellingly, of course both, still have to come to Carrow Road – and while there’s life there’s hope – but to expect the the Class of 2016 to emerge victorious on both occasions is a big ask and a true test of faith for the Yellow Army.
We just have to cling on to belief and hope, because they’re all we have left.