The Carabao Cup rolls off the tongue only slightly better than the Milk Cup but still it’s a competition in which we have history – and we all love a bit of history in this part of the world.
That City progressed into the next round of said cup by virtue of the 3-2 win over Swindon was of course a good thing – and if we were to embark on a cup run (anything over two games constitutes a run for us doesn’t it?) that too would be a good thing – but when the main talking points were around a player who didn’t play and a goose, it’s perhaps best regarded as just another small step on the path of Project Farke.
Swindon pushing City all the way was not necessarily a bad thing and with our new defence clearly still finding its feet, if given the choice of them wobbling against the Robins in a cup match or against the Black Cats on Sunday then that’s a no-brainer.
Colney will resound this week to the sound of some unequivocal Germanic tones when undertaking the defensive drills for set-pieces, and I’m less concerned than Twitter over it being an obvious continuation of our inability to defend free-kicks and corners.
This is a new team, with new personnel, with a new coaching team; I fail to see how this is more of the same and consider it too early to be tarring them with that same brush.
But if the same thing is regularly occurring in a months time…
Farke’s decision to not make wholesale changes was quite refreshing in itself and indeed made perfect sense. For all of the reasons already mentioned this team is a work-in-progress and to have selected a team from the fringes would have been an opportunity missed.
To gel in the way that Daniel, Christian and Edmund require needs time and that’s one thing that’s rationed in the Championship. Ninety minutes on the Carrow Road turf in a competitive game will have been worth numerous training sessions, and it was the right call even if it did lay bare some of the current areas of weakness.
Thankfully, what it also did was highlight areas of strength, among them the burgeoning on-field connection between the Master and his Apprentice. In an area of the pitch where City are well stocked, even allowing for the injury to Alex Pritchard, the collective creativity of Wes Hoolahan and James Maddison has taken less than 180 minutes to come to the fore – and that bodes well.
The challenge of course is to harness this attacking thrust and spark, so evident in last night’s opening 45, within the new structure while not compromising the defensive solidity needed for a top six push.
Crack that particular riddle and we could be in for some real fun and games over the next ten months.
Hopefully the sideshow that is Nelson Oliveira’s goal celebration will soon no longer be a thing. The coach’s method of handling of the situation became evident upon the release of last night’s team sheet and it seems clear that upon reflection he felt a line had been well and truly crossed.
The ball’s now in Oliveira’s court. He apologises and accepts his actions were unbecoming of the team ethic that Farke demands and we all move in with a motivated striker in the pack. He refuses to back down and I suspect Stuart Webber’s list of striking options will come into play and someone else will get themselves a talented but stroppy striker.
I know which option most of us would prefer.