That was pretty good wasn’t it.
That it came with a sting in the tail in the form of Craig Bryson’s 86th-minute equaliser was gut-wrenching at the time but shouldn’t disguise what was a quality City performance – one I’d argue was probably the pick if the bunch so far.
Certainly, there was a maturity about this display that sets it apart from most of what occurred last season and, for those who have been crying out for a distinguishable style and method to emerge, it’s there for all to see – home and away, regardless of the opposition.
Last season’s good run, which happened around this time, was built on performances that were in many ways the antithesis of what Farke-ball stood for, especially on the road.
We’d dig in, scrap it out, frustrate, and invariably rely on a moment of inspiration from James Maddison (or Yanic Wildschut!) to pinch a goal and the points – Sheffield Utd, Boro, Ipswich and Reading all suffered at our hands in this regard.
Now, we still do the digging in, the scrapping and the frustrating, but when we’re not doing that we do the things that Daniel Farke holds dear – keeping hold of the ball, building up patiently from the back, working it through the thirds and, now, all with added attacking thrust.
Of course, Farke wants City to have the majority of possession – another stat that he holds dear – but against sides whose plan is to do exactly the same, like Derby, something has to give and there are occasions when you have to more without the ball than with it. The trick is to make the 42% of possession count – just as they did last night.
And both in and out of possession there were some outstanding performances last night. Marco Stiepermann has deservedly taken the plaudits of late – and put in another good shift last night – but it was his compatriot in the engine room who, for me, shone brightest. Mo Leitner, alongside the better-than-ever Alex Tettey, was simply outstanding from start to finish.
It was clear when he entered the building last January that we had a master technician on our hands, one who given time could pick a pass and dictate the tempo and direction of travel. That much was obvious although, in truth, a combination of niggling injuries and said J Maddison were to limit his impact.
His summer arrival on a permanent basis was a major bonus but it’s also fair to say that despite some obvious flashes of his class, Mo’s early season offerings were fitful, with questions being asked of his suitability to the maelstrom of a Championship midfield.
But Farke’s decision to break up Tetbul and slot Mo in alongside Alex has worked beautifully. It permits him more touches, gives him the chance to get on the ball with an extra millisecond of time and, most importantly, gives him the opportunity to dictate. In a more advanced role, it felt as if he was still trying to all of those things but to a diluted effect.
Yet what Mo has done now – or at least did last night – is take that onto another level. It’s like he’s tapped into that same energy source that enables Tettey to operate with such command and vigour in that role of defensive shield, and his work-rate last night was out of this world. His Prozone stats will make interesting read this morning.
Throw into the mix his ability to mix it and annoy the Derby faithful, and I’d argue last night’s was as good a performance as I’ve seen in a yellow shirt all season – and there have been some good ones.
But it wasn’t just about Mo, and it was another one of those where it was every inch a team effort, with on this occasion Timm Klose getting the reward – his sterling defensive work alongside Christoph Zimmermann earning him his goal from Emi Buendia’s nicely delivered corner.
Derby’s late leveller was of the sloppy and soft variety, unfortunately, but to point any fingers off the back of that level of performance and five straight wins would be churlish.
So, now the bar has been set and it’s fairly high. This is what this group are capable of delivering. Good runs come to an end of course and are invariably followed by fallow spells, but to have hauled ourselves out of the doldrums, it would be good to hang in or around the playoff places for a bit.
And then see where it takes us.
Dan Rear says
I only watched a few mins here and there on the Red Button – the opposition invariably score when I watch it live and we never do. But like you, I was hugely impressed. The passing was sublime, young Todd, the fullbacks, Pukki, and Leitner especially. Very encouraging!
Jim Davies says
Last night’s game was good viewing, because it was played between two teams who both wanted to win, playing good football. There were occasions when a long ball was correct and it almost paid dividends for Derby when Nugent brought a good save from Krul early on, but generally both teams tried to build constructively, and both looked likely winners at different stages of the game. All in all, a fair result.
A word of praise for Tim Krul, who seems to get better with each game. His tip over the bar when Mount blasted one from a good position showed great reflexes, and a determination not to be beaten. Also, for the quality of Buendia’s delivery from the corner and Klose’s brilliant header.
I actually thought Stieperman had a less effective game than recent ones, and I’d like to have seen Vrancic introduced a bit earlier. However, minor points, and a satisfactory result.
martin penney says
I was pretty pleased with that result tbh – and not just because it sends me back to the top of the Mystic MFW table. Sorry Cookie – but you’ll be there at the end of the season, not me!
All this “late heartbreak stuff” I don’t buy into as we still had another eight or nine to go after Bryson’s somewhat fortunate equaliser. From what I’ve seen he shinned it – it might even have come off his knee.
It was interesting to read the comments from Derby’s Scott Malone where he said (to paraphrase) what a good side we were and that any result other than a draw would have been a travesty. I’m delighted with a point at Frank Lampard’s Derby County. Sure three would have been better but we can’t have it all.
So on to Stoke. It would be brilliant to get a positive result against them to send us into the break with tails well and truly up.
Gary Field says
A special mention to Tim Krul – he’s starting to show some decent form with a string of fine saves.
Gary Gowers says
Very good shout Gaz … love how demonstrative he is with those in front of him; everyone knowing exactly what’s expected. And he’s an ace $hit-houser too 🙂
martin penney says
I agree with both statements.
That tip over the bar from (Mason Mount?) was a bit special.
Alex B says
Great analysis of the game my biggest complaint would have to be the Ref slightly bais to the home side he let a few tackles go when Derby were getting frustrated .
Lampards remarks that a draw was a fair result makes me laught city out played them except for about ten mins when they got a lucky goal.
As Martin say onwards and upwards now for stoke I don’t think they will be looking forward to the game with confidence as city are on a good run home and away.
It is a pity this run hadn’t started at the home of the blue noses but you can’t have everything can you.
Lastly Lewis and Zimmermann both got booked, Lewis must be close to a suspension he now really needs to be careful.
Alex B says
It must be strange for the travelling supporters to find explayers turning up to watch the game Maddison, Ruddy and Bennett thankyou for your loyalty long may it last.
Great team effort all round last night pity the young Derby supporters behind Krul throwing the ball to waste time
martin penney says
Madders telegraphed he was going but I had no idea Ruddy and Ryan B would be there as well! I’m really impressed with that tbh.
Not just three guys going to a football match but all sitting in our block with our supporters. A bit like the (very) old days:-)
Brings back memories of Bellers & Neil Adams sitting in the away end at Wolves after they’d left us, & last year Ben Godfrey sitting with the away fans at Wolves whilst on loan at Shrewsbury.
Tettey was immense last night, breaking up play and stepping in at crucial times. The captaincy suits him and he is obviously proud to take on the role. If I was Farke, I would be tempted to give it to him full time. He thrives on it. Hanley doesn’t need to be captain to be a leader anyway.
Colin M says
What a difference a few weeks make! I’m impressed by the apparent togetherness of the whole group. There is no stand out player and no huge egos. We are a young side and we will have a set back but just hope the fans stay with it when we do. No Angus, Murphy or Madders, (congrats to him) but we are stronger for it and I agree with comments about Tim Krul, he was good early on in his career at Newcastle and kept Shay Given and Forster out I seem to remember, brilliant bit of business I reckon.
Could be changes for Saturday.
So I have been impressed with the youth and their resilience to play so many games back to back. Everything stated above I agree with. Farkelife/Farkeball made us look like Barcelona to Frank Lampard’s Derby County’s Spurs. Early on in the game, when we were playing at full tilt, they could not live with us and we were just on a different level to them.
Pukki has been ace, no argument, but he looked less focused if not physically tired against FLDC. He needs a break, as do Aarons, Lewis, Toddwell and Stieperdude. Lots of changes at once is not a great idea so I would play Vrancic and Passlack and only play Pukki for a half then bring on Rhodes.
Quick mention to Tetty and Lietner – just fantastic and how much better are they now compared to last/earlier this season? Awesome and not sure there is better in the league! Feel very sorry for Trybull but he is there if there is an injury or fatigue. Can Grant Hanley get back in the team? I’m not sure he can if the Zimmerdude and Parky are fit.
Finally the joy that is Buendia – better and better (if perhaps tired) each game; keep him in until he can’t walk or his performance drops. I can’t wait for him on the right and Hernandez on the left or visa versa. That is exciting!
My big worry is the lack of that second goal, it cost us against FLDC and will do as long as our defence is as young and error prone as it is out wide. What is the solution? Rhodes more minutes? Trying to play a 2 up front? Please let me know.
Bring on Stoke at home though, can’t wait to hear CR in full voice and full of confidence!
Cyprus Canary says
I agree ref Pukki I would have liked to see Rhodes on for the last thirty minutes. Pukki was clearly tired and Stieperman was also less than effective after an hour and should have been replaced imo. However it was a great result.
Colin M says
The international break probably coming at a good time provided some get a rest.
IMO this season, we are playing as a TEAM and that is something that has been missing since Paul Lambert was our manager. We also have strength in depth that we didn’t have last season and I think the start of our abysmal run last season followed our epic battle in the replay at the Emirates when DF opted to play mostly first team players and that was the catalyst for the start of our abhorrent run which lasted until Xmas.
For sure, we may well go on another losing streak, but I’d be amazed if it lasted more than 1 or 2 games, as DF has come to terms with the demands of the Championship and that was obvious with his subs on Saturday – 2 just after an hour and the 3rd on 75 minutes. Last season, we’d have been lucky to see one sub by 75 minutes. Talking to other fans, there is a ‘feel good factor’ returning to the NCFC fans and DF has at the very least earned the right to remain as Head Coach until Xmas at the very least!!!
Cyprus Canary says
Farke did slip back into his old routine with subs in this one though. Rhodes and Vrancic after an hour could have just made a difference.
Hats off to Farke! I was starting to doubt him but he’s proving me wrong.
I don’t know if it was the introduction of youth or the changes in position of some players but we are moving the ball a lot quicker.
The two new strikers provide better mobility and a positive team ethic which gives us a greater threat.
The major surprise for me is that Tettey is now playing better than any time in his City career when we all thought he was well past it.
If we continue in this vain until the end of the season Farke could well be the clubs best ever signing.