Carrow Road witnessed a second consecutive home defeat at the weekend as the City fell to that disheartening 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
When a seemingly lacklustre United rocked up at Carrow Road it felt as though Norwich could take points from the game. The one concern with United, even in their current form, is the pace they possess on the counter, and Dan James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all highlighted as much on Sunday.
Daniel Farke said it himself post-match – United’s first goal wasn’t even a chance. The ball was flashed in low behind all of the onrushing players, bypassing two or three City defenders before falling to Todd Cantwell who failed to make a sufficient clearance. Scott McTominay pounced and fired the ball low past Tim Krul.
The second United goal came about through Rashford exploiting acres of space between Ibrahim Amadou and Max Aarons, the positioning and awareness of the defence was, in Daniel Farke’s own words, ‘a disaster’. One quick ball over the top of the defence and Rashford was in one-on-one with Krul.
The third goal was a result of a quick transition from United – Ashley Young dispossessing Marco Stiepermann on the halfway line, a quick one-two between the onrushing Martial and Rashford, before Martial cleverly finished with a dink over Krul.
All-in-all an underwhelming performance, especially when you consider the pre-match optimism. To add insult to injury (literally), City appeared to have dealt with the worst of the injury crisis, but with Jamal Lewis being withdrawn after flu-like symptoms, Amadou playing the last ten minutes up top with Pukki to avoid aggravating a knee injury it felt like ‘here we go again’.
Even Krul’s sensational performance was overshadowed by a knee complaint.
The game did present a couple of silver linings – Krul saving those two debatable penalties from Rashford and Martial. It was the first double penalty save in a single Premier League game since Martin Stekelenburg managed the same feat for Everton back in 2016.
It wasn’t just the penalty saves though. Krul stopped Rashford early on, saving with his feet. He then produced a world-class stop from point-blank range, somehow tipping Martial’s effort over the bar and into the lower Barclay.
By far City’s best player on the day.
Onel Hernandez built on a positive cameo appearance at Bournemouth with a determined goal against United, dispossessing McTominay on the halfway line before cutting inside, breezing past three defenders and firing low past De Gea.
Silver linings aside though, the result and performance were far from encouraging. The lack of anticipation and positioning in defence, how isolated Pukki found himself during most of the game was a concern and further injuries accumulated to make it a pretty bleak watch.
City find themselves ten games into their return to the Premier League and while there have been some euphoric highs – beating current champions Manchester City the highest – the triumphs have been outweighed by several other factors.
Whether its injuries, poor collective performances or individual errors, City have so far come up short in most games.
To reiterate, were now ten games in, things are getting serious, and with a trip to the Amex next weekend followed by Watford at Carrow Road, and games against Everton, Southampton and Sheffield United on the horizon – all of whom are currently within four league places of Norwich – it’s vital we start collecting points.