After analysing Saturday’s defeat, and all the swirling rumours around Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and the team selection, the formation deployed by Daniel Farke was intriguing.
He lined up with a 4-1-4-1, and what stood out for me was the fact we delivered 33 crosses in the game, with both Max Aarons and Xavi Quintilla having 10 crosses each to their name.
We all know that heading the ball is not Teemu Pukki’s strong point so why, against struggling Derby, should we not go all-out attack until the futures of Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell are clear, and the likes of Jacob Sorenson, Grant Hanley and Marco Stiepermann are match fit.
So this is the formation I came up with:
It’s effectively just the one change from Saturday, in taking out one of the two CAMs and putting in a striker, but Jordan Hugill and Adam Idah will benefit a lot more from crosses than Pukki.
With Kenny McLean, Marco Stiepermann and Lukas Rupp looking for form and Mario Vrancic seeing limited minutes, the only other option would be young Josh Martin.
Without the ball, Hugill would have to drop slightly deeper, alongside Pukki, to try and win any headers and hold the ball up when the ball is played long.
This would help to get Idah involved with his pace providing Hugill wins his duel with his centre-back, and having two up top and Pukki arriving late into the box might be the change of style to adopt, at least for a game or two until the window closes.
Another option could be the good old 4-4-2, with two strikers playing up top in the way that’s become the cornerstone of success for Chris Wilder at Sheffield United. If, and it’s a big IF, we were to only keep Max Aarons, then utilising this formation with the team below would be interesting, depending on who arrives to replace the sold players.
Having Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley together (please stay fit, Grant) would offer the benefit of having an old-school type pairing who are dominant in the air.
In central midfield, Skipp and Jacob Sorenson would collectively add a bit of bite to the proceedings, and then having Pukki and Hugill up top together gives you the best of both worlds; the technical striker and the old-fashioned English centre-forward who likes to bully opposing centre-backs.
With the pace of Przemysław Placheta and Onel Hernandez and the overlapping full-backs, in Quintilla and Aarons, this might be a route worth exploring, especially when you factor in the number of crosses we are now delivering into the box.
I, like the majority of the fan base, will be delighted when the window closes so we know the exact makeup of our squad because we certainly haven’t heard the last of the Buendia and Cantwell sagas.
While I can understand fans being unhappy about Rupp and Mclean playing, you simply cannot have two players who, in the manager’s eyes, are not giving it 100 percent. If he plays either of both, it sends out a horrible message to the other players and youngsters: that you don’t need to apply yourself correctly to be able to play.
In a time where money is tight for the vast majority of people, the boss had it right when he said the club owes them nothing but they owe the club everything for being able to live the privileged life of a top level footballer.
Farke only wants to have players who are willing to go that extra mile and fight for the badge on the shirt – and as fans that’s all we have ever asked of our players: leave everything on the pitch win, lose or draw.
I, like most Norwich City fans, will support anybody who pulls on the yellow and green on a match day – that’s is the very least a fan can do – but I hope that when the transfer window slams shut we are in a position where we have that creative spark in attack, whether that be from Buendia, Cantwell or a new signing.
I love Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell and will be sad if they do go, but we have lost those types of players before – Ruel Fox, Darren Huckerby, James Maddison, and the Irish Messi. If they depart, that will be the cue for someone else to stand up and be that star.
But one thing I would like to say is how much respect I have for Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons. Both are being linked with the best teams in Europe but both are still getting their heads down and giving it their all.
They know if they keep putting in the work and effort that the big teams will come calling. Max and Ben are fantastic role models and in today`s game, it’s great to see.
So bring on Derby County and let that wave of emotion (please let it be joy) sweep over us all again.
Have a great week ahead everyone and stay safe.