Daniel Farke and the lads aren’t changing their tried and tested formula… but the opposition are. Teams have stopped pressing us and now simply sit and encourage us to break them down.
City rely on breaking a high press, which automatically leaves them with a numerical overload through midfield and spaces to exploit. As opponents leave zones to step forward and battle our midfield, Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell instantly take the advantage.
That’s the plan.
But that’s stopped. Now teams sit back and challenge us to break them down, and we have been found wanting. Pukki is outnumbered three or four to one, our wide midfielders need to help our fullbacks as they get forward, and so logically Todd or Emi drift away from Pukki.
Secondly, Ollie Skipp is no playmaker, Kenny McLean neither, and Lukas Rupp is attempting passes into deep, established defensive blocks. None of those midfielders step forward into shooting positions as we move our possession upfield, as seems to be their brief.
That congested offensive third is not where Mario Vrancic is happy either, as he is pressed too quickly. And then, of course, teams are happy for passes sideways from our midfield, as we don’t ever deliver lofted crosses, and even if we did, Pukki is alone in the 18-yard box.
For me, Skipp is capable of shielding the backline by himself, and Farke should be committing other players forward. Put succinctly, he needs to move away from his preferred 4-2-3-1.
Teams will be happy getting a point from us, and we need to take all three more often than not to stay in the fight.
More to come on these tactical points later in the week, so watch this space…
The problem is not the for.ation. it’s entirely down to speed of play. We don’t move it through the thirds quick enough. We always play a sideways ball when a forward one is available. The only time that changed is when we went 2-0 down. Even then we were slow in our approach.
When we did move it quickly we created two really good opportunities. Both in the first half for Pukki. At which point, his finishing was shocking.
There’s no need for drastic tactical changes. The players need to keep switching the tempo to keep teams guessing. Two years ago, our best goals were scored by shifting it through the thirds quickly. We have the ability but we seem reluctant to do it.
Honestly Pukki did not have single good scoring chance and basically not even 1 scoring chance. You are expecting impossible things about Pukki and likely he scored in first season some impossible goals too. You just cant expect and should not expect him scoring in those situations, scoring goals is clearly most difficult thing in football. Its also strange that when someone else misses no matter how good scoring chance then you are quiet and its perfectly ok. Hernandez had Norwich best scoring chance, then Hanley. Pukki and Aarons had similar shooting chance. Goal expectations 0, maybe Pukki could have scored Hernandez chance but lt was not even close of 50% scoring chance surely not more than 20%. So very likely he would have not scored it either.
Not sure about that, He had 2 at Swansea and also 3 or 4 chances at Millwall that I woold normally expect him to score from. He’s either snatching at chances at the moment or taking too long to get a shot away in a way he does not do when he’s on form. Yes there are other issues we need to address in terms of the supply to him but i still feel that with an in form Pukki we would probably have won at Millwall and possibily got something at Swansea as well.
I can see that Norwich fans who criticize Pukki are overstating him a lot, Then your solution would be players who are nowhere near his level, then those players would suddenly become in completely different level. Its not going to happen. In Norwich squad problem is that there is way too few better quality players, clear majority of players are way too especially technically limited. Finland scored 7 goals in last nations league, Pukki scored 2 of those. Its perfectly fine from him, if Finland scores 10 goals and Pukki 1 its fine. All depends how he plays, how he passes and so on….He still do that very well in Norwich too and thats why Farke plays him always. If Norwich promotion depends on how many goals Pukki scores, you should all understand how sick is the situation in Norwich.
“Midfield Mike” says
Hi Daniel, I’ve laboured the point before,,,, the speed of moving the ball is twofold
1) Vrancic, Leitner or Trybull triggered immediate forward balls, and they are gone from the deep role.
2) because of it being more defensive, opponents don’t worry about Trybull, Leitner or Vrancic pulling them left and right, so they don’t press that deeper role. That means that they numerically outnumber Todd, Emi, #10 and Pukki.
Rupp jas been getting unfair criticism but I watch him carefully. Every single time he gets the ball. He’s already had his ‘head up’ and knows what he wants, but within the seconds re receives the ball and goes to play that pass, the angles have been shut down. Rupp is really willing to make the ball, he’s looking but everything is getting shut down by weight of defensive numbers.
The only way things will drastically change is if DF changes the forward shape and numbers and gives the opposition new things to think about or more strikers to occupy.
We will still win games in 4-2-3-1, but I don’t think we will win enough..
And using our quick wingers. I keep reading about PP’s “frightening” pace, but I think our media chums are mostly writing this based on reputation because there’s been precious little shown in matches (so far)
“Midfield Mike” says
Pace on the wing is also pointless without a guy that can score headers. Onel did it i 2018/19 because he was unpredictable and he also scored lots of goals. He wasn’t so much a winger in the true sense, like PP. Onel is far more dangerous than PP.
As you say Mike, we need to get back to winning games before we start slipping back into the chasing pack.
You make some really good points and I wonder if we might see a slight change in formation in future games. I’d love to see Idah alongside Pukki up front to give the opposition defenders something to think about.
That is typical problem in league football, squad is limited and players have their strengths and weaknesses which does not change. When Pukki game to Norwich he had unprofessional advantage, there was plenty of video material and knowledge about how he plays. English clubs managers and their stuff were too lazy and arrogant. So its also example about football in Britain. Bielsa was different, but he dont just want to park a bus and destroy his vision about football. Pellegrini started it, he made a game plan against Pukki. I happened to watch his pregame press against Norwich and got right away feeling that this is not good thing. I kind of believe that premier league clubs let Norwich play their strengths in the beginning and then executed when things got more serious.
1 problem what Norwich have, their attacking lacks leadership. Pukki is very experienced, but not at all leader type. Buendia no, Cantwell too young….Your main players are more like fragile and they get frustrated. They try to carry Norwich but they are not carriers. Your team quality is not balanced and of course opponents should already know that.
“Midfield Mike” says
Exactly, Rhodes was a leader too. Hugill is just ‘one of the lads’.
Bernard Owen says
martin penney says
Farke could try it with Hanley, Gibson and Zimbo/Sorensen but he won’t.
Personally I’d like to see it trialled too but don’t bet your butt on it ever happening.
It will remain 4-2-3-1 until the [hopefully not bitter] end under our Daniel, I am sure.
“Midfield Mike” says
It’s interesting Bernard, everyone loves that idea….. except nobody will nominate who is dropped to make it viable, you can’t have Emi and Todd I that setup.
Stephen Godbold says
We never used to play Buendia and Cantwell in the same starting line up. It’s a luxury to have them both starting and puts increased pressure on the remaining midfielders. As Middlesbro proved, if you can cut them both out with journeymen players, we have no other options going forward.
I’d much rather see Hernandez start instead of Cantwell and Dowell in the 10 position for a few games. Cantwell and Vrancic can be effective as impact subs.
Keith B says
Wasn’t around yesterday to read Martin’s column and the comments following it. Having just caught up on that, and seeing Ed’s comment here, I’m surprised that nobody’s mentioned Soto.
There seems to be an assumption that Soto is not as far on in his development as Idah. But he has had more game time in a proper competitive men’s league, hitting the net regularly, and he’s now a full USA international. So I doubt if he’s far away.
Now I realise he’s effectively totally new to the squad, and what his attributes are in terms of pace, ball skills, physicality, game intelligence etc. I’ve no idea. Apparently he’s 6’0” but not a heavyweight, so presumably useful in the air but not a target man. But it’s interesting that Farke was so keen to get him back and have a look at him. I wonder if he thinks there might yet be a Pukki-Soto pairing on the cards, maybe within a 3-5-2?
Whilst I have the greatest respect for Dutch football, I don’t think that their second tier is anything like the non-stop grind of the Championship.
Circumstances may dictate otherwise, but I don’t think that Soto is currently in or ready for Farke’s plans for the first team…….but I would love to be proved wrong!
Having said that, given the current dearth of goals it could be that we’ll try anything!
O T B C
Keith B says
Sure, Dutch tier 2 won’t be as tough as the Championship. I’ll bet it’s tougher, and certainly more meaningful, than our U23 games though – and that’s the highest level that Idah has had regular football at. As I say the fact that Farke’s brought the lad back – and allowed Omotoye to go out on loan – suggests to me that he’s seen (or heard) something he likes.
Don’t agree with article sorry. It has nothing to do with other teams sitting deep and their game plans
Swansea’s 1st goal was from a corner after a high press. On Hoopers penalty decisions or otherwise as previously mentioned elsewhere they were about even. on my view. Ayew had his shirt pulled twice (and Morris hacked down at the end.) as plain as you could see before he put the ball between about 8 legs.
Lowe almost scored from an atrocious back pass and later when Ghuehi put him through and not picked up.
Swansea’s 2nd goal came from another bad ball resulting in Aarons having to retrieve it from the by line and because there were 6/7 Swansea men in front of him ,not sitting back, he hoofed it into the middle of them. From the resulting attack the ball ended up in the corner with their wing back (yes back) and then Ayew closing down at the by line resulting in the ball being hoofed away again for it to be obligingly passed to Fulton who was in an advanced position and we all know who he passed it to.
Pukkis miss came from a counter attack after Swansea had been pressing and had 6 players in the Norwich half.
So no I don’t agree teams have worked out Norwich and have a game plan, and are sitting back. As I highlighted above there were not just 2 mistakes. There were many more but only two were punished. There is a difference and leads to the conclusion that it has been down to the individual player not the manager or the rest of the team. However regarding other teams having a game plan what is Farkes game plan for those game plans.
I notice that in another article reference is made to Norwich must keep their heads whilst others are losing theirs. At the moment I see no evidence of either.
I don’t think anything has changed and perhaps that’s the problem, teams now know how to stop us playing and we don’t have a plan 2, Daniel needs to be harder and not so loyal, cantwell is gifted but spends most of the time on his bum, pukki is way out of form, bendia sees more reds than a traffic light, zimmerman is wasted on the bench, best and most impressive player by far is MAX Aaron’s this team will be destroyed in the prem, sorry Norwich but you’re going down the same old path again
I honestly thought that teams were high pressing. I saw several Hanley and Gibson go to move with the ball, straight away 2 descended on them, then our wing-backs or full backs as I prefer, are pinned back curtailing them getting forward enough. Then Immediately our midfielder gets the ball the opposition close down.
The high press teams employ against us, makes the striker (Pukki) often stranded and he has to come deep, leaving him tos often to beat 2/3 defenders before he gets any support. or can play safely.
Surely that is High Press. ?
If a team sits deep, isn’t that a sort of parking… then they rely on the break. We cannot play through them enough and seemingly the system is not set to play round them. We have become easy to play against
“Midfield Mike” says
Hi Canary Lad, There is a difference between routine pressing from strikers and it being a team event. You’ve correctly said that our CB’s had little time but that’s just normal pressing. The fullbacks were not getting forward because at Swansea,in particular, Lowe and Ayew split our CB and FB, and with Hourihane supporting behind them (a very intelligent player) also limits central passing into our defensive midfielders.
I said this before the game: “with the pre-occupation of an advanced Hourihane, McLean (Rupp) and Skipp are going to be disconnected from our attacking 3+1 ….. and with Lowe and Ayew splitting our CBs and FB’s, we are going to see little width from pinned fullbacks …. Cantwell will drop looking for the ball and be miles away from Pukki….. I hope Hernandez will play but I bet he perseveres with PP”.
That’s pretty much how it was. Lowe and Pukki both cancelled out 1v1 chances, they undoubtedly scored from 2 mistakes, but let’s not forget their laughable penalty that wasn’t given and Aaron’s goal-line clearance from Hourihane in the first half.
For me, teams do know how to play against us now, so I’d like to see DF change it, but he won’t. We will still win games, but I don’t think we will win enough. I’m not moaning about DF, the lads don’t want for effort, but I think Pukki and Aaron’s (and Emi, perhaps Todd) look frustrated during matches….. and that is usually a glaring indicator that they wouldn’t mind a change either.
Thanks for replying CanaryLad,
Kev Hicks says
The game’s been changed by opponents because we were tearing them up.
If they want to sit around their own penalty area let them.
Bombard them with shots from everywhere, if we don’t score that way there’ll be plenty of corners, rebounds, penalties etcetera.
I’d select Emi up front with Teemu, Sorensen and Tettey in midfield. Probably no need for the defence to go up beyond the halfway line negating their hitting us on the breakaway.
“Midfield Mike” says
Sadly Kev, the problem is that shift to 2 defensive midfielders means we aren’t getting to bombard them with shots…. that is one of issues I’ve highlighted. Think Leitner against Ipswich, even Tettey hitting the post against Liverpool, Vrancic scored several 2 years ago in open play from range. Unless DF tweaks his setup, we aren’t going to see those strikes, sadly.
As you said so simply: “opponents have changed their game because we were destroying them”. We need to change with it.
i think 352 as well but maybe play sorenson alongside skipp i think he should play in his preferred position and be allowed to roam a bit .
I think we are not moving the ball quickly enough from front to back with the consequence being that by the time it gets to Pukki, the opposition defence are more set and he’s having to operate in a more crowded area.
When we are at our best, we move the ball quickly and get runners in behind the defence. In part we are striggling to do that because teams are sitting back but also we are not doing it because both Skipp and Rupp like to play short (often sideways) passes and when they play as a combo it tends to slow our play down giving the opposition defence more time to re-group and get set.
For me, the adjustment needed is Rupp needs to drop back out. He’s played well but it just doesn;t work with him next to Skipp and he doesn’t see forward passes early enough. At home i’d be tempted to play Vrancic alongside Skipp and away go with Kenny in that role. Also Placheta is just so incredibly frustrating I don;t want him anywhere near the starting 11. In addition we need to shoot more from the edge of the box when oportunities arise.
“Midfield Mike” says
Agree with all that John.
Cannock canary says
I can’t think of too many opponents we have destroyed, scraped through most so far by the skin of our teeth……….
There are just so few options at the business end of the pitch
Michael O'Connor says
I have read with great interest your readers comments. I seriously think we should consider playing five at the back. This would help greatly at set pieces and. corners.. Midfield four consisting of Emi, and Onel on the flanks with Oliver and Todd down the middle with Teemu. up front. This formation would i believe give strength and flexibility right through our team. It would in my opinion force the opposition to come out and play which would give us space to counter attack. With the quality of players we have we should do quite a lot of damage to the opposition if our passing and off the ball movement is spot on.