I wrote my previous MFW article before the David Wagner rumours started circulating in earnest. In that piece, I highlighted my issues with Stuart Webber and made references to Wagner and the promotion he’d earned at Huddersfield. Specifically, I emphasised the fact that Wagner didn’t coach the squad he inherited but that Webber allowed him to sign […]
Smith may be the first domino to fall but there is an even bigger problem…
The Dean Smith sacking is an article for others to write. I was an advocate, a big fan. Then I was patient, flirting with the benefit of doubt. Then I was sceptical. Then I was confused. Then I got bored and, eventually, agitated. It was worth a punt, it failed. We move on. I […]
Survival is do-able under the self-financing ethos, but not using this tactical model
The reality has dawned on far more fans than ever before… We have a woefully inappropriate squad for the Championship next season, let alone the Premier League for the second half of this season. Note I chose inappropriate. January is going to be massive for our club’s future. However, my opinion is that under Smith and Shakespeare, […]
Lessons to be learned from the Villa game, but can S&S replicate that same model?
The Villa game should be a lesson to us in what our short to medium-term future might hold. For those who don’t know, that was a team that Dean Smith built. Jacob Ramsey exemplified the qualities of a wide player in 4-3-3 and what a fabulous goal he scored. There is currently no player in […]
Now S & S have seen inside Pandora’s Box, what could the January window bring us?
A Pandora’s Box. That’s our squad. Players tactically incompatible with others. Strength missing where strength is needed. Pace absent where it is expected. Players too good to drop, or better than their peers, but played out of position. A squad built for 4-2-3-1 which is no longer played. Some summer recruitment that has raised more […]
The case for Dean Smith…
Frank Lampard did well at Derby but was heavily reliant on bringing in players, like Mason Mount, who were well above the standard necessary for the Championship. I recall the game where the floodlights failed, where City looked well set for the win but where Derby destroyed us after the restart. Credit that to Lampard. […]
Should Farke persevere with 4-3-3? Or will we see the much-discussed back three?
For all the frustrations we currently feel, I remain optimistic that City will survive. But I also think it is dangerous to downplay the last two games and hide behind reputations. Leicester’s defence was as makeshift as City’s against Manchester City in 2019, which included Ibrahim Amadou at centre-back, and they appeared there for the […]
Canary Corners, silly substitutions, midfield mix… and, maybe, Mark Noble?
First off, what a fabulous effort from the lads against Liverpool. The result is irrelevant, it was wonderful to see all the old faces around us and to see so many new faces too. Generally, City were in the game in the first half but they obviously faltered in the second against one of the best […]
Intriguing rather than obvious signings so far, and still serious business to be done…
City have been more active in this transfer window than most clubs. In this article, I will look at how things are evolving as the season fast approaches. Daniel Farke will have known, for months, his preferred system for the Premier League. He will either want a back three or he won’t, but which will it be? […]
Help for Pukki? … formation changes … midfield playmakers … and Alex Pritchard?
As excited as I am about next season, as confident as I am that Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke will get it right, I am still uneasy about some of the decision-making. For example, we don’t appear to be in the market for a striker, so what happens if Teemu Pukki gets injured? I admire […]
A blueprint for PL safety? Imagination and innovation are key if City are to succeed
In order for City to progress next season, I believe it is imperative that the unrealised potential of certain current players be fully realised in conjunction with the limited transfer budget. Put plainly, I have always thought that we impose 4-2-3-1 on to our best players when the alternative is to build a formation around the strengths […]
With no Emi, and with a need to beef up that midfield, is 3-4-2-1 the way ahead?
Emi has gone and nothing is going to change that, but now I would like to see a very clear tactical plan moving forward. If they persevere with the 4-2-3-1, City are stuck with a philosophy they cannot financially afford to perfect. I’d prefer we change the base formation and be optimistic about how we move forward. […]
Now is our time. Build from our best and enhance rather than lose the two lynchpins
City could buy Ollie Skipp and keep Emi Buendia. It might need some juggling, but they could achieve it. But will they? On the flip side, losing Emi and Skippy would affect 90% of our output. By contrast, I bet that if Brentford buy two players they could improve 90% of their output. Keep their […]
The ethos will stay the same but should we still expect a tweak to Daniel’s 4-2-3-1?
It’s been interesting listening to Stuart Webber this last week. He freely admit that either Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons or Emi Buendia could still be sold if it suits everyone… which begs a question. For me, Emi must be retained at any cost. And if you sell Aarons, you’re immediately looking for a replacement. That […]
Lessons to be learned from those two pesky defeats, and more depth needed
Ouch. 12 points dropped against the teams we were relegated with… No big deal. The wake-up call though is that Watford should have scored four or five last night. Everything I fret about with 4-2-3-1 was exploited by the Cherries and the Hornets; Danjuma is a £13 million player and Max Aarons couldn’t contain him […]
With Cherries and Hornets incoming, time to lay down some markers for next season
The next two games will tell us a lot about our beloved Norwich City. The club’s ambition to become established in the top flight pitches us against the likes of Bournemouth, Watford and those perpetually around the Premier League relegation zone. We lost 1-0 away to both the Cherries and Hornets but are about to […]
Looking ahead: what needs to change and improve if we are to compete next season?
Identifying areas of improvement isn’t moaning. It is part of a healthy cycle to make the team get better. This piece is about learning from lessons past; especially as we know 4-2-3-1 will persevere. WARNING: It will sound like a moan. There is no substitute to for paying for quality unless it is free or […]
So… if it happens. Imagine… would a Hourihane or a Knockaert fit the Farke bill?
Fantasy Football. No, not John Motson purring over Mark Bowen in the Olympiastadion. Fantasy armchair football this summer. In my mind, this team is going to be promoted with a less capable squad than last time. Hear me out. Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson. Yeah, but come on, last time we had a world-class Ben […]
What has tactically changed for Daniel Farke’s men? And how can it be remedied?
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 […]