The international hiatus has ceased to be and club football has returned. Norwich faced Barnsley in the hope that they could end an abysmal run of form at Carrow Road which has seen them fail to win in two months.
But what did we learn from the fixture?
Norwich 1-1 Barnsley – Five Things Learnt
1) Hanley Is The Way To Go
Grant Hanley stood a colossus in the Norwich backline. The Scottish international has found minutes hard to come by since his arrival from Newcastle United in the summer, but the defender was aerially dominant and positionally competent.
His excellent work was subsequently undone following a tactical change at half-time which saw Norwich adopt a back three. Besides that, Hanley staked a serious claim for a regular place in the starting eleven. He headed, kicked and marked everything. It wasa very pleasing display from a man who Norwich paid big bucks to recruit.
Alongside Timm Klose, Hanley could help form a formidable back duo which, arguably, is one of the best in the division.
2) Captain Farke, The Boat Is Sinking…
Since the wholehearted and tiring performance which took place at the Emirates in the Carabao Cup, Norwich have failed to record a single win. It appears that the leggy performances prior to the international break have continued, and with it so has Norwich’s woeful form at home.
When James Maddison stroked the ball into the net at Portman Road, many felt Daniel Farke’s Norwich City were genuine contenders and had finally kick started their season. But Norwich have only scored three goals since, and whilst they ended their run of three straight defeats, they continue to freefall.
They had no real direction in their play nor did they have intensity or direction in their passing. This Norwich side look devoid of confidence and require a major injection of energy from their head coach. This may be a work in progress, yet the Canaries look far off where they would be expected to be.
3) Oliveira’s Return
With no league start since the 12th September and an international break spent training in his homeland, many expected Nelson Oliveira to come back firing on all cylinders. Whilst he did not register a goal, it was pleasing to see the Portuguese international on the pitch.
There is no doubting that Oliveira is superior to Cameron Jerome; when fit, the former must start. Even though the cutting edge was lacking from his work this time out, his mere presence adds another dimension to City’s offensive play.
It remains to be seen whether Norwich’s medical staff can keep the striker fit, but it may be integral to how Norwich go about their business for the remainder of the season. His goals could launch Farke’s side up the table.
4) Patience Wearing Thin?
Carrow Road was a cauldron of frustration and the boos returned in the aftermath of a stalemate. It’s clear supporter’s patience with this long term ‘experiment’ is wearing thin as improvements aren’t visible.
It remains to be seen whether this road is the correct one, but with an abysmal home record, seven goals scored at home and atmosphere leaving a lot to be desired, what is going to change? Norwich supporters were promised offensive improvements but still yet they still looked profligate offensively.
That said, however, Norwich are only three points from the top six, despite their slump in form. If more pleasing run can be assembled, then the touch paper could be reignited and Farke’s side could once again be lauded. The more pragmatic, though, would suggest a top nine finish is ambitious.
5) Midfield Mystery Ahead Of Trip To Nottingham
Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull, two major components of the excellent run of form Norwich embarked on during September, are ruled out of Tuesday night’s trip to Nottingham Forest, with the former being ruled out until early December.
The challenge is with Harrison Reed and Mario Vrancic, who are likely to be called upon in a makeshift midfield pairing to patch together a squad which is subject to a lengthy injury list. Which pieces will Farke assemble to attempt to repair the damage of this recent run?