Not sure where to start with that AWFUL display at Carrow Road on Saturday! There was so much wrong with it. The players looked like they didn’t have a clue what they were supposed to be doing. Probably that’s because the manager doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think it’s going to take some time for us fans to adjust after going from a manager who tactically is probably in the top 5 in the world, to a manager who doesn’t seem to have any idea about tactics whatsoever. Under Benitez the team always looked organised and hard to beat. You felt that no matter who we played we were never gonna get a battering. Under Bruce now we look so open and the worrying thing is if Norwich put 3 past us with ease (and it could have been more) then what are Tottenham going to do to us?
In the opening 2 games of the season I have struggled to understand who is playing where and what the shape of the team is supposed to be. We just look all over the place. I have to question why the hell Isaac Hayden, who is supposed to be a holding midfielder, numerous times in the first half was out on the right wing trying to beat a defender and put a cross in? That’s supposed to be the job of Emil Krafth who got forward nowhere near enough, he’s supposed to be a wing back attacking when we have possession. Hayden going out there left us wide open through the centre of the pitch as shelvey and Ki don’t have quite the same defensive instincts. Which brings me onto the Korean, who for a free transfer did ok when he played last season, but against Norwich hardly touched the ball. He has to do more and get involved in the game. We did nothing at all against Norwich and I would’ve rather seen Sean Longstaff in there giving it his all. In possession we were again very negative. Instead of looking for a forward pass, instead of looking to get in behind their back line we would just pass the ball back and sideways across the pitch until we lose the ball. This is very frustrating when we are in an attacking position and then pass back to the midfield, then the defence, then out to the other side, then lose it. Just throw it into the box or try a killer pass or a shot. At least if you’re going to lose possession then lose it by trying to do something instead of just losing possession trying to keep possession.
We have to get rid of this 5 at the back formation immediately. You can see it’s nit going to work. Even with 5 ‘defenders’ we were still way too open. Not only that but because we are too negative and nobody wants to get forward Joelinton was isolated on so many occasions. Matt Ritchie is a winger. He is an attacking player, not a defender so stop playing him at left wing back because he can’t defend. For the first goal why was nobody marking Pukki? After Schar heads the ball away we have to win the second ball there. Only Pukki was alive to it while our defenders just stood in a line on our 6 yard box marking nobody and doing nothing. I also felt Dubravka could’ve done better with that goal. Yes Pukki hit it early and the power beat him but he’s on that side and gets a hand to it. He has to be stronger there for me but it’s not his fault the defence have to mark better, we saw a similar thing against Arsenal when one of the best strikers in the world Aubameyang found himself unmarked a couple of times and had all the time he wanted for the goal. The marking has to be much better from our defenders. That was also the case for our 3rd goal when they just stood there and let 2 Norwich players run through on our goal, from having the ball near the halfway line, 2 passes and they were in on goal, that is way too open! That can’t happen! Only Krafth followed the run of the attacker but the other defenders were too static, lost the attackers, and then after that didn’t bother busting a gut to try and make up for it, they just looked like they couldn’t be bothered.
Norwich schooled us, showed us how to play, they played really good football and their movement was good. When we had the ball at the back or in midfield there was no movement ahead of them, everybody was just standing still, marked and waiting for the ball to come. The one time that there was a little bit of decent movement it came from shelvey and resulted in a goal. Shelvey is supposed to be the man finding those runs and not the one making them, he can’t do it all.
The second half we started much better. First 10-15 mins swung a few balls into the box, won a couple of corners and looked like we might be able to get back into the game, then were a bit unlucky with the second goal, again Dubravka maybe could’ve done a bit better but that seemed to kill us off and heads dropped after that.
The manager doesn’t inspire me very much, his appointment never did, but I’m not going to sit here after 2 games and say he needs to go. We have him now and he needs to be given a chance to improve things. On the face of it watching that performance on Saturday it looks doom and gloom. It’s very very concerning. Having said that I don’t think we need to panic. It’s nothing new to start like this. We lost at home to a top 6 team and away to a newly promoted team. The last 2 seasons in the Prem we’ve lost at home in the opening game to a top 6 team (Tottenham) and failed to beat a newly promoted team away (lost to Huddersfield and drew with Cardiff). Even in the championship we lost our first 2 games. If we go on to have a decent season we will forget about the early games. I had forgotten as I think most of you had that last season we suffered defeat at home to Leicester and even more concerning 0-1 at home to Brighton. At that time we would’ve been very worried, if you haven’t won in your opening 10 games and can’t beat Brighton at home you’d expect that you’re certain for relegation, we didn’t get our first win until November and we turned out to be fine in the end. Now the 1-0 home defeat to Brighton has been forgotten by most. Let’s hope that we will win before November this time and go on to have a better season than last. Steve Bruce, while I am not a massive fan and he reminds me a lot of Steve Mclaren, I am prepared to give him time and give him a chance to win me over, I hope he can do it. He is still getting to know his players and they are still getting to know what he wants from them (I just hope he knows what he wants from them) hopefully we can sort it out in the coming weeks.