It seems appropriate that the penultimate home game of this frustrating campaign should come against Cardiff City, because in many ways, they represent the opposite of Norwich City this season. The successful operation of a traditional system under a strong-willed English manager has treated Cardiff fans with entertaining football and plenty of goals, which have fuelled a season-long charge towards the Premier League. And unlike Norwich City, they still have plenty to play for.
However, Neil Warnock’s side seem to be running out of puff in their attempt to reach their dream destination. A three-game winless run has seen Cardiff slip out of their top two spot at a crucial point in the season. Automatic promotion remains in their grasp only because of their game in hand over second-placed Fulham, making victory at Carrow Road essential for the Bluebirds.
So, it seems that Norwich have another opportunity to either help or hinder their opposition’s endeavour to fulfil their aspirations. The Canaries just about salvaged a 1-1 draw away at struggling Sunderland, which has once again dampened fans’ optimism after a surprisingly convincing performance at home to Villa. Farke’s post-match interviews and players’ post-match tweets fail to elevate anyone’s confidence – “we go again” lost all meaning a long time ago.
Also on the City of Yellows Blog:
- Craig Bellamy vs James Maddison
With Cardiff heading into the City this weekend, I thought it might be interesting to compare the two stars as both have made significant Have the wheels come off?contributions in Yellow and Green colours.
- A Yellow Army 5,045 miles away
I do love absorbing the differing football cultures when travelling on holiday and most of them have been witnessed in Eastern Europe. A chance not be be missed occurred for me in February with a trip to energise the all my senses in every footballing way possible, Kerala in southern India.
- Have the wheels come off?
I now have serious concerns. Not that we just don't look anything like a team capable of attacking the play-offs next season, worse than that, Norwich City have every chance of finishing lower than our neighbours down the road. An outcome which simply is not acceptable.
This season, fans have been provided with very little evidence to support the board’s claims that Norwich City are undergoing change for the better - City have not won back to back home matches in 9 months. Fans have every right, therefore, to demand a string of four consistent performances from City’s remaining matches. That must start on Saturday afternoon, before the club run out of time to prove to the fans why they should remain loyal - otherwise, they may rue taking them for granted.
Matching a determined Cardiff side desperate for victory would instil confidence into the fans. Every Cardiff attacker and midfielder has made a significant contribution to their enviable goal tally (5 players have scored 7+ goals), meaning that no Norwich player can afford to be a passenger if they want to keep the Bluebirds at bay. Cardiff’s defence is made up of the most quintessential Championship players imaginable, like Sol Bamba and Aron Gunnarsson: breaking through them would suggest that Farke’s system (when executed properly) could work against other teams in the Championship next season.
The continued absence of Onel Hernandez is balanced by the availability of Marley Watkins and Alex Tettey, after missing the draw against Sunderland - injuries to Joe Ralls and Jazz Richards also leave Cardiff without two key players. Norwich supporters are no longer satisfied by excuses; 43 uninspiring matches into the season, it is up to City to finally provide the fans with the consistency and the excitement they deserve.