Norwich City: 5 Things Learned from Luton Town Defeat
The Canaries went into Saturday’s game against Luton Town thinking that they could secure a convincing win, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. In fact, it was actually Luton that ended up winning the game and booking their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
This 1-0 defeat in front of their own fans wasn’t what was supposed to happen. So, join me as I go through some of the finer points from the action and what this all means for Norwich’s next game and the season as a whole.
Did Chris Hughton Pick the Right System?
Considering that Norwich have used the 4-2-3-1 system for much of the season, it was a bit of a surprise to see Hughton line up with a more traditional 4-4-2 system. It’s hard to know if this is a sign that the manager is planning to change the system or not. However, it does seem that he should use the system that has served the Canaries fairly well this season.
Also, in the previous round against Peterborough United, Elliott Bennett played in the hole and had an excellent game. I would have thought Jackson and Bennett could have linked up well again in a different system. But Hughton obviously picked the system and players that he thought would do the job on the day; this time, though, he was wrong.
Should a Stronger Team Have Been Picked?
When defeats like this come along, there will also be thinking that the selected team wasn’t strong enough. But it’s important to remember that this was not a weak team by any means and had it lined up for a championship game, then you would expect those players to get the job done.
I can understand the thinking that a stronger team could have been picked, but I have to side with the manager on this one. There's a very important game coming up in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, so Chris Hughton would have had half an eye on that.
Hughton is the sort of manager to keep a settled side from game to game, so this was an opportunity to rest some players. Obviously, he did bring on Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington in the second half, but those key players only played a fraction of the game.
Does This Defeat Really Matter That Much?
A lot of Norwich City fans are depressed after seeing one the worse performances by the club in a long time. However, there's the argument that it’s still a lot less damaging than losing another game in the Premier League.
No points were lost, so all that was really lost was a bit of pride on the day. Of course, no one likes losing to a non-league team, and a morale-boosting victory would have been nice. But with the Canaries in bad league form, I am not sure we can really afford another cup run.
Efforts need to be focused on getting back some sort of league form and bringing in some additions on what remains of the transfer window. As disappointed as I am, a far worse situation would have been a cup replay that would have clogged up the fixtures list.
Spurs come to Carrow Road next, and if Norwich can get anything out of that game, then this exit has been justified. Perspective can be hard to find after a defeat, but let’s remember that it’s all about Premier League survival.
This Defeat Doesn’t Mean We Will Be Relegated
There seems to be a sense of hysteria that defeat to Luton Team automatically means being relegated from the Premier League.
It’s important to remember that this is the FA Cup, and for those who don’t know, it’s a competition that is known for surprising results. The fact that Norwich have lost to a team from a lower division in this competition shouldn’t come as a major shock by itself.
Of course, it should be remembered that the Canaries are also in poor form in the league. So, fans are connecting the two things and assuming there is a connection when there clearly isn’t. This was not a full-strength Norwich side, and the lost was due to a poor performance on the day.
A Word on the Strikers
This is the biggest problem that the Canaries have at the moment. We saw a strike partnership of Harry Kane and Simeon Jackson. It’s fair to say that it didn’t exactly work throughout the game. It certainly wasn’t a massive surprise to see Kane hauled off at halftime and replaced with Grant Holt.
I wonder if this will be the last we see of Spurs loan player because he doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of good for Norwich right now. Holt showed, in the second half, that he is a cut above the other strikers, even though he wasn’t able to score.
Perhaps, the problem is that there needs to be a new striker that is a cut above Holt. Therefore, the next few days will be very interesting to see who comes in the door. I think, also, the more money that is spent, the better the quality is likely to be.
What is clear is if you can’t score against Luton, then the need to add to the firepower here is already, probably, more than was previously thought.
David McNally and Chris Hughton need to sit down and decide if they can really afford to not sign a striker, rather than if they can afford to. Like many Norwich fans, I feel a proven goalscorer is almost certainly the key to pulling clear of the relegation zone.