Norwich City - Three to watch

A LOT has changed in the space of a few months since our last trip to Carrow Road with the Canaries bringing in a new manager, nine new first team players and a different footballing philosophy. It is, of course, still early days but we look at the potential new threats of this much-changed Norwich side.

Marcel Franke

Strengths:

  • Passing
  • Concentration
  • Reading of the game

Weaknesses:

  • Tackling

Having started the first three Norwich games, early indications suggest that Franke could be a key man in the Canaries defence. Daniel Farke has so far used a 3-5-2 system with Franke patrolling things at the heart of it. In his debut against Fulham he looked a very cultured centre half who was reading the game well and starting moves from the back. The German, who previously played in Bundesliga 2 with Greuther Furth, stands around 6’ 2" had a few more difficulties against Sunderland when coming up against the pace of James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban. The R’s may look to exploit this potential weakness, being able to call on the likes of Conor Washington and Kazenga Lua Lua but with it still being early in his Championship career it should be an interesting battle.

Mario Vrančić

Strengths:

  • Set pieces
  • Passing
  • Calmness on the ball

Weaknesses:

  • Defensively suspect

Another new signing that Farke has brought from Germany but one that comes with a wealth of experience. The central midfielder who won the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship with Germany before later switching allegiances to Bosnia and Herzegovina has played in Bundesliga 2 but most recently the Bundesliga with SV Darmstadt 98. He’s also been capped six times for his country. Capable of playing as a number 10 or out wide, it looks like Vrančić will play in a midfield three for Norwich and he has already demonstrated his array of passing skills and terrific ability on set pieces in the two games he’s featured in so far. With Rangers likely to match Norwich with three in midfield it will be fascinating to see who out of Freeman and Vrančić can influence the game more as the central playmaker.

Marley Watkins

Strengths:

  • Versatility
  • Skill
  • Link up play

Weaknesses

  • Composure

A rare signing from Farke that’s not been recruited from the German league, Watkins has good experience of the Championship having last season played in the same team as R’s midfielder Josh Scowen for Barnsley. Watkins, who can play on the wings or up top will likely be deployed as one of the two forwards for Norwich on Wednesday and has already scored against QPR when he headed in the opener in our 3-2 defeat at Oakwell last season. He was also a handful in the game at Loftus Road and has qualities that can hurt the opposition if used in the correct manner. However, he missed two fairly simple chances in the opening game against Fulham and was barely involved against Sunderland at the weekend so might have to influence this game from the bench.