Nothing captured the chaotic nature of what was going on around Norwich City’s penalty area against Aston Villa better than the couple of minutes that Ibrahim Amadou was forced to defend whilst wearing only one boot.
It was an artistic interpretation of what the Canaries are going through at the moment. The football version of having to do something with one hand tied behind your back.
There is a famous story about somebody who loses a shoe only to have it returned by a handsome prince. There was to be no fairy-tale at Carrow Road on Saturday. Amadou had to retrieve his glass slipper all by himself because it turned out the only prince in town was an Aston Villa fan.
In this harsh re-telling of Cinderella, Prince Charming actually turned out to be already married with three children and a receding hairline that makes him not quite the catch he once was.
It’s ok for me to say that because I was also born in 1982 so I can sympathise with the Duke of Cambridge on the harshness of the ageing process as you hit your late 30s more than I can with his choice of football team.
Ultimately Norwich’s performance contained more Ama-don’ts than Amadous when it comes to the basics of Premier League defending.
Not enough of the City players had got the memo that read “You shall go to the ball. Particularly when it’s near our box” and Aston Villa were able to capitalise and inflict a defeat that Daniel Farke was honest enough afterwards to admit he had been concerned might be on the cards.
There were mitigating circumstances of course. Injuries often feel like a desperate excuse because every team has them during a season and it’s part of a club’s duty to ensure they have a squad deep enough to cope with the rigours of a long campaign.
In fairness to Norwich City, even with nine first teamers out at the weekend, they were able to name a side that included most players in their preferred positions.
MORE: Six things we learned from Villa defeat
The current Canary curse is something else. It’s not just that they have nine injuries, it’s not just that it’s mainly goalkeepers and defensive players who are out, it is the fact that the casualty list has deprived Daniel Farke of exactly the sort of people he would want on the pitch to steady a sinking ship.
Norwich went through four different captains during their promotion season. Grant Hanley, Timm Klose, Alex Tettey and Christoph Zimmermann are all injured along with Tim Krul who, although he never actually wore the armband last season, is regarded as a key member of the leadership group in the dressing room.
It can be no coincidence that Krul and Tettey both played against Manchester City three weeks earlier when the bulk of the players that struggled to cope with Aston Villa deservedly saw off the champions. Where would that promising youngster that was Cinderella have been without her fairy godmother to guide her through the difficult times when the ugly sisters were applying the high press?
In the space of two homes games the Norfolk faithful has been treated to the Premier League experience at its most brilliant and most brutal.
The real Norwich City lies somewhere in between those two performances but when the youngsters who blew through Carrow Road like a breath of fresh air last season are suddenly and out of necessity being asked to lead and inspire their single-booted team mates it’s no wonder that fairy tales are making way for gritty dramas that don’t have happy endings for Canaries fans.