Norwich City got their 2017/18 Championship campaign off to a good start as they equalised late on to secure a share of the points in a 1-1 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
An own-goal from Canaries captain Russell Martin had given the hosts the lead but substitute Nelson Oliveira found the back of the net two minutes from time to claim the visitors a valuable point.
However, the main talking point after the game was Oliveira’s choice of celebration following his goal as he went over to his manager Daniel Farke before taking off his shirt and pointing to his name on the back. He was clearly hinting that he should have been included in his starting line-up for the match.
We take a look at why Farke should look to utilise the Portuguese striker from the start throughout the rest of the season.
Knows how to find the back of the net
Oliveira first made a name for himself at this level for Nottingham Forest in the 2015/16 campaign. Dougie Freedman signed the striker on loan from Primeira Liga side Benfica while the club were under a transfer embargo. He scored nine goals in the 28 league appearances he made for the Reds and helped the club stay clear of relegation to League One.
His performances for Forest did not go unnoticed, and when he was made available for transfer by Benfica last summer, a number of teams were interested in securing his signature. However, it was Norwich who were able to land the striker.
The 25-year-old did have a slow start to his career at Carrow Road and was relatively inconsistent throughout the season. However, his form picked up in the latter stages of the campaign, and he finished with 11 goals in 28 league appearances. He will be hoping to make a far bigger impact at Norwich this season as they look to challenge for a place in the Premier League.
Oliveira is the best striker at the club
There is no doubt that Farke has plenty of attacking players at his disposal including the likes of Oliveira, Cameron Jerome, Yanic Wildschut and Josh Murphy. However, Oliveira and Jerome are arguably the only ‘out-and-out’ strikers at the club.
Jerome has been a fan’s favourite at Carrow Road for many years now and has led the line for the club in The Championship successfully in the past. Despite this, he is now 30-years-old, and he is well past the prime of his career. He does not have as much pace as he previously did and is now easier to defend against.
Oliveira’s celebration on Saturday afternoon suggests that he believes that he could do a better job than Jerome and this could well be the case. Jerome was included in Farke’s starting line-up ahead of Oliveira but provided very little threat for the Canaries.
Better-suited to home matches?
It may be the case that Farke sees Oliveira as better-suited to home games. Jerome is far more physical and better at holding the ball up, and this is often seen as a useful trait by managers for away games at this level. However, at Carrow Road, Norwich will have more time and space on the ball and Oliveira will have more of an opportunity to flourish.
Many supporters felt that Oliveira’s celebration towards Farke was slightly aggressive and potentially undermined the manager. It was not seen this way by Farke who feels that the striker struggles to hide his emotions. He told Norwich’s official site: “I was really full of emotion when Nelson scored and I was passionate too.”