Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-0 win at Sheffield United
PUBLISHED: 01:33 17 September 2017 | UPDATED: 01:42 17 September 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Bramall Lane
1. Build the wall - A bigger contrast from those defensive abdications at Aston Villa and Millwall you could not hope to find from Norwich City. The Canaries were pushed back and pummelled with balls fired in from wide areas at Bramall Lane. After two consecutive clean sheets at home this felt like more of an acid test against a Sheffield United who had only conceded once in the league in South Yorkshire this season. Angus Gunn was pressed into service when Timm Klose was nutmegged early in the first half but thereafter there was a superbly resolute barrier erected around the Manchester City loanee.
2. Yanic Wildschut. Powerhouse - He might not have the smooth technical skills of some of his fellow Norwich midfielders but for direct thrust, sheer pace and athletic intent he is a key component of this Canaries’ squad. Particularly in games, like this one, where City were pinned back and forced to raid on the counter. Wildschut’s instinctive, unerringly accurate first half goal was also a pertinent reminder Norwich have a goal threat even without Nelson Oliveira on duty.
3. It ain’t half hot, Dan - Farke has cut a cultured figure so far since arriving in Norfolk. The softly-spoken tones and the refined style he wants his team to play may have conveyed the impressions he is far too nice. But both the German and his coaching team refused to take a backward step in a bear pit of an atmosphere at Bramall Lane. Opposite number Chris Wilder was sent from his technical area in the second half for encroaching into Farke’s territory to retrieve the ball. Whether words or not were exchanged only the officials know but Farke appeared unfazed by the ferocity of the home fans and berating of him and his players. There is a competitor underneath the polished exterior.
4. Talking of intimidation - Young Angus Gunn left the secure confines of Manchester City to learn the harsh realities of professional football. Twice in the closing stages at a fraught Bramall Lane objects were thrown onto the pitch from the vast Kop behind him. Gunn calmly handed the first to the referee before Timm Klose took the second. But he remained unflappable as balls continued to pepper his penalty area. It’s not just his shot-stopping ability that is so impressive. We saw first-hand evidence of his temperament.
5. Great leap forward? - Too early to tell. But for so many reasons this looked a major test of Daniel Farke’s evolving squad. They can play better, much better in possession. We have already seen that in sporadic flashes. But for sheer grit and that attitude to protect their slender advantage you sense a third unbeaten game and third clean sheet will inject so much confidence into the German’s squad. That elusive momentum is starting to build.