Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s impressive 2-1 FA Cup win at Burnley

Grant Hanley headed Norwich City in front at Burnley 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Grant Hanley headed Norwich City in front at Burnley Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Burnley verdict after the Canaries’ 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win

1. Que Sera Sera

Well, Norwich City fans can dream. There was certainly no delay in striking up the obligatory Wembley chant once Josip Drmic had swiftly followed up Grant Hanley's thumping header to seal the Canaries' FA Cup passage to the last 16 for only the second time in 13 seasons.

Daniel Farke rang the changes again but this was another impressively cohesive display from those in green and yellow.

There was a noticeable drop in the tempo, compared to Premier League combat, but City underlined their intent to take this game seriously seven seconds from the kick-off. Mario Vrancic burst through central midfield and his intended pass for Lukas Rupp dropped fortuitously at the feet of Drmic.

The Swiss international missed the target but it set the tone for a front-foot display. There might not have been any precious league points at stake, but it was another shot of confidence and momentum.

2. Vibrant Vrancic

You only have to go back just over 12 months to remember how influential Vrancic was in that epic Championship title-winning surge. Alas, the injury and fitness issues which have plagued the Bosnian international midfielder since he arrived in England scuppered his chances to hit the ground running in the Premier League.

But there have been glimpses of his undoubted quality since returning to the fold just before the festive period.

He fell well below what was required in that heavy defeat at Manchester United - along with plenty of others - but he showed again at Turf Moor what an invaluable option he is.

The key is to surround him with the defensively-minded midfield protection to afford him the ability to create, to see the pictures and use his quality on the ball to deliver. Both City's goals were sourced from his intelligent centres.

He also set the tempo in the first half, with Tom Trybull offering the insurance policy behind.

3. Deadly Drmic

Not quite. There was plenty of sighters prior to the interval, following on from that opening minute chance, to suggest Drmic needs game time to really find that sharp attacking edge to his play. But his cunning and guile, the way he dropped deeper to bring others into the game, were also evident and that penalty box nous to sense an opportunity.

That predatory instinct eventually brought him the match-winning chance.

It may have looked a simple slot from close range, but it was all about his willingness to gamble and follow in Rupp's initial flick over Joe Hart.

Like Vrancic, he badly needs a free run from injury but there is a player in there to ably back up Teemu Pukki for the Premier League, and FA Cup test, ahead.

4. Bravo Byram

Much has been made of Norwich's circumspect outlay in the market ahead of their Premier League return. But the £750,000 deposited in West Ham's coffers to seal the transfer of Sam Byram looks with every passing week a hugely astute piece of business.

Byram is a mult-purpose option on either flank, with the defensive resolve and attacking nous required from the modern full back.

Only James Tarkowski denied him an opening goal, in this cup tie, when he cleared his stabbed effort off the line in the first half.

But Byram continued to add width and attacking intent on the overlap. For the here and now, he has established himself as a frontline option.

For the future, depending on which league City find themselves in and potentially where Max Aarons ends up beyond this coming summer, he could become an important part of the next phase of this project.

5. Premier League bounce

It certainly cannot hinder the survival push. Farke can harness that feelgood factor on the training pitches of Colney in the coming days. He also has valuable minutes for some of his fringe players and a sense there is genuine competition now, from Ralf Fahrmann at the back to Drmic up top.

It perhaps also illustrates, ahead of the final days of the transfer window, there is a level of depth to the current roster that means City will approach deadline night on Friday with a degree of detachment.

That is not to say they will be slow to act if an opportunity presents itself.

But irrespective of what Stuart Webber is able to do or not between now and then, Norwich will travel to Newcastle in buoyant mood. That could be the real legacy of cup progress in the shorter term.

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