Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Leicester City
PUBLISHED: 01:30 15 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 15 December 2019
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Leicester City verdict after the Canaries’ battling 1-1 Premier League draw
Be honest, how many gave Norwich any realistic chance of halting Leicester's eight-match Premier League winning run? City limped into this 'mismatch' on the back of two disappointing top flight defeats.
The Foxes looked rampant, packed with top young English talent, astute overseas stars and Jamie Vardy crashing in goals from everywhere.
But City proved again, as they have done on enough top flight occasions to construct a solid argument, they have enough quality, enough application and character to mix it in this rarefied air.
They have been unable to do consistently enough. But given the backdrop, this was a day to set against Manchester City. Teemu Pukki's ninth of the campaign was merited and Norwich could have had more on the counter.
There was another painful set piece concession for the Foxes' equaliser but thereafter a resolution and organisation that needs to be harnessed. This can either be a watershed moment for the battles ahead. Or brief respite.
2. Go forth and plunder
For Pukki to have nine Premier League goals in a struggling side at this stage of the season is a testament to how well he has adapted and emerged from a fallow period, when the chances and the support were at a minimum.
The manner he ran away from Caglar Soyuncu before calmly bamboozling Kasper Schmeichel was the finish of not only a predator, but a footballer brimful of confidence.
There was more potential on the counter as the game became stretched. On one such occasion a heavy first touch allowed Soyuncu and Jonny Evans to close the door. Pukki's anguished reaction told you he should have tested the Foxes' keeper. But given the plaudits lavished on the Leicester central defensive duo recently, Pukki shaded the battle.
That underlines how good he is and how lucky Norwich are to have him leading the line.
3. Tick in the box, Max
City's young full back, Max Aarons, endured one of those days in the Premier League against Sheffield United that reminded everyone how young he is and the level he is now operating at.
Beaten aerially by Enda Stevens for the Blades' opener it had a corrosive impact on the rest of his game that afternoon.
This was a stiff test passed with flying colours. There was the usual attacking adventure. Notably a first half burst into the opposition box and a cross that Pukki was unable to divert. But perhaps more importantly he was defensively solid.
Even when Leicester introduced Harvey Barnes at the interval to stretch the play. There was even a verbal volley directed at Christoph Zimmermann for putting him in trouble late on inside his own box.
Aarons is maturing at a rapid pace. There may be the odd difficult day but he is on the right path.
4. Building blocks for Buendia
The perfectly-time pass for Pukki to notch was Buendia at his best; incisive, instinctive and technically perfect. There was an even better wedge dropped over the top for the striker in the second half that came to nothing.
But the Argentine has also cut out the silly losses of possession in dangerous areas of the pitch in his last two games, since a period of reflection on the sidelines.
There was almost more evidence of his willingness to track back and support Aarons when Leicester threatened.
Norwich will need him to remain focused, stay sharp and remember some of the darker days on a personal level and the fallout. On this stage and against this level of opponent he did not look out of place.
5. Main man Maddison
After those warm words from City's record sale in the build up there was a lovely show of mutual appreciation at the final whistle when the 3,000 plus travelling support acclaimed Leicester's creative spark.
Maddison waved his approval. This was business and the calling card left on Alex Tettey in the first half underlined his first priority was helping the Foxes to a ninth straight win. He added another assist to his tally with the cross Tim Krul parried into his own net from Vardy's flick.
But there is no doubting a genuine warmth and affection from the Coventry-bred midfielder towards the club, the fans and the head coach who shaped him. Plenty in Norfolk will derive a lot of pride and satisfaction if he goes on to fulfil his huge potential.