Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 victory against Dynamo Dresden
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict after the Canaries’ latest 2-0 friendly win over Dynamo Dresden
1. Hard to handle Hugill
With tattoos all the way down his right arm and talk of ‘battering’ defenders out of the way you could be forgiven for thinking there is no finesse to Jordan Hugill.
On the contrary, his maiden strike to seal this latest friendly win over Dynamo Dresden was a deft lift over the advancing keeper.
It was cool, composed and highlighted perhaps in one respect appearances can be deceptive.
Hugill packs a punch. Of that there is no doubt. He brings a physicality and a combativeness that should suit Norwich in the Championship. It is very hard to see too many centre backs attempting to bully, let alone master, City’s new number nine.
There is a fine lineage that spans the likes of Grant Holt and Iwan Roberts of robust frontmen who endeared themselves to supporters with their goalscoring prowess and their talismanic approach.
Hugill could be cut from the same cloth.
Daniel Farke admitted afterwards he brings something Norwich lacked last season.
The beaming smile from the head coach as the pair shook hands suggested Farke is relishing the chance to add another dimension to the Canaries’ attacking endeavours.
2 Hail the GOAT
It might have been a friendly but try telling Teemu Pukki his first goal in open play since December 14 last year didn’t matter.
Pukki endured a torrid second part of last season.
Much like the team who relied on him so heavily to plunder the goals in the same quantities he managed to shoot City to promotion, and then grab global headlines in the opening part of the Premier League quest.
Injuries, and what his head coach felt was a gruelling workload for club and country, caught up with him.
But with Jordan Hugill’s arrival, Pukki needs to respond.
The earlier the better. He did that with a composed finish and the type of cunning run down the channels that was his trademark in his pomp.
The pass from Marco Stiepermann was perfectly-timed, and if those two can renew the productive double act that spearheaded that title-winning success then Pukki might have more chapters to write in green and yellow.
3. The future is still bright
There was a stirring first half interlude which suggested the new breed are finding their feet in amongst the more experienced operators at Farke’s disposal.
Bali Mumba has had ample opportunity in the first week of pre-season to convince his head coach he might be more than a development option following his move from Sunderland.
Josh Martin had already started to make that transition at Norwich, with his elevation to the first team set-up and a series of Premier League cameos. But the manner Mumba calmly checked inside and then outside a swarm of burgundy shirts before rolling Martin in to drive at the Dresden defence down the City right in a move that ended with Xavi Quintilla being denied by Kevin Broll was a delicious appetiser.
Mumba does not lack for confidence or composure.
Farke admitted as much afterwards. He has the perfect role model in Max Aarons to observe at close quarters.
But, like Aarons, both Mumba and Martin must also continue to show a healthy disregard for their peers to press their own first team claims.
4. City need a bigger team sheet
Emi Buendia’s ‘absence’ set a few hearts racing, with social media fanning the flames it was linked to a potential departure, given the Argentine has been touted with a Carrow Road exit this summer.
Buendia was very definitely in attendance in Delbruck and, furthermore, Farke confirmed, had actually been on his bench.
They had simply run out of space alongside the other 13 names listed for Norwich’s substitutes on the handwritten team sheet that underlines the more relaxed nature of these pre-season affairs.
It was the same on Tuesday, when Jamal Lewis could not be seen in training pictures as the squad went through their paces. The Northern Irish international was on an adjacent pitch running with one of the club’s support staff, following what Farke has labelled a minor niggle in the early days of pre-season.
Both examples perhaps highlight the febrile backdrop that on the one hand sees Norwich preparing to embark on a Football League fightback while some of their best talent continues to be linked with a bailout. Just wait for the slew of column inches mentioning Lewis in connection with Leicester following Ben Chilwell’s Chelsea move.
It is par for the course, but as Farke himself outlined prior to this latest friendly win, a major influx of new faces is not tied to a similar exodus. If clubs do want to purchase their brightest they will need to be persuasive and prepared to back up such interest with substantial offers to even tempt the Carrow Road top brass.
5. Pitch (im)perfect
The faces of some of Norwich players on arrival, as they surveyed the poor playing surface at Delbruck, was a picture.
Overgrown, bobbly and not conducive to the style of play Farke wants from his team.
Questions will surely be asked in any tour debrief about a pitch not fit for purpose for the second visit, after encountering similar concerns when they played Union Berlin in Farke’s first summer.
It was to the credit of his current troops they adapted so well in the first half.
Pukki’s finish from Stiepermann’s slaloming run was not the only occasion City made light of the terrain to pop the ball about. If pre-season is all about preparation it might also serve a purpose during a long, gruelling campaign.
There will be days and nights when the conditions are anything but favourable. Norwich may not encounter anything quite as bad in the Championship, but a little adversity and the chance to display some collective resolve is no bad thing.
And Farke thankfully confirmed on the final whistle his players appeared to come through unscathed.
They are due a pre-season not blighted by injury, after the tale of woe that marred a top-flight tilt.