Looking back on a superb September which has rejuvenated Norwich City's season
PUBLISHED: 11:49 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:06 01 October 2017
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September has been nothing short of superb for Norwich City, blowing away the cobwebs of a worrying August which sparked early doubts about the vast changes made at the club this year.
Daniel Farke’s squad have shown they have woken up to the demands of the Championship battle, after a dreadful end to August.
At the start of September the Canaries were third from bottom with just four points from five games, having become the first City team to concede four goals in successive games in the second tier in 18 years.
Saturday night’s excellent 2-1 win at Reading means Farke’s team finished the month in ninth place on 18 points after 11 games, three points adrift of third-placed Sheffield United.
It’s been a hugely impressive turnaround, so let’s take a look at some of the key stats:
8 – goals scored
7 – matches unbeaten
6 – league games
5 – clean sheets
4 – successive away wins
3 – wins by a 1-0 margin
2 – goals conceded
1 – special free-kick from James Maddison
City’s German boss is now surely set for his first nomination for the Championship manager of the month award – but he does face stiff competition.
Bristol City and Aston Villa also picked up 14 points from their six league games during last month to force their way up the table, while the Portuguese revolution continued to pick up pace at Wolves, who claimed 13 points.
Here’s how the month unfolded for the Canaries.
The stabilising start to September came courtesy of an early Nelson Oliveira strike from close range, after the returning Timm Klose turned Mario Vrancic’s corner goalwards in front of the Barclay. Farke’s decision to bring Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull into defensive midfield as part of a tweaked formation began a club-record run of league clean sheets.
The low point of the month, as Nigel Clough’s scrappy side arrived on the back of a 5-0 thrashing at Leeds and parked the proverbial bus to leave the Carrow Road crowd disappointed by a frustrating stalemate.
Fresh hope was breathed into City’s season by a fine strike from Yanic Wildschut in the 23rd minute, before a stubborn rearguard resistance left the Blades fuming, as the Canaries learned from the spoiling tactics used against them by Burton. The Dutchman’s goal earned a first away win of the season and also continued his improved form.
League respite was provided by a comfortable victory away at Championship rivals Brentford in the League Cup, moving 3-0 ahead by the 68th minute, only for a loss of concentration in injury-time to rob Angus Gunn of a fourth consecutive clean sheet. The reward for the win was a glamour tie away to Premier League giants Arsenal in the fourth round, set to be played on Tuesday, October 24.
Another frustrating Carrow Road encounter but this time against one of the division’s in-form teams. Cameron Jerome, Marco Stiepermann and Mario Vrancic all wasted excellent opportunities though, as Lee Johnson’s side walked away from the game happier with the point.
A memorable night for the 428 travelling fans who made the long journey to Teesside on a Tuesday night, thanks to James Maddison’s stunning long-range strike in the 13th minute. Another valiant defensive display left the early-season promotion favourites frustrated and saw Angus Gunn become the first goalkeeper to keep five successive league clean sheets in Canaries history.
With confidence clearly building, City finish the month with a fourth successive away success – in front of a national audience in a televised clash. Another Maddison super-strike, this time from a free-kick, was cancelled out quickly by the hosts but Farke’s team showed their spirit to reclaim the lead through a fine Jerome header early in the second half. It may have brought an end to an outstanding run of clean sheets but it lifted City to ninth in the table and just six points behind leaders Cardiff.
Mind the gap?
Another point of interest, when August finished Ipswich were second and eight points better off than City, who were in the relegation zone.
With the first East Anglian Derby of the season approaching on October 22, Norwich are currently level on points with Mick McCarthy’s side, who have a game in hand.
So perhaps all those ‘mind the gap’ tweets from Town fans weren’t the best of ideas.
Take a look at some of the best images from September below