Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 4-0 Championship romp at Sheffield Wednesday
PUBLISHED: 00:07 04 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 04 November 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Hillsborough
1. History boys
First win at Hillsborough since 2001.
An end to consecutive 5-1 maulings in these parts and more importantly another huge step forward in a gathering tilt at promotion from the Championship. Top of the standings at the final whistle.
Given the game could not have started in worst circumstances, when Mario Vrancic was the latest Norwich player to fluff his lines from the penalty spot, the second half surge was breathless in its intensity and ferocity.
City smashed three goals in 11 minutes to quell any prospect the Owls could get their season back up and running after three straight losses. Make no mistake after the manner the first half panned out this was a game Norwich in all probability would have lost last season. Not this time around.
If you needed any more evidence this is different, you have it.
2. Pukki power surge
The flying Finn needed all of 20 odd minutes at Bournemouth to get back in the groove after his hamstring injury. Two penalty box finishes at Hillsborough took his tally since pitching up in Norfolk on a free transfer to eight goals in 15 appearances.
I repeat, a free transfer. Definitive judgements may have to rest until the end of his debut campaign but Pukki has exceeded all expectations.
That is a testament to Stuart Webber, Daniel Farke and the club’s recruitment team. But above all, perhaps, a hat tip to Mr Pukki himself.
To arrive from Danish football - after a spell that never quite took off in British football previously at Celtic - and to produce the goals and the all round game so soon after his arrival is huge credit to the striker.
3. Mighty Max
Norwich’s third goal owed everything to the ambition of Max Aarons, racing forward before exchanging passes with Vrancic and rolling in Pukki for a routine second.
Aarons continues to blossom under the guidance of Farke.
It is not just the combative nature of his defensive work, it is the sense stamped right through his play that even at such a tender age he feels he already belongs in this company.
The way his team mates went to celebrate with him in the aftermath of the goal underlined Aarons is already seen as a first team fixture.
No allowances required for his youth or inexperience. He is in Farke’s first team on his own merits. The possibilities look limitless. For now, he is Norwich’s first choice right back.
4. Paying the penalty
Okay, no harm done in the final analysis. But in tighter games and genuine contests from here on in the season, every chance may count.
Especially those from 12 yards with just the keeper to beat. Vrancic employed Jordan Rhodes’ stuttering run up and side foot finish.
The end result was sadly the same. Owls’ keeper Cameron Dawson almost had to wait for the ball to drop into his mid-driff.
Norwich got the job done in a second half blitz but a third saved spot kick of the season is far too many. Farke and his players need to go back to the drawing board in this aspect. The opposition have definitely done their homework.
5. Day to remember
City development duo Alfie Payne and Timi Odusina will never forget this outing as long as they play the game.
Neither may have got on the pitch but to be part of the matchday 18, as Farke strived to solve his homegrown dilemma, was a huge step up from the rather more relaxed surroundings of development football.
You can debate the merits of a rule that required the Canaries’ chief to dip so deep into the club’s playing resources - given the commitment to youth that has seen the likes of Jamal Lewis, Aarons and Todd Cantwell become regulars this season.
Nevertheless, for Norwich City-supporting Payne in particular, it was a day for his family to savour with the teenager. Whatever else happens in the pair’s careers from this point, no-one can take away the memories from being part of a Hillsborough hammering.