Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s Premier League 3-2 defeat against Chelsea
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Chelsea verdict after the Canaries’ 3-2 Premier League defeat
1. Bravo City
The applause that spontaneously rang around Carrow Road at the final whistle from the home fans spoke volumes.
Norwich had ultimately come up short against a Chelsea team who looked every bit as motivated for that first win of the Frank Lampard era as Daniel Farke suspected on Friday.
City fell behind twice, got back on level terms twice, but were unable to manage a third. Although a coat of paint denied Ben Godfrey with a thumping far post header.
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Inside the camp, those shaping this journey know it is all about the levels at the top table. Anything additions to the points column from games against the likes of Chelsea should be treasured and savoured.
It is rivals like Newcastle where the haul must come from to ensure these high profile tests become the nom.
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2. Harsh on Hanley?
You could see from the City captain's body language he knew instantly he should have halted Tammy Abraham in the move and strike that decided this contest.
The television replays confirmed he appeared to lose his bearings and the whereabouts of the attacker for a split second as he turned his back to recover. Mateo Kovacic threaded the ball through and Abraham did the rest as he cashed in on Hanley's uncertainty to rifle a winner through the Scot's leg.
You could also look at how Abraham's first goal was sourced, the trigger move on halfway losing Hanley to cushion a pass into a team mate that sparked a swift counter finished by the unmarked England Under-21 starlet.
Farke hailed his captain's perseverance after the Newcastle win but with Timm Klose back on the bench and Christoph Zimmermann closing in a return there will be no sentimentality. The Premier League is an unforgiving environment.
The central defender was not alone. A number of his team were caught out by the intensity of Chelsea's press. Max Aarons' poor pass infield was re-cycled and ended with Mason Mount rifling past Tim Krul for the visitors' second. Leitner and Trybull were also guilty of coughing up possession against a team who adopted a far more aggressive approach than Newcastle the previous weekend.
3. Red letter day for Todd
Life must be pretty good right now in Todd Cantwell's world. He may have fell the wrong side of the result but a maiden Premier League goal is another signpost of his journey from Dereham to who knows where his talent can take him.
That will be a special landmark for him and his family to reflect on in years to come. Chelsea is not a bad opponent to open your account.
The manner he surged towards the near post to meet Pukki's cut back showed he is sharp in mind, and deed, and served as further evidence he is adjusting to the Premier League. Less eye-catching but no less impressive was a sliding tackle to halt a Chelsea counter just outside his own penalty area early in the second half. We know what we can do on the ball but to become a finished article he needs to keep adding facets to his game. Another encouraging shift.
4. Beautiful Buendia
Farke was candid enough to concede in the build up the Argentinian ace had yet to click into top gear after an injury-disrupted pre-season.
To get anywhere near the productivity he produced in the Championship title winning surge is going to be a tall order. But the signs were hugely encouraging in the first half against Chelsea. If Norwich can work him into those pockets of space in the final third, he possesses the intelligence and the imagination to profit.
The burst and the shovel pass to Pukki brought Cantwell his first Premier League goal. Then it was another perfectly-timed pass to Pukki to bring City level again before the break, in a reprise of their double act at Anfield.
Kepa Arrizabalaga denied him a goal from a cheeky free kick routine with Moritz Leitner, but this was a statement display at times against top drawer opponents from the 22-year-old creative spark. He looks like he belongs in such rarefied air.
5. Crawley cup respite
The Premier League feels all-consuming. Norwich were pulled into deep water in the manner Chelsea set about the task with savage intent.
But after three games and when the dust settles the positive far ourweigh the negatives. Farke's squad have a first league win on the board, they have players capable of scoring at this level and perhaps against the right opponents in the same volume they managed in the Championship.
Farke will know the areas for concern but a League Cup trip to Crawley on Tuesday is a perfect opportunity for the fringe men to get a hit out.
You would expect Ibrahim Amadou to get his first action in a Norwich shirt, while the likes of Mario Vrancic, Alex Tettey and Timm Klose are all playing catch up. Farke you can be sure will stress he wants to progress at the expense of the League Two hosts in midweek. But there is a bigger picture in play.