Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s epic 3-2 Premier League win against Manchester City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Manchester City verdict after the Canaries’ stunning 3-2 Premier League win
If Carrow Road has witnessed a better game than this, then I would like to have been there. In the context of an injury list that sent shivers down most Norwich fans when Daniel Farke delivered the news, given Pep Guardiola's champions rode into town with a squad assembled for stratospheric sums, given the bookmakers were offering odds of 25/1 on a home win, this defied all footballing logic.
Norwich's shadow men ran themselves to a standstill under captain Alex Tettey. In all the Norwegian's distinguished service in these parts, not even the experienced midfielder can have been part of such a giant-killing. For that is what it felt like.
From first minute to the final whistle, that was greeted with delirium. Home fans roared every challenge, every block, every surging run in a final quarter that felt like an eternity. They may struggle to sleep on Saturday evening. In front of a global audience the secret is out. Norwich City is on the rise.
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2. Sensei Farke
City's head coach played a masterful hand again. It is not just his tactical nous and the stylish manner of his side's football. Witness Todd Cantwell's finish to a sweeping move for the home team's second, that started at the feet of Tim Krul.
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But Farke showed his astuteness before a ball was kicked on Friday at Colney when he revealed the extent of a graphic injury list. There was no willingness to accept excuses or look for a free ride against in his view one of the best two teams in Europe.
Rather he saw his job as giving those in possession of the 11 shirts the confidence to perform, enjoy not endure, and return to the home dressing room with his full support after the game; irrespective of the result.
There was also an appeal to the fans which underlined the mutual trust now built up between the two. He knew that they knew this was an epic assignment and would play their part. Look at those celebrations led by the coach to all four sides of Carrow Road at the end.
Given the manner he guided Norwich to a surprise Championship title win it should hardly come as any shock the German is a seriously good operator. But this was another reminder.
3. Amadou. Legend
Farke suggested he was not sure if Amadou was a better centre half than a defensive midfielder. He might just have got his answer. Alongside Ben Godfrey, the Sevilla loan signing formed an impenetrable barrier for the most part.
There was one vital interception that belonged at the ballet after Godfrey had made a rare slip in possession. Amadou tackled, headed and blocked everything in his path.
There was even the odd burst with the ball out of defence that ensured he has the potential to assume cult status if he can perform on that level from here.
If you want to be churlish, Sergio Aguero escaped both Norwich centre backs in the first half to slot Bernardo's cross. But if the benchmark is one of the best strikers in the world, then you would take Amadou and Godfrey to prevail most weeks in the Premier League against mere mortals.
4. Big up Sam Byram
Max Aarons may still be in the first flush of youth but they were big boots to fill for his understudy.
Facing the formidable Raheem Sterling and alternatively Bernardo as Manchester City sought a way back into a game that contained a blistering start from the Canaries, Byram stood firm.
He needed more help from Emi Buendia when Bernardo crossed for Aguero's riposte before the break, but the manner he engaged two world class operators on his first Premier League for the Canaries suggested Farke has a viable alternative to the polished Aarons for the duration of his injury absence.
Byram must take huge confidence from this shift. It looked an astute piece of business by the club when he arrived in the summer after a career that had appeared to stall at West Ham.
This was a high bar to maintain but he will now get plenty more opportunities to impress in the battles ahead.
5. Is it a plane?
Kenny McLean was another who must surely have been keen to make a good impression with Moritz Leitner and Tom Trybull's injury absences opening the door.
We know the Scot has plenty of the 'Showman' about him in the manner of this epic civic celebrations that greeted the club's Championship title win.
But even he could not have envisaged moving centre stage in quite such thrilling fashion when he made a superbly timed near post run and perfectly cushioned glancing header to divert Buendia's corner past Ederson.
There was a bite and a snarl to his defensive work as well paired alongside Tettey that bodes well for the games ahead.