Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s spirited 1-0 Championship win against Swansea City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Swansea verdict after the Canaries’ 1-0 Championship win.
This at times felt like a play-off game. The intensity, the snap in the challenges, the vocals from the benches. This was two very evenly matched teams serving up a cracker of a Championship contest. All it lacked was goals. But Norwich grabbed the one that mattered.
Marco Stiepermann’s fine low finish six minutes from time would have been greeted with a tumultuous roar.
This game deserved a full house. Norwich found a way. When they did not have it all their own way. Swansea will be sore after bossing the second period but finding no way past the resolute Tim Krul.
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The Canaries can really enjoy their international break. They enter it on the back of a seven match unbeaten run. But this was the pick of the bunch.
2. Mighty Mumba
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What a call from Daniel Farke to make a double change at a critical moment in the second half. With Swansea on top and dangerman Andre Ayew targeting makeshift left back Jacob Sorensen, Farke turned to a young man with a couple of minutes of league action for Norwich.
Bali Mumba has clearly made a huge impression on the City boss since his summer move from Sunderland. The development pool was bypassed swiftly as he was fast tracked into Farke’s first team plans. There will be no loan spell either away from Carrow Road for the teenager.
You can see why on this evidence. Deployed nominally behind another young man in Josh Martin, Mumba appeared to decide the best form of defence to handle Ayew was attack.
Operating more like a left winger he made numerous darts into the box. There was one telling intervention, squaring for Emi Buendia to tee up Stiepermann. What a Carrow Road debut.
3. Best in class
What more is there to be said about Krul? Norwich’s reigning player-of-the-year appears keen on retaining his crown.
A second clean sheet in a matter of days at Carrow Road. But this was a far busier shift for the Dutch international.
He foiled Jamal Lowe on more than one occasion. There was a superb low block as well in the aftermath of a penalty shout involving Max Aarons. The Lowe saves themselves were made to look routine, but his positioning and his concentration were spot on.
With Norwich creaking at times in the second period his experience was invaluable. Krul is the calm head when the temperatures are rising. No liberties can be taken. As Ayew found just prior to the interval with a verbal joust between the pair. From a distance it looked like Krul was unhappy at Ayew’s constant ‘dialogue’ with the referee. And let him know him.
You cannot keep this man out of the action. He is the beating heart of this Norwich side.
4. International concerns
Norwich undoubtedly need a breather after seven games in 21 days. That much was clear when Farke delivered a gloomy fitness bulletin on the eve of battle. As it turned out, only Ben Gibson and Lukas Rupp, plus Todd Cantwell, were unavailable from the likely actors. Xavi Quintilla was never in with a shout.
Christoph Zimmermann and Kenny McLean underlined the enviable depth of resource available to Farke.
For those not going away with their countries, this next fortnight will be a chance to rest up and recover.
But Farke expressed his own concerns over his international contingent on Friday. Not only the toll, in terms of the workload, but the travelling around Europe as country after country adopt tighter restrictions around movement in the midst of the pandemic. This is now out of Farke’s hands.
But he will hope there is no collateral damage to clean up for the Championship resumption.
Add Swansea to the same cast list as Brentford and Bournemouth. Norwich have now played three of the sides expected to be in contention for Championship promotion.
They have lost once, and then after they had bossed possession down on the south coast against the Cherries but lacked a cutting edge.
That should provide plenty of confidence; especially to the boys on this journey in the second tier for the first time. There is nothing to fear. Norwich have the personnel from front to back to be in contention at the sharp end.
This game underlined they have a robustness to their defensive work and the ability to punch a hole in well drilled opponents.
What they need on the resumption is some fortune with injuries to their key players, and they can pick up where they left off. The momentum is with them. The wind is at their backs.