Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 7-0 Championship rout against Huddersfield
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Huddersfield verdict after Norwich City's 7-0 Championship romp.
Not quite. Just after the final whistle of Norwich’s record-busting romp against Huddersfield Daniel Farke appeared to be having a one-to-one coaching session in the centre circle with Andrew Omobamidele. Or maybe he wanted to tell the teenage Irishman it is not always like this.
The 18-year-old and his team mates had just served up a scintillating slice of football that must have dazzled the nationwide live television audience. Norwich were ruthless and relentless. As they have been most of a season which is hurtling back towards the Premier League.
Huddersfield’s hopes were hindered by a late change of keeper but they could have had two in goal and it would have not have stopped Farke’s rampant side.
A Teemu Pukki hat-trick. An Emi Buendia hat-trick of assists and a post-war record win at this level of the football pyramid. Not forgetting another leap towards the Premier League.
That is the ultimate prize but this stylish win will go down as the poster victory for what has turned into a Championship conquest.
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2. Man or machine?
When Buendia hobbled out of the action in the second half of a bruising Good Friday trip to Preston it seemed a long shot he would be able to feature against the Terriers.
Farke revealed in the immediate aftermath of that Deepdale draw he had wanted to substitute his Argentine ace at the interval after a heavy blow to his right ankle.
Buendia implored Farke to leave him on the pitch, before further damage to the same area forced his exit. But when Farke hailed his toughness on Monday you knew he would be in the starting line up. What a majestic footballer.
A goal and three assists before the interval. Adding to numbers that already set him apart historically in the Championship for an attacking midfielder. Surely only Ivan Toney could put forward a counter argument for Buendia’s campaign not to end with a player-of-the-season?
Alongside another title winners’ medal.
It is not the talent that you need to marvel at any more. It is the desire and the will to win.
The anguished cries when he misplaced a pass at 5-0 up early in the second half illustrated the high standards he strives to attain. The Championship should make the most of these final outings. He will not be back in his career.
3. Dancing Dowell
Apt perhaps as Norwich City close in on a Premier League return they have a young English talent with the potential to solve that problematic number 10 issue that blighted their last top flight tour.
Marco Stiepermann was not quite able to carry his Championship title-winning quality onto the grandest of stages. Kenny McLean and Mario Vrancic had little cameos, and there was even a mid-winter move for Ondrej Duda. Remember him? No, it was not the most memorable of loan signings.
Hence the capture of an Evertonian youth prospect good enough to be part of an England World Cup youth winning squad triggered palpable excitement ahead of this latest Championship assault.
Dowell’s early season ankle injury curtailed his bid to make a big impression but another goal in this game to add to his superb strike at Nottingham Forest underlined he has the ability to add a genuine end product. Not to mention the classy touches and ability to link with like-minded creative types.
Dowell has a club and a head coach who believe in him after an endless series of loans. How well he steps up to the Premier League could be a key factor in how well City adapt this time around.
4. Webber the showman
No chance. But not a bad way to mark four years in charge watching the club you have moulded hammer the club you left far behind.
City’s sporting director is not a man for the limelight. He is happier leaving that to those on the park, or the man he hand picked to lead that group of talented footballers.
Webber would be the first to underscore this is a collective effort. But it needed a visionary, a person with the drive and the energy to set a direction of travel and stick to it.
Be in no doubt, this has not all been plain sailing and champagne football. Webber had plenty of critics in a bumpy first season alongside Farke that ended in lower mid-table mediocrity and the ignominy of finishing below Ipswich.
How the fortunes of those two clubs have diverged.
Webber told any who cared to listen after Premier League relegation if there were Norwich fans in search of a scapegoat then look no further than him. Now he will be feted for masterminding what increasingly looks a second title success at this level.
But Webber never strikes you as someone happy to rest on his laurels. Or sit back in satisfaction. The job is never done.
He will want Norwich to make a markedly better fist of their latest tilt at the top flight. The planning is already well advanced.
5. Put the abacus away
Norwich need a maximum of four points to confirm their inevitable ascent to the Premier League.
Although the way Swansea and Brentford continue to leak oil, it might not even take that. After the Swans’ home loss to Preston on Easter Monday, Brentford were held to a goalless draw against Birmingham City.
The time for proper reflection lies ahead. But what an achievement.
Before the opening day trip to Huddersfield – Pukki squaring for Adam Idah to seal a hard fought win in the Yorkshire sunshine – Farke was very keen to place one statistic above all others. Since his arrival in England only one relegated top flight side had bounced back at the first attempt.
Fulham did it the hard way last season to get the better of Brentford in a play-off final that went to extra-time. Norwich have not only bucked the trend, they may have re-written the rules in the swagger they have pulled relentlessly clear of the pack.
You can debate where this crop sit in the greatest Championship sides of modern times.
But to roar back from an abject relegation, to sell two of their brightest youngsters, to navigate through the financial turbulence of a pandemic, and still set the standard is a feat that will surely stand the testament of time.