Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 2-1 win at Brentford
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Paddy Davitt delivers his Brentford verdict after Norwich City's 2-1 Premier League victory.
1. Delicious Norwich Away win
Okay, it does not quite work and you would not package this backs-to-the-wall win at Brentford as peak DNA football under Daniel Farke at Norwich City. But feel the precious result and worry about the quality another day.
Norwich were clinical in the first half, with Mathias Normann at the hub of their two goals. After the interval, they dug perhaps deeper than many thought they were capable of after a wretched opening 10 Premier League games.
That second period was heart and soul, character and commitment. There was little sparkling football from the visitors, although Teemu Pukki spurned a chance to double his tally and make it 3-0 before Brentford roared back. But this is Norwich. When do they ever do it the easy way?
The reaction at the final whistle spoke volumes. Normann dropped to his feet in a mixture of exhaustion and elation. Tim Krul hugged Andrew Omobamidele, backroom staff high fived each other and those long suffering away fans bellowed ‘Yellows’ before a spontaneous rendition of 'We are staying up'.
It was respite in a journey thus far spent navel gazing. Apologising for City's presence among the elite. It was Norwich sticking out their chests and saying maybe, just maybe, they can compete and they can pick up points at the top table.
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This has to be a line in the sand. Not a last hurrah.
2. The general
It was not simply the quality of Normann’s opening strike, or the majestic threaded ball for Pukki to run onto before he was felled in the lead up to City’s penalty.
It was the discipline and the defensive nous the Norwegian international displayed in a holding midfield role in front of the Canaries’ backline.
Normann put out fires and sensed the danger in a manner Olly Skipp would have been proud of. He might not be a clone of the Tottenham midfielder, who excelled in last season’s Championship triumph, but this was a more than passable impression in an area City desperately need to find an answer.
Normann is also a leader of men. At a critical stage in the second half, in a brief pause in the action, the platinum blond was going around his team mates with fists clenched and a determined look on his face.
In word and deed he was immense. He looked genuinely emotional as he dropped to his knees on the final whistle. A season long loan deal it may be, but Normann is already fully invested in this adventure.
3. Check his birth certificate
How can Omobamidele be in his teens? The maturity alongside the calming influence of Ben Gibson was something to behold. Particularly when the Bees raided at will in a second half when the 19-year-old will have learnt more than a season at development football.
There was perhaps one blip, when the central defensive duo both attacked the same ball which ended with Bryan Mbeumo slotting, before the Video Assistant Referee correctly intervened. But there was no quarter asked or given from the Irishman up against the fearsome Ivan Toney.
For Farke to trust him the previous weekend, ahead of both Brandon Williams or Dimitris Giannoulis at left back, up against Leeds’ dangerman Raphinha said it all.
The Republic of Ireland international is now a serious player in the pack. But restored to his more favoured position, Omobamidele did not look out of place in Premier League company.
Rest assured, Farke will seek to puncture some of the hype and rising expectation, but he has a serious talent on his hands.
4. Krul to the rescue
City’s number one took full responsibility for the manner of Leeds match winner at Carrow Road. That is a measure of the man. Farke himself said Krul was the most disappointed member of his squad in the immediate aftermath.
He had to stomach more frustration perhaps with his omission from the Dutch squad on Friday for upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Krul has spoken liberally in the past how much getting back in the fold for his country meant to him.
But when you had nearly two years out of the game with a career threatening knee injury, that effectively called timed on love affair with first club Newcastle, you have the mettle to respond to adversity.
No one should have doubted the experienced keeper would stand up and be counted.
Twice he foiled Christian Norgaard with wonderful point blank stops that highlighted his agility and his reflexes. There have been a few dissenting voices questioning whether Krul is perhaps not the force of nature he has been over the duration of his time at Carrow Road.
That looks premature now. If not foolish.
5. Baseline Brandon
The Manchester United loanee is fast turning into an enigma. Superb at Arsenal and here against the Bees. But in other games this season, much like Norwich, he has looked off the pace.
Williams is a young man with a profile inflated from emerging at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
He was sent to Norfolk because he needs to reach that level of consistency regularly to force his way into the starting line up at Old Trafford. But the same challenge applies equally for the Canaries.
Perform at this level; aggressive and combative in the challenge, vibrant in his counter-attacking urges, and the debate who occupies the left side of the City backline becomes largely redundant.
Even if that desire to chop back onto his favoured right foot does nothing to give Norwich the more natural balance which Giannoulis brings.
Nevertheless, perform to this standard and he looks the overall package. But it cannot be highs and lows. Peaks and troughs. This has to be the standard.