Six things you might have missed from Norwich City’s revitalising victory at Everton
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Following a revitalising victory at Everton there are plenty of reasons for Norwich City supporters to be hopeful about their team’s Premier League prospects.
1 - Extremes of top-tier outcomes
The intensity and drama of the Premier League makes every win feel wonderful and every defeat feel like the end of the world, especially for promoted teams.
Unlike the Championship, when another game is just a few days away throughout much of the campaign, the aftereffect of either outcome in the top flight seems to mean so much more.
After being dealt such a cruel hand with injuries during the early stages of this season, puncturing the high hopes on the back of one of the best campaigns in Norwich City history, those extremes have felt drastic for Daniel Farke's team.
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So the sea of smiles, hugs all round and jubilant fist pumps in front of the away end at full-time felt like a real release for all involved with the Canaries - finally scoring a second and third away goal of the season.
Despite the highs and lows of the opening 13 matches, City are just six points from 11th and can dream again of even better days to come.
- 1 MATCHDAY RECAP: Canaries beaten by Barnsley in FA Cup
- 2 Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 1-0 FA Cup defeat against Barnsley
- 3 Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries interested in Luton midfielder
- 4 Farke's injury fears for Hugill after Barnsley FA Cup loss
- 5 Rupp set for FA Cup recall
- 6 Robin Sainty: Farke has taken City to a whole new level
- 7 Ton up Tim is wonderful for Farke
- 8 STARTING XIs: Hernandez starts as City make five changes for FA Cup tie
- 9 Energetic Barnsley dump disjointed Norwich side out of the FA Cup
- 10 Barnsley v Norwich City in the FA Cup - all you need to know
2 - Spirit has survived the storm
The much mentioned unity and spirit within Farke's squad has been thoroughly tested recently - and stayed strong under pressure.
Seeing returning centre-back Christoph Zimmermann mobbed by team-mates and hailed by the away fans at the final whistle added to the feeling that the Norwich City of last season had returned.
It seems the fully deserved win at Goodison Park earned a reward as well, with some players posting images on social media of team-mates in fancy dress and heading to a Winter Wonderland festive event in London's Hyde Park.
And you know that united spirit is strong when you see sporting director Stuart Webber helping staff move equipment from the dressing room and on to the team coach as Farke completed his media duties - including the inspirational action photos which make away dressing rooms feel more homely.
That togetherness must stay strong - as it will be pushed to the limit again throughout this season.
3 - Godfrey is the biggest benefactor
Zimmermann's return was of course of huge importance but it was actually Ben Godfrey who was making the majority of the heroic blocks against Everton.
The fit-again German had such a calming effect on those around him, leading and organising, that it took the pressure off 21-year-old Godfrey and allowed him to focus on his own game.
The centre-back pairing had been unbreakable as City chased the title during the second half of last season, forging a bond and clear understanding, knowing how each other will play.
Amid the intense pressure of recent weeks we haven't seen Godfrey spraying those long diagonal passes the pair are so good at, but with his senior colleague leading the way, we immediately saw some of that confidence returning for the England U21 international.
The blocks to deny Lucas Digne and Tom Davies which earned him big hugs from his team-mates showed exactly the determination needed.
4 - Srbeny's special moment
The curious case of Dennis Srbeny's career at Norwich City has taken on a very different complexion all of a sudden - with the striker almost earning cult status.
To see the 25-year-old slot past England number one Jordan Pickford to seal a memorable away triumph sparked wild scenes in the away end at Goodison Park.
It was a fifth Canaries goal in his 41st game, having been signed from Paderborn for around £1m back in January 2018 - his first goal in just over a year, since a 4-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Srbeny arrived as the top scorer in the German third tier but has started just seven league games, all of them during his first six months with the club - playing a total of around 30 minutes in the Premier League so far.
So to score in the world's most watched league - when four years ago he was playing for BFC Dynamo in the German fourth tier - is quite the story. With Josip Drmic out until January, he may get more chances yet as well.
5 - Ruthless edge was welcome
Five yellow cards is nothing to be proud of usually - but on this occasion those bookings were a sign that the defensive penny had dropped for Farke's players.
The Premier League may boast top players but it is also a physically demanding and highly competitive standard, with every team boasting pace and power.
Zimmermann set the tone when he took the first yellow for the team, after Todd Cantwell had lost the ball in attack with Max Aarons out of position, ensuring Everton forward Richarlison didn't get past him.
Cantwell made up for that error when he superbly charged back to tackle Morgan Schneiderlin, cleanly taking the ball to avoid a booking. Kenny McLean was booked for a strong tackle and Aarons for some pushing and shoving as he stuck up for Cantwell.
It wasn't pretty at times but it told the hosts that City were in no mood to be bullied - they were up for the fight but didn't step over the line.
6 - Chance of changing narrative
To bring an end to a horrid run of six defeats in seven games with a 2-0 away win was just about the perfect way to reboot this season.
All of a sudden top-flight survival looks much more achievable, earning City's first top-flight away win by a two-goal margin since Alex Neil's team won 3-1 at Sunderland in August 2015.
With Zimmermann back in the mix and Grant Hanley hopefully not too far behind, the centre-back situation is looking better, and Byram's performance potentially allows a bit of time for Jamal Lewis to ensure his knee problem is settled fully.
Onel Hernandez is also starting to regain confidence on the wing after his injury, being denied by a fine Pickford save - although he really should have passed to an unmarked Teemu Pukki.
Farke almost has a full squad to select from again but this display is just the start, this needs to be the minimum standard if the Canaries are to kick on and find progressive form.