Bravery, vibrancy and Pukki fever – six things learned from Norwich City’s triumph over Newcastle
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After a first Premier League triumph of the season – David Freezer assesses Norwich City’s superb display with six things learned from the Carrow Road success.
1 - Attacking style looks so familiar
It was rather fitting that this breakthrough performance drew parallels with the great Norwich City era of the early 1990s.
Daniel Farke became the first Canaries manager to win the first home game of a Premier League season since Mike Walker in 1992, when Chelsea were beaten 2-1 and the campaign went on to finish in the club's best ever finish of third in the top flight.
Add in Teemu Pukki scoring the first hat-trick in the top tier since Efan Ekoku in September 1993 and there are some encouraging similarities with the club's finest vintage.
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The intensity and team spirit also bore the hallmarks of an attacking style which the likes of Bowen, Crook and Sutton would have been proud of. For a promoted side to play with such swagger is seriously impressive.
Conceding a consolation so late was frustrating but let's not forget, that great team of 1992-93 also managed to finish third with a goal difference of minus four.
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2 - Pukki fever a national epidemic
There have been all manner of Teemu Pukki facts and stats flying around since the Finn's inspired treble, that's what happens when you shine on the biggest stage of them all.
He moved up to 50th place in City's all-time goal-scorers list, little more than a year since joining, drawing level with Craig Bellamy and Chris Martin on 34. Bellamy managed that in 91 games, Martin in 117. Pukki has done so in just 48.
He's also scored as many Premier League hat-tricks as big names including Dennis Bergkamp, Gianfranco Zola and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Finland international has already scored more top flight goals than the three Cameron Jerome managed from 34 games during the 2015-16 season under Alex Neil and is the first to score in his first two Premier League appearances for City since Ashley Ward in 1994.
And the best of all? He's a friendly, unassuming chap with a big smile who chases back to help out his defence.
3 - Trybull is ready to rumble
At the heart of this opening success of the season for City was the return of true Farkeball, with Mo Leitner and Tom Trybull paired together in central midfield.
The Germans only started five games together last season but provided an excellent balance to leave Newcastle chasing shadows.
Leitner made 93 accurate passes, more than anyone on the pitch and more than the Magpies central midfield trio of Shelvey, Ki and Hayden combined (81). See out player watch for more on Mo.
It was Trybull who made more tackles than anyone though (five), swarming after the ball and providing real drive and energy to get the ball to Leitner quickly.
This was the Trybull of the second half of last season, who became one of the first names on the team-sheet as the Championship title race progressed, only for an ankle injury to keep him out of the final three games. His use of the ball was also excellent. Now he needs to maintain this intensity.
4 - Bravery is paying off for Todd
That heralded number 14 is looking increasingly well placed on the back of Todd Cantwell.
The academy product is maturing rapidly and can be almost certain of another start against Chelsea on Saturday, after a display packed with class and attacking bravery. To create you have to take chances, to not be afraid of losing possession, as Wes Hoolahan knew full well.
He was so close to a superb first Premier League goals just minutes into the win after a lovely spin into space to turn a Pukki cross towards goal, only to be foiled by Martin Dubravka.
Again the turn into space from a Jamal Lewis pass on the left demonstrated his intelligence, powerfully pushing into space before handing over to the main man Pukki to finish the job.
Then the 21-year-old was there again, bursting on to Marco Stiepermann's fine through-ball before allowing Pukki to take over. Two very encouraging assists.
5 - Late blow but Hanley was better
For the second game on the spin you had to feel sorry for skipper Grant Hanley but the defender's late error had nothing to do with bad luck this time.
City had switched off deep into injury-time and then all of a sudden the defender had Jonjo Shelvey running at him unopposed.
The England midfielder sold the former Newcastle centre-back a dummy to send him the wrong way and leave him on his backside as he tucked in a consolation goal.
After that horrible own goal at Liverpool it felt cruel on a player who had really shown determination and concentration to keep £40m man Joelinton frustrated alongside Ben Godfrey, winning plenty of headers.
After playing so little last season, it looked like Hanley was finding his rhythm and Farke praised his efforts as "outstanding" due to the pressure on him. Timm Klose could be back in contention for the Chelsea game but the Scot looks likely to keep his place in the starting XI.
6 - The living room feels brand new
There was so much for Canaries fans to be proud of at Carrow Road on Saturday, on and off the pitch.
From the colour and energy of the flags filling the lower Barclay before kick-off, to a roaringly positive din during the game and the celebratory waves with Farke at full-time, the stadium felt a really happy place.
With football fans around the country set to see the rejuvenated football style on show, there was a real sense of the home faithful wanting to show the watching nation that something special is happening in NR1.
From seeing Pukki's proud grin as he was interviewed by Gary Lineker, to the sight of all that yellow and green alongside a vibrant playing style, there must have been a few admiring glances from opposition supporters.
Thankfully, there's another home game coming straight up, and that support and volume will be needed even more against Chelsea. The days of Carrow Road being quiet must stay in the past.