City’s attacking play looked far smoother with Buendia back from his ban
- Credit: PA
Our latest Norwich City player watch followed the fortunes of Emi Buendia as the midfielder returned from a three-game ban during the 2-2 draw at Stoke on Easter Monday.
3: Max Aaron plays in to the right channel and Buendia wins a corner off Ashley Williams. Sends in from the right, Ben Godfrey can’t make contact and Onel Hernandez fires just wide.
4: Hernandez finds him in midfield and James McClean takes him out at the ankles from behind, does get a toe on the ball but only a free-kick, no yellow.
7: Lovely skill to flick clear of Williams as he’s found by Aarons on the right, spreads infield.
12: Spreads left but doesn’t find Jamal Lewis and Edwards heads out for a throw. Soon after tries to beat Peter Etebo and goes down too easily, doesn’t get the free-kick.
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15: In the thick of the possession play and eventually pulls the trigger to try and get Teemu Pukki into the box, deflected and Ryan Shawcross has to slide to prevent a corner.
19: Swings free-kick in from the left, headed down by Williams and breaks to Pukki but can’t force a header past Jack Butland from close range.
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21: Hurdles a Joe Allen tackle but the Welshman catches Kenny McLean and is lucky to escape a booking.
22: Lewis with a nice ball to Marco Stiepermann, Buendia slaloms through but Etebo makes a fine tackle as he shapes to shoot.
24: Turns the ball on to Hernandez on the left, Lewis beats Allen, Tom Edwards only clears as far as Hernandez in the box, who thumps bottom-left and Butland can’t keep out, as City take a 1-0 lead.
25: Turns a Tom Trybull pass on to Stiepermann, who tries to find Pukki but the striker is crowded out.
27: Spots Aarons making a run on the right and arrows a long pass but gets it wrong and Butland let’s the ball roll out.
29: Misses Lewis with a simple pass but great burst to beat Allen and prevent an attack, to the appreciation of the away end, calmly plays to Ben Godfrey. Soon after sets Kenny McLean forward with an incisive pass and Pukki wins a corner. Swings over from the left and Godfrey can’t make clean contact with his header.
31: Very poor decision, trying to control a Sam Clucas cross from the left, tries a fancy bit of control with the outside of his boot and concedes a corner.
35: Stiepermann fouled by Etebo, Buendia under-hits free-kick from the left and easily headed clear.
36: Lovely one-two with Trybull and slaloms away from two men but then loses the ball cheaply, Aarons with a superb tackle back on McClean to put the ball out for a corner. Krul excellent punch then Aarons enough pressure to prevent Batth reaching Edwards cross back into the box.
39: Godfrey lovely ball and Aarons fine work to dance around McClean and force him into a foul on the edge of the box. Buendia swings in from the right, headed clear and Lewis has to go back to Krul.
45: Stiepermann robs Danny Batth and then Buendia holds off the defender but angry that referee doesn’t give a foul.
50: Chopped down by Etebo, swings in free-kick from the right and Butland claims.
51: Robbed by Thibaud Verlinden on the wing and the Belgian cuts inside and his shot deflects through to Krul.
61: Tries to track McClean but is out-muscled and gives up with an annoyed throw of the hands, but cross is poor.
62: Does well to hurdle a McClean tackle and link with Aarons on the right but Pukki can’t hold the ball up. Soon after spreads a nice ball to the left to Lewis but the left-back can’t control.
64: Does well to get between Verlinden and the ball after Allen skews a header to the right of the box, the Stoke players goes down holding his face as Buendia pushes clear but referee isn’t interested.
73: Dances away from Etebo and finds Pukki but Vrancic loses possession.
75: Attacks on the left and Batth tackles behind for a corner, Buendia swings in from the left but Stoke head away.
82: Brilliant run, squeezes between two players, hurdles two challenges as he drives towards the box and then squeezes between two more players but Stiepermann is robbed.
83: Nice back-heel through to Aarons on the right but cross is easy for Butland.
86: In the thick of the play as City build from a throw on the left but Vrancic slips as he shoots and ball loops to Butland.
90+5: Shot is charged behind for a corner, sends in and a few penalty claims for handball are waved away.
VERDICT: City looked so much better with their key creative force back in the saddle, dropping into pockets of space and knitting play together, particularly in the first half. Set-pieces weren’t great but a few flashes of genius along the way.
RATING: 7 out of 10