For a game that was packaged as a sideshow for the main event on Sunday, suddenly the result could be more meaningful than initially thought.
After the outpour of negativity and criticism following a crushing performance on Saturday, it’s fair to say Norwich supporters required an injection of positivity. Nobody expected it to arrive in the form of a deserved cup victory against Premier League Cardiff City.
Young blood, fresh legs and food for thought, it’s been a while since a Norwich side have mounted pressure on the first team after a positive display. The romanticism of this victory makes it all the more worthwhile. It was a game whereby plenty of younger bodies staked a claim in a vibrant display full of energetic endeavour.
It was certainly a performance that will leave some of those players looking nervously over their shoulder.
Since Stuart Webber arrived at Carrow Road, the buzzword ‘culture’ has been used multiple times. Off the field, the construction work at Colney is ongoing and academy practices are being enhanced rapidly, but the lack of winning culture on the pitch has been a problem.
This victory could prove pivotal in installing a winning culture that allow Norwich to build some momentum whilst ensuring their young guns are provided with a platform to impress and express themselves.
Dennis Srbeny has been an intriguing case study to whether Norwich’s recruitment from overseas, namely Germany, will prove successful. There is no particular surprise that a player plucked from obscurity in the German regional divisions had a extensive period of acclimatisation.
Improvement has been witnessed from the striker however; an impressive opening day cameo saw a surging run end with a beautifully weighted pass into Onel Hernandez to sweep home. He almost singlehandedly ensured Norwich left the Midlands with a point.
The first strike was a glimpse of the prospective talent Srbeny has displayed in flashes, but often his awkwardness in possession and poor decision making creates a degree of self doubt in his performances.
Max Aarons – the first #NCFC player born in the 21st century to score for the 1st team!
— Canaries Caption It (@Saund65) August 28, 2018
As ever, it’s all about consistency.
With Jordan Rhodes being pinpointed as the Canaries’ main talisman this campaign, Srbeny may have to be patient and grasp his opportunities when they arrive. If he can repeat this performance more often, then Norwich will possess a potent and equipped option on the bench.
With the subplots surrounding Rhodes, Sunday may come to soon for Srbeny to really stake a claim, but in regards to self confidence and belief, it could be integral to a man Norwich will turn too in order to change the climate of games.
For the eternal pessimists who fail to rejoice in an excellent away victory – Norwich’s first since January – this will be a performance that merely papers over the noticeable and undeniable cracks being displayed in league performances at present.
But this was different. This was a fusion of youthful exuberance littered with Norwich academy prospects. If 18-year-old Max Aarons capping off a fine performance with a goal full of grit and determination doesn’t fill you with joy, the football isn’t the sport for you.
For one night only, this was a source of escapism from the rigours of the league.
The Academy loves this picture from tonight’s game. We are all very proud of the lads @NorwichCityFC #ncfc pic.twitter.com/0uXiDlCSRU
— Norwich City Academy (@NorwichCityAcad) August 28, 2018
The manner in which Norwich contained and dismantled a Premier League opponent should be duly rewarded, not belittled or put down. This was a side many would consider second fiddle, but they proved they are chomping at the bit for inclusion in Farke’s thoughts.
Dilemma is exactly what Farke needs currently, nobody is yet to nail down a firm position in the Norwich starting line.
With Tim Krul struggling to acclimatise to regular first team football, Michael McGovern must be fancying his chances ahead of Sunday’s fixture. The Northern Irish international has been written off by numerous parties, yet, to his credit, performed amicably and professionally in South Wales to stake his claim for the goalkeeper position.
Another shoutout to the travelling fans. OTBC coming through on the radio beautifully ??
That journey home won't feel as long now. Bravo each and every one of you…#ncfc
— ? Ian ? (@Ian_M1) August 28, 2018
McGovern doesn’t possess the youthful energy of some of his colleagues, but with Krul being questioned in all quarters, McGovern poses a viable option should Farke decide to alter the line up.
Emi Buendia impressed in his cameos at Carrow Road, and the little Argentinean operates with shades of Wes Hoolahan as his technical superiority and offensive productivity means he must be included in Farke’s blueprint for Portman Road.
He played a major role in two of the three goals and danced past defenders in an impressive display. His backheel to Srbeny for the opening goal and his influence for Aarons goal was also worth emphasising, individual pieces of creativity which could prove pivotal in the Championship.
Rumoured to be Alex Pritchard’s replacement, Buendia evidently operates best when provided with freedom in which he can play. Farke needs to allow him to express himself and play with freedom whilst in possession.
There will be buoyancy around Colney in the coming days ahead of an East Anglian Derby.
In regards to preparation, it doesn’t get much better than a comfortable victory over Premier League opponents. Norwich will be hoping to inflict more suffering on their bitter rivals who have failed to record a victory under Paul Hurst.
Passion, energy and offensive output was on display for lengthy periods of this fixture, and Norwich will need to source those ingredients on Sunday if they wish to conquer an Ipswich side who will be full of determination to end their curse.
Next stop, Portman Road and the little matter of an East Anglian Derby to contend.