After the destruction carried out by mid table QPR, Norwich City required redemption against high flying Aston Villa.
This was precisely what the doctor ordered to inject some much needed positivity and optimism back into the operation being installed by Daniel Farke. Potent at the top end of the pitch and resilient in defence, this was a commanding performance against superior opponents in league standing .
Norwich operated on the counter attack effectively; exploiting the wide areas which added an additional dimension to their offensive play. The counter attacking was devastating in the second period as they adopted a freedom to their play.
For City’s long suffering punters, Carrow Road hasn’t been a happy or productive hunting ground in this campaign. That is underlined by the fact Norwich have finished victorious six times in 20 games on their home turf, when mixed with one dimensional and lateral football, it hasn’t made for pleasant viewing.
The manner of this victory highlights all City fans wish to consume. Consistency has been an elusive element of Farke’s philosophy for the entirety of this campaign, how many points have been labelled as significant turning points this season? Post Arsenal, Chelsea and Bolton were all earmarked as season changers, but they have failed to capitalise on these opportunities.
This game was met with a contrast in emotion and a more optimistic outlook to that which the QPR episode was greeted with. Supporters stuck with their side and stood together with the players, this is the unity Farke has sought to create and if these performances can be emulated consistency, Carrow Road will become a difficult place to play for away sides.
Josh Murphy’s game is entirely reliant on confidence.
He possesses all the necessary tools to be a match winner, yet his game lacks consistency. This was Murphy at his finest; he proved a devastating and uncontrollable entity for Aston Villa. His strike was hit with venom and silenced those critics within the ground. From there, Murphy grew in confidence.
His influence on the game from that point was outstanding. He played a major part in Norwich’s goals, but more importantly, he demanded the ball to feet and ran at his defender. In a nutshell, this is where the frustration stems from, everyone in NR1 is well aware of the quality he is capable of.
If he provides this degree of output more regularly, then the hype which surrounds him will truly be justified. He has the potential to be a lynchpin for the Canaries, but potential needs to be substituted for regular displays of quality.
He could prove to be a key protagonist next season.
Farke continues to persist with the raw Dennis Srbeny to spearhead his side. Srbeny’s inexperience was favoured to Oliveira’s eccentricity and the German topped off another selfless performance with a deserved goal.
Considering the calibre of opposition he was facing and the fact, for large periods, he was largely isolated, Srbeny proved he can adapt to the rigours of the Championship. His first goal in nine games was a necessityfor his confidence and Farke will hope this is the first of many for him in yellow and green.
Srbeny requires an adaption period. He is a young man who is transitioning from the third tier of German football; he is quite evidently not the finished article, but he has displayed the qualities required to succeed. With more goals comes less scrutiny and higher confidence, if Srbeny can add more goals in the run in, he could prove a valuable asset come next August.
As for Aston Villa, in comparison to other sides gunning for promotion, they looked comfortably inferior. Fulham proved a class above Norwich and Wolves even more so. Villa were toothless offensively and lacked the command which their rivals possess. An underwhelming day at the office underlines why Villa don’t possess the quality to be promoted automatically.
Four points in five games is an damning indictment of Villa’s current form, underperforming and over spending, there may be a few happy to see them remain in this division.
There are evidently still pockets within the supporting base that are sceptical.
Delia Smith’s latest national interview underlines how different this course is to the one when Lewis Grabban, Robert Snodgrass and Henri Lansbury graced a yellow shirt. This places an emphasis on the development of talent as opposed to importing expensive talent.
There is no evidence yet to suggest this will lead to a more productive Norwich side but Norwich needed to explore alternate avenues and this route seems more profitable and self funding. A blend of home grown players and cheap imports appears a natural, progressive route to go down.
Ultimately, the scepticism is bred from the unknown.
If Norwich begin next season positively, the supporters will back the regime and direction but until there is an obvious sign of progression, as seen on Saturday. City must harness the energy and tempo displayed in this fixture.
As they travel to free falling Sunderland, the incentives for Norwich are clear. A positive end to this current season and all associated with the Canaries can head into next season full of positivity and optimism.