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Just one month ago, Norwich City were languishing in 17th position after collecting just 5 points from the opening 6 games of the Championship season. However, September has seen a change in fortunes, City now sit 5th in the table, after picking up four back-to-back wins.

How quickly things can change in the Championship.

Much like the preliminary international break last season, the subsequent month of September has been a productive one for City, there are numerous parallels to draw between to two periods.

Similarly, to last season City have defended well throughout this period and have been able to hold on for all 3 points despite narrow, one-goal leads, accumulating 3 clean sheets in the process.

However, the current run does feel more dominant, having beaten; Middlesbrough, Reading, QPR, Wigan and Wycombe, to progress in the Carabao Cup.

At this point, it’s worth reiterating that Norwich City have managed to put together this run despite being without club captain, Grant Hanley and Onel Hernandez, both of whom had impressed during the opening handful of games.

Furthermore, three academy graduates; Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell have all featured heavily this month and have impressed in doing so, with Lewis and Aarons arguably now considered the clubs starting full-backs.

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Teemu Pukki carried his early season form on throughout September, adding a further 3 goals to his tally, making it 5 for the season. Pukki has been scoring with such efficiency that he has kept fellow strike partner, Jordan Rhodes out of the starting eleven.

Rhodes was handed his opportunity, starting against Wycombe in the Carabao Cup and made the most of his chance, grabbing a hat-trick. Having two in-form forwards is a real luxury, a stark contrast to the lack of goals scored last season.  

Another player who has made an impact coming off the bench is midfielder, Mario Vrancic, scoring the winning goal away to Reading and adding another from the penalty spot to win the home fixture against Wigan.

The Bosnian midfielder appears to have adapted somewhat to life in the Championship after a questionable first campaign, last season.

Christoph Zimmermann was tasked with replacing the aforementioned Hanley in defence and did so seamlessly, forming a solid partnership with Timm Klose, recently recalled to the Switzerland squad off the back of his current form.

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Statistically, Norwich City are averaging 54% possession, with a pass accuracy of 77%, similar numbers to last month.

At this point, it’s worth mentioning the importance of the two aforementioned stats.

Norwich City make 7.5 interceptions per game, the lowest amount in the division, this could be a result of City keeping possession for large parts of games and thus, not needing to make as many interceptions because the opposition don’t have so much time on the ball.

Or, it could mean that Norwich are just not very good at winning the ball back. Either way, keeping the ball is a priority for Farke and Norwich City and the statistics back that up.

Finally, a quick look forward to the month of October. City kick-off the month away to ‘Frank Lampard’s Derby County’, on Wednesday evening. Derby sit in 9th, a single point behind City. Going away midweek to one of the better sides in the division, should prove a good barometer of where Norwich stand in the division.

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The following Saturday sees Norwich return to Carrow Road to face the recently relegated, Stoke City, who currently sit in 17th after a poor start.

The international break could see both Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons make further appearances for Northern Ireland and England U19s respectively and will give Teemu Pukki the chance to continue his goal scoring form for Finland.

Before rounding off the month with games against Forest (A), Aston Villa (H) and finally the ‘Leo Vegas Derby’ with Brentford (H).  

All in all, an incredibly productive month for City, not just in terms of results but also the team that has produced those results.

Despite, the loss of captain Grant Hanley and winger, Onel Hernandez to injury, the team have rallied together. The performance of academy graduates; Lewis, Aarons and Cantwell are another reason for renewed optimism at Carrow Road.

The task now is to ensure the success experienced throughout September is not an anomaly and that the strong form continues for a prolonged period of time, something City struggled with last season.  

Joe Hinchliffe

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