Norwich City travelled to Pride Park with 5 consecutive wins. It was earmarked as the fixture of the evening, with both sides knocking on the door of the top six after 11 games. Head of Connor Southwell dissects the action at Pride Park.

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This will be a result Norwich City will look back on with genuine pride.

Although, there may be some regret that they failed to hold out for a win. Punters and players alike will reflect on this result as a point gained rather than two lost come May.

Norwich are seemingly ready for the international hiatus, some of their leading protagonists ran with heavier legs.

In this division, any point grafted away from home is valuable.

Norwich have negotiated a potentially awkward away fixture with aplomb and swagger for extensive periods. They should be praised for the effective possession and tempo at which they operated for much of the game.

Despite their positive performance, Norwich had to endure a late onslaught from Derby as they held on for a point.

In reflection, a draw was probably a fair result.

Aesthetically, this game was a fantastic advertisement for the Championship. Two sides looking to control the rhythm of the game and move the ball with limited touches.

There were spells in the game which were compelling to consume.

Norwich are operating with a slickness and self-assurance that makes them so entertaining at present. Gone are the days of over playing, lethargic and lateral football, at least for now, this is a Norwich side who are attempting to assert their identity onto every game.

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Derby deserve plaudits also.

Frank Lampard is attempting to install a contrasting style of play to the one deployed by Gary Rowett last season. Derby tried to move the ball out from the back and through the thirds, with spells of free flowing and fluid football.

Despite this however, Lampard had an abundance of attacking operators on the field when Craig Bryson bundled home the equaliser. It was brave management, but with risk often comes reward.

It was a match of aesthetics and intricacy.

Neither side resorted to direct passes or intimidating tactics but maintained their respective styles throughout. Lampard has crafted a squad capable of mounting a challenge with a blend of experience and youthful endeavour.

For Norwich to leave Pride Park disappointed with a point tells you about how much they’ve progressed. It wasn’t a night littered with gilt-edged opportunities, but Norwich played with freedom and carried out both collective and individual responsibilities with minimal fuss.

Palpably, they are carrying fatigued operators, but still they hassled Derby’s backline in hope of a concession from the uncomfortable ball playing defenders. Teemu Pukki resembled a workhorse, again committing himself physically in order to contribute to his team. Pushing himself to the physical limit in the process.

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They are operating with so much togetherness and belief. Tactical tweaks and personnel changes have pushed Norwich further on.

Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis’ positioning is now more offensive. They push higher and wider allowing Norwich to stretch defensive shapes and operate both inwardly and outwardly. Norwich have been accused of being too one-dimensional, yet now they possess multiple ways of breaking sides down.

Moritz Leitner is blossoming into the footballer supporters would have hoped.

This idea that Leitner is a direct replacement for James Maddison needs to be abolished. Leitner holds an altogether different set of skills, designed to be the metronome in Norwich’s play on the ball.

He has punch and intelligent to match his technical quality, however.

Next to the vigorous and disciplined Alex Tettey, Leitner has a designated role whereby Norwich can exploit the best of his talents. There was so much hype and promise surrounding him upon his signing, but that game at Portman Road seemed to install some much-needed confidence within him.

He is the golden thread that knits the Norwich clockwork together.

Alongside him is Alex Tettey, a man who is reenergised and even improving.

They don’t possess another midfielder in the same mould to Tettey. His robust nature has been complemented with a newfound forward way of thinking. Tettey is an underrated talent at Norwich City, and one who deserves a lot more praise than he receives from some quarters.

Every team requires a sturdy, reliable central midfielder to ensure the maintenance of the overall team shape.

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He mirrors the space between the two centre backs in order to stop any potential killer passes going through the heart of Norwich’s backline. Tettey’s graft is more important off the ball than on it, but he is an integral cog, and one which Norwich valuably need.

With Tettey and Leitner, Norwich have a combination of both physical presence and technical quality in their engine room. A partnership of brute force and artwork.

Both worked diligently all evening, managing the game and slowing proceedings when the momentum was beginning to shift in Derby’s favour.

Leitner’s eye for a pass constantly problem solves for Norwich.

Only Timm Klose made more tackles than Moritz Leitner at Pride Park. His partnership with Tettey is beginning to flourish and has been integral to the success they’ve had of late.

The pair put out fires before they have the opportunity to arise.

Norwich are becoming more streetwise. Littered with experienced operators like Tim Krul, Klose, Tettey and Jordan Rhodes, they know how to run down a clock. Sure, this time they didn’t close out the game, but they took the pressure off after Derby’s equaliser and halted any building momentum.

Stoke on Saturday will prove an altogether different test for the Canaries.

They are direct and in need of results, if only for Gary Rowett’s long term job security. Response to the deflating nature of Derby’s equaliser will be a tough mental hurdle to overcome but if they can, then it will act as evidence that Norwich could achieve something this season.

A huge thank you to Phoebe (@langerz9) for allowing us to use her picture as the article header this evening. Norwich supporters travelled again in their droves despite the game being broadcast on TV, remarkable. 

Connor Southwell

Managing the TNC website, Connor's adherence with Norwich City manifested itself from an early age and has been a rollercoaster, witnessing football from League One to the Premier League. He once played a bit too, Connor attempts to write sensibly and honestly. Which is hard being a NCFC fan!

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