What a week to be a Norwich City supporter.
Three wins in three games for the first time since September 2016, back to back away wins and a team performing with plenty of self-assurance. It’s been a tough few years following Norwich City, perspective is key naturally, but optimism and positive energy have been entities all to hard to witness consistently.
A week previous, high flying Middlesbrough swaggered into Carrow Road as unbeaten challengers looking to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Carrow Road felt a stadium full of doubt and unease ahead of the prospect of competing against a Boro side full of confidence and flourishing under the stewardship of Tony Pulis. Even the eternal optimists found predicting a home win a bridge too far.
Three games later, Norwich have discovered some thrust to inject into a campaign whereby criticism and pessimism have been aired by supporters regularly.
Transitioning into this campaign, the target was always about ensuring progression was evident.
If Norwich can harvest the qualities that have radically altered the complexion of how their season is viewed for more of a prolonged spell, then the possibilities of this squad could prove boundless.
Norwich have discovered a way to win games and when this is coupled with the conversion of chances, then that equates to wins at this level. The foundations have been laid, performances are being converted into points and an upward mobility has been discovered.
Just spoken to a very happy #ncfc DF. Great line about the celebs at final whistle ‘Listen we have so many passionate lads in the dressing room. you should c the kit man. u r not allowed to lose when u wear this shirt.’
— Paddy Davitt (@paddyjdavitt) September 22, 2018
Witnessing the celebrations that met the final whistle, it was visible for all the capital to witness that this is a Norwich City side that possesses togetherness in abundance. Those donning yellow and green on the pitch in front of that wonderful travelling contingent of supporters were beaming with pride.
Bottle this past week.
The bar has been raised and a formula has been stumbled upon by Daniel Farke. Equilibrium in the midfield has been achieved alongside a defensive core that allows Norwich to perform the dark arts of the game so excellently.
In honesty, there are tougher teams to dismantle than Reading and QPR. Supporters optimism of competing for the playoffs shouldn’t be based on these victories. If Norwich do hold those aspirations, then victories against teams placed in the lower reaches of the table should be a formality.
The Championship isn’t as clear cut or predictable as that however.
Once Onel Hernandez’ speed is reintroduced to this team, then Norwich may have a formula to really mount a serious playoff charge.
Romanticism in football is something that can get lost among the instant emotive response given to events on the pitch.
Buendia 21, Cantwell 20, Lewis 20, Aarons 18 some youthful width for #NCFC today, must be the youngest ever?
— Darren Eadie (@eadie11) September 22, 2018
Even those hopeless romantics present in the Norwich City away support would have their hearts warmed at the prospect of witnessing three academy graduates performing in the Championship for the club.
That bridge between youth and senior team has been too far to reach for those young players applying their trade in the academy in recent seasons. However, as their financial muscle, provided from TV revenue, has diminished, Norwich needed to seek other solutions.
Stuart Webber appoints Farke, a man who was previously responsible for developing the potential future operators for one of Europe’s most recognised clubs, the rest is history.
Jamal Lewis is developing at a rate of knots, Max Aarons is a mature, impressive individual and Todd Cantwell is undergoing the same process as his colleagues whilst taking his chance with aplomb.
Lewis is impressive because of his maturity and footballing intelligence.
There is a humbleness to his game and an appetite to improve. In England, young players are built up to be world beaters prior to recording a moment of first team action, yet Aarons, Cantwell and Lewis have worked tirelessly to improve their game whilst not seeking headlines or praise.
As Norwich presented plans for a new academy bond, it was clear a shift in ethos was happening at the club. The current situation acts as a graphic illustration of the work that is being undertaken behind the scenes and, for those players, proves why all the sacrifice and dedication was worth it.
It’s actually really good improvisation from Pukki after the cross was deflected! To question whether he meant it or not is just ridiculous. #ncfc
— Ashley Howell (@AshleyHowell2) September 22, 2018
A significant cog in the successful Norwich City clockwork is Finn Teemu Pukki.
His name has been written alongside all the superlatives dictionaries have to offer. His instinctive nature, relentless energy and technical ability is seeing him rapidly become a man who supporters adore.
He has already taken up numerous portions of these column inches. Pukki’s arrival lacked fanfare and for those supporters who weren’t aware of his capabilities or chose to listen to reviews from former employees, they are well aware of Pukki now.
He’s an excellent player and a joy to consume. Long may it continue.
Moritz Leitner has been a player much maligned among the Canary nation.
His technical ability is undisputable, yet his output and his inability to discover a role for himself has seen supporters question him. Operating alongside Alex Tettey allows Leitner to dictate the rhythm of Norwich’s possession and is less restrictive whilst Norwich are on the ball.
The difference in regards to how City have used possession is aiding their game as a whole.
Previously, they were one-dimensional and one paced, they lacked the ability to penetrate sides or deconstruct defensive shapes. Yet now, they are using the ball in an effective way which creates a fluidity to their game.
The width and depth of the young full backs allows Norwich to break through the lines more regularly. QPR deployed a 4-4-2 formation, and that allowed Tettey to occupy a position behind the strikers to anchor Norwich’s play with greater effect and help start attacks.
Tettey himself deserves credit.
He is a limited footballer in possession but has used the ball more creativity whilst pushing further forward with the team. This is a new Alex Tettey, and one which supporters should appreciate more than they currently do.
A win, a platform and possessing some serious momentum, Norwich currently are a team that opponents won’t want to face. When Wigan come to Carrow Road next week, Norwich will need to raise that bar even higher. Paul Cook’s men have exceeded expectations and look hungry to progress further.
If they can record another win next week, then excitement will reach fever pitch.
What did you make of Norwich’s performance against QPR and what can realistically be achieved this season? Leave a comment below or tweet us @TalkNorwichCity and @cjsouthwell1902 to join the discussion!