The Canaries enjoyed another very successful day at the office at Carrow Road on Sunday evening by defeating Sunderland 2-1. The victory means that the team has ascended to 12th in the Premier League table and opened up a seven-point cushion over the bottom three.
Norwich City has also extended their unbeaten league run to eight games, so things are pretty rosy at the club right now. Nevertheless, there are some things to have a look at from the game and the season as a whole.
So sit back, relax and enjoy my latest slideshow on the fortunes of the club.
I am certainly not one to criticise players for no good reason, and I do think Mark Bunn had a decent game. However, there were a few signs in the game that Norwich City may miss John Ruddy for the next few months more than some fans think.
Bunn was disappointed to have conceded the Sunderland goal just before half time, and it could be argued that conceding that goal put Norwich under unnecessary pressure in the second half.
There were two mistakes in the second half that the Canaries goalkeeper got away with. One of these was a spill that could have led to a Sunderland goal had it not been for an offside flag; the other was an unconvincing punch that required a smart defensive clearance off the line.
However, there is one final area that had me concerned watching Sunday’s match, and that is in Bunn’s leaderships qualities. Ruddy is such a leader on the field, and he is always barking instructions to his defenders—I didn’t see anything like that from Bunn.
Nevertheless, I’m keen for this not to sound like a public slating of a player doing a solid job for the club. My main point is he has a lot of work to do before he is anything like the standard of Ruddy; I have to admit that I was shocked to see him named Man of the Match at the game because, for my money, there were a number of players that outperformed him. But it should be noted that the keeper did make some decent saves in the match.
I know this wasn’t a thrilling passing show from Norwich City for the whole of the game. But the way they moved the ball around 28 times for Anthony Pilkington to fire one home is a great sign of the progress Norwich City is making. It was a goal that any team in the world would be proud of, and it was fitting that the move had a finish on it.
Of course, it was also a fine performance from Pilkington in the match, and the Sunderland goalkeeper did well to deny him a second goal later on.
I think most of us were a little concerned about Pilkington earlier on in the season. But It’s clear that he has got over that little spell, and we are now starting to see the Pilkington of last season, which, of course, means scoring goals.
The winger’s finish against Manchester United was a fine individual goal, but this one was a quite superb team goal. I think that Norwich City are growing into the season and now look as good as they did last season, if not slightly better.
There has been a bit of criticism for Grant Holt recently, and I know that it has now been a fair few games since he last scored.
There are also those that are opposed to us playing just the one striker up front. Of course, some years ago, most teams played the 4-4-2 system, but football has evolved since then and the 4-3-2-1 system has become the preferred system.
It should be abundantly clear to every Norwich City fan that this system is the best one for the players that we have. Some people can talk about the possibility of giving Jackson or Morison a go up front with Holt, but that would mean losing Wes Hoolahan. And I think we can all agree that the dynamic Irishman is absolutely crucial to the way we play.
As far as I’m concerned, Holt’s role for the team is far more important than just scoring goals, and the results over the last eight games prove that it’s working. We may not get 15 Premier League goals from Holt this season, but he will play a big part in another hugely successful season for Norwich City in the English top flight.
During the Sunderland game, there was another awesome performance from Sebastien Bassong at the heart of the defence. When Norwich was under pressure in the second half, he was there to win the ball. It is fair to say that he is also getting the best out of Ryan Bennett.
The two proved to be an excellent partnership, and we certainly look to be coping with the absence of Michael Turner at the moment. However, Bassong’s involvement in the game was not limited to his defensive abilities, because he also came up trumps with the crucial opening goal. This was the second time he has registered in the Premier League this season.
I think it’s a very good sign that he looks capable of scoring a fair few goals for us this season, but this was also another goal we have scored from a set piece this season. Things are looking pretty good for the Canaries just now.
Around the 70th minute mark of Sunday evening's game, it was obvious that we needed to make some changes to give us some freshness to see out the game. The introduction of Elliott Bennett for Robert Snodgrass was certainly the right move, and I thought he did well.
However, it is always concerning to see your team camped in their own half for long periods, especially from a Sunderland team that looked exceptionally poor in the first period.
Therefore, I think we may have benefited from having another outlet, so bringing on Jackson for the last 20 minutes may have given Sunderland a bit more to think about. Of course, it is quite possible that he may have nicked a third goal to make things even more comfortable.
It does seem, though, that Simeon is not in Hughton’s plans at the moment, and maybe he won’t remain at the club much longer. It would certainly be a shame if he did leave, because he is the only real striker with a bit of pace that we have available, and he always works hard for the team.