Well, for my first Vital Norwich article, I suppose I am lucky that it isn`t a particularly difficult game to dissect: City, were excellent? Forest, were not.
Some unbelievable goals and tireless work from Pritchard and Mulumbu to name just two. Josh Murphy has to be given a particular mention: he has waited in his twin brother`s shadow for much of the season, but took his chance today and got the goal his performance deserved. Although it was a slight shame to concede at 4-0 up and against ten men but I t will always be difficult to maintain focus when winning so comfortably – especially when the back four had been shaken up with Dijk`s and Pinto`s substitutions (surely with Tuesday`s fixture in mind). But some high quality goals and fantastic play throughout ninety minutes.
A brilliant result from a team who, if you’ll excuse the cliche, are showing they really have ‘turned the corner` and are performing like a side with the will and the desire to force their way back into the playoffs and beyond. Whether you are an Alex Neil fan or not its hard to deny that he is doing something right; he is unlikely to be leaving the Fine City any time soon.
What the exact source of our recent revival in form is, is hard to pin point but I would argue that the long serving trio of Jonny Howson, Russell Martin and, of course, little Wes Hoolahan have been key.
Wes Hoolahan at the age of 34 continues to have the ability to stun the entire Carrow Road crowd, and today he hit his magnificent heights as he has many times before. If somebody had predicted he would be excellent today I would`ve believed them, if someone had predicted he would score from thirty yards at that point I might have started to doubt them. But wow! Wes` form and the uptake in City`s results over the previous seven matches is certainly no coincidence.
And what can you say about Jonny Howson`s goal today? Sublime? Classic Howson? Not a bad way to celebrate January`s POTM award. Since his return to the starting line up, Howson has been brilliant in midfield, in the past five games chipping in with some goals and, more importantly, adding stability to the Norwich team. When you talk about our up turn in form, it his hard to ignore Howson as an integral part of that in the past five games.
The statistics don’t lie when it comes to Norwich`s defensive improvement since the reverting back the central defensive partnership of Russell Martin and Timm Klose. Six goals conceded in the last eight games, compared to thirteen conceded in the eight league matches preceding those. But I think Russell Martin has been professional and successful in quietly returning to starting line up and asserting himself as the centre-back and captain we all know he is. His form is coming at just the right time.
These three are, in my eyes, at the heart of the recent success at Norwich in the same way they are at the heart of Norwich City Football Club and have been for the better part of twenty years between them. Long may it continue!
Newcastle up next. If we play as we did here I think we can give them a run for their money and continue this excellent play off push.