There’s an old cliche in football that a good team finds a way to win, even when they aren’t playing well and for Norwich City, that seems to be what’s happening.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Brentford wasn’t exactly a bad performance but it was the sort of game that City needed to find that way to win.
Brentford are a decent passing side and clearly like the ball as much as we do. After all, you can’t do much without it and neither can the opposition.
The biggest problem for Brentford was that they looked a bit toothless up front, even with Neal Maupay in the team. Indeed, the one big chance that Brentford had, in the second half, was spurned by Maupay, when it seemed far easier to score.
Six yards out and with an open goal, he struck the bar. Suggesting that he slipped on the wet surface seems generous.
For their part, City were resolute in defence with the whole back four playing well, especially Max Aarons, who was always going to have a tough afternoon up against Ollie Watkins. Klose and Zimmermann continue to perform as a very effective pairing in the centre and dealt with Maupay quite comfortably for most of the game.
Tim Krul had to make a double save in the moments before Maupay’s big chance and has another clean sheet to his improving form sheet.
There was a bloke somewhere behind me who moaned about Todd Cantwell’s contribution throughout the game and I really do wonder what some people are watching. We’ve said time and time again that this is a game of opinions but the opinion of that bloke was a strange one.
— Todd Cantwell (@ToddCantwell_10) October 27, 2018
In the car on the way home, there were a couple of texts read out from fans who’d agree with that bloke behind me. So, Todd is not a winger and he’s playing on the left of midfield ahead of Onel Hernandez. Onel is fit again but Todd is keeping him out of the side and I can see why.
They are totally different players with different positive and negative attributes, whichever way you want to look at it.
Todd played some terrific balls against Brentford and several times he created chances with pieces of impudent skill. The ball he flicked up and over a defender for Jamal Lewis and the back heel that put Jordan Rhodes into a shooting position, both in the first half, spring to mind.
This wasn’t flicks and tricks for the sake of it, they genuinely created chances and lesser players wouldn’t have been able to do the same at that time if they magically replaced Todd.
It’s horses for courses but Todd is certainly doing enough for me. The only blot on the copybook being the superb late chance he didn’t convert.
The goal that won the game owed everything to a player that has become crucial to Norwich of late, Timm Klose and also to a player whose influence is growing game by game, Emi Buendia.
For all the pretty passing we generally indulge in as a football team, this was a route one special. Klose spotted Buendia’s run from the halfway line and sent a straight, perfectly weighted long ball forwards.
Those sorts of passes have to be spot on and this was just that. After waxing lyrical about the pass though, the finish from Buendia was something else.
I reckon 99% of players would’ve taken a touch in Emi’s position but that wasn’t what Emi decided to do. He watched the ball drop over his shoulder and then stroked a low volley past the advancing Brentford keeper.
9 points in three games✅.
Great performance today, great effort of all????????.
Big atmosphere of our Fans, amazing ????.
I’m very happy for my first goal with the canaries ⚽️.
Keep going???? pic.twitter.com/uBKYEtlUbv
— Emi Buendia (@Em10Buendia) October 27, 2018
It was a beautiful finish from a player who is really getting to grips with the Championship now. He was great in front of Max Aarons on the right and backed him up throughout the game, especially when dealing with Watkins.
Working hard, providing assists and now bagging his first goal, it’s all good for Emi and I fancy he’s only going to become more of an influential player for us as the weeks go by. The way he clutched at his hamstring just before he was subbed off is a slight worry though.
Going back to Canary Call, Greg Downs said he’d have a bet with one caller that Norwich would not finish in the top two. I know Greg and will take him to task about this when I next see him because his assertion that our squad isn’t strong enough, doesn’t ring true with me.
Yes, there’s a very long way to go but the way everyone is pulling in the right direction, players, coaching staff and the fans is giving me a good feeling about what I’m seeing.
He made the point that Dennis Srbeny isn’t good enough for this level and I would agree with that, so will most of you.
However, with Grant Hanley and Kenny McLean yet to return from injury and with the likes of Godfrey, Trybull, Vrancic and Marshall on the bench, I think that the squad is as strong as it’s been for a few years.
Yes, we could do with a better third striker but maybe Carlton Morris can help on that front, assuming that he can regain his fitness around the turn of the year or maybe something will happen in January on that front.
Thanks to everyone who's supported us this week! ????
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) October 27, 2018
You don’t win anything in October and the league is still ridiculously tight but this start to the season is building confidence at Colney and it’s better than being on just 9 points and rock bottom, isn’t it?!