The Tuckster re-lives the awesome win against Swansea and looks ahead to Aston Villa…
A tough looking trip to Swansea was all that stood between Norwich City and breaking a club record for an unbeaten number of games in the top flight.
That record of eight games unbeaten went all the way back to October 1989. With Swansea and in particular, Michu in good form as well, it would be a tough ask.
Chris Hughton was forced to make two changes to the side, with Ryan Bennett and Alex Tettey replaced by Russell Martin and Jonny Howson.
Tettey in particular has been immense since his arrival, so much so that he has kept Howson, Surman and Fox warming the bench.
The game started very brightly for City with Johnson going close with a flicked header inside the first few minutes from a corner.
Then it was Snodgrass` turn to test Tremmel in the Swansea goal after he was challenged by Holt. The ‘keeper stretched and was able to grab the shot.
Then it was Howson who found himself in space around 25yards out. He had a look, changed his mind and then decided to shoot, his low shot rebounding back off Tremmel`s right hand post with the diving ‘keeper beaten.
A great start got even better when Snodgrass` clever flick played Whittaker in. He surged forward and kept going into the box. With two defenders for company he cut onto his left foot and scored at the near post. His first goal for City was very welcome and he clearly enjoyed it.
This spurred a bit of a response from Swansea who struck the bar from a Danny Graham header – he always seems to score against us and due to lack of recent game time has been linked with a move to Carrow Road in January – I`d be happy if that came off.
But it was City who scored next – After a City set piece, Bassong found himself in the Swansea penalty area as the ball was worked to Holt on the left flank. The City skipper sent a hanging cross over to Sebba who scored with a header at Tremmel`s near post (there`s a theme developing for the Swansea ‘keeper here, don`t you think?)
This was on 40 minutes and the Liberty was now almost silent with amazement at what the locals were watching.
Just four minutes later, Swansea City`s nemesis, Grant Holt was given a free header as Snodgrass sent over a free kick. He buried the ball past Tremmel with an emphatic finish, vintage Holt.
He ran to the corner flag and slid on his knees before jumping up and doing a little dance. There is no-one more hated in Swansea than Holty but as we know, the more stick you give him the more he will hurt you. He was loving it?
Three nil at half time and I`m in dream land, it had been a terrific half from City, even surpassing last week`s first 45 against Sunderland.
With the second half only a couple of minutes old, Norwich almost scored a fourth. Johnson played the ball to Snodgrass on the edge of the Swansea area and continued his run. Snodgrass sent over a delicious chip and as the ball dropped out of the sky Johnson flicked the ball towards goal.
With Tremmel motionless, the ball cannoned back off the bar and landed at the feet of a Swansea player. That would`ve been game over.
But Swansea fought back. Michu has been in sparkling form since his arrival from Spain and was on hand to hit a shot past Bunn after a low cross wasn`t dealt with by the Norwich defence.
Michu beckoned to the crowd to make some noise as he trotted back to the centre circle, this was on 51 minutes.
Just eight minutes later, De Guzman met a City clearance on the full volley inside the area to score and make it 2-3. Suddenly I was nervous, we seemed to have lost our ability to keep hold of the ball and were creating very little.
Swansea kept pressing and I feared the worst when Michu challenged Bunn for a high ball. Bunn spilled it and it fell to Schechter who hooked it into the Norwich net.
The goal celebration music started and the score board changed to 3-3. With all that loud music it seems most of us missed Howard Webb`s whistle blow. The goal was disallowed for Michu`s challenge on Bunn. We were a tad lucky – it was one of those that people say “I`ve seen them given.” Indeed in the first half, Holt challenged Tremmel in a similar way and the ref allowed play to continue – phew.
The next goal would be vital and it went Norwich`s way. Wes Hoolahan split the Swansea defence and Holt got goal side of Ashley Williams. He cleverly ran across the Swansea man who tugged him back 25 yards from goal.
It was an immediate yellow card, much to Williams` disgust. Clever centre forward play, Ashley!
Robert Snodgrass took the kick and sent a lovely curled free kick over the wall and into the Swansea goal on 77 minutes. Surely, that would be enough?!
But there was still time for further drama. In injury time, Bunn flapped at a De Guzman cross and Michu nodded the ball in to an empty net.
The final score was 3-4 and it was a great advert for the Premier League. Norwich achieved their first away win of the season and we extended our unbeaten League run to nine games.
Swansea were as bad in the first half as they were good in the second half – Michael Laudrup admitted as much, himself.
Norwich were awesome in the first 45 and were a little hesitant in the second half, especially after that first Michu goal.
We knew this would be a test, but a goal fest? Who would`ve had a tenner on that scoreline?
Norwich were hard working and as they did last season, outplayed a very good Swansea side to score the goals to win the game. Swansea simply couldn`t react in the first half and will know that if you concede three times before half time you will always be up against it.
Grant Holt worked his socks off again. The effort our Captain puts in is extraordinary and the term “leading from the front” sums him up perfectly. The Swansea fans hate him but he revels in it and keeps rubbing the salt in each time we meet.
Snodgrass was a threat all day and his delivery and effort were arguably the difference between a win or worse.
Sebba Bassong continues to prove a superb piece of business by Mr. Hughton and is joint second highest scorer, with Snodgrass behind Holt.
A special word of praise needs to go to Russell Martin and Jonny Howson. Both lads have lacked game time recently but when called upon were up to the task and gave their all.
It was no surprise that this was the first game up on MOTD. Hansen even sort of apologised for constantly singing Swansea`s praises and not raving about Norwich so much (sort of, anyway). He pointed out with Shearer that Norwich showed here that they too can play and at the end of the analysis he summed it up with two words “Classy stuff.”
High praise indeed from those two. Next up is the visit on Tuesday of Aston Villa with our old manager, Mr Lambert.
This is a tasty affair with a Wembley cup final on the horizon for the victors. What sort of reaction Paul Lambert gets is up for discussion – what will you do, boo him or applaud him?
The way he left was very disappointing but I can`t overlook what he did for us. I`m going to applaud him. But in the words of Kevin Keegan “I`d love it if we beat them?”