Sky Bet Championship
2/02/2019 5:30 pm
Referee: Stuart Attwell
|Leeds United||Norwich City|
|Bamford 90+1'||Vrancic 5', 78' Pukki 35'|
This was billed as the big one and as a Norwich fan, naturally, I was nervous. Leeds had produced an accomplished performance at Carrow Road back in August to inflict a heavy defeat on the Canaries, albeit before the City squad had found its feet in those early season exchanges.
Since then, both sides had proven themselves to be the division’s best two teams and they occupy the top two spots on merit.
Tonight though, the tables were turned and it was Norwich that inflicted a heavy defeat on the home side at Elland Road with a magnificent performance that took them back to the top of the table on goal difference.
Daniel Farke played an unchanged side from the one that drew with Sheffield United last time out while Marcelo Bielsa was true to his word as he fielded the same team that he announced two days ago.
Norwich took the lead after just five minutes when Mario Vrancic scored with a lovely free-kick, over the Leeds wall via a slight deflection off the jumping Forshaw. That kind of rocked Leeds into life though and they surged forward, dominating the ball and putting City under some severe pressure.
For all that pressure though, Leeds didn’t seriously test Tim Krul as the Canaries kept their discipline, always looking a threat on the counter.
Prior to the second goal being scored, Leeds had a couple of scares as they didn’t track Norwich players back on the break, perhaps having over-committed on occasions. The second goal when it came was another quick break that saw a Vrancic shot blocked and fall to the unmarked Teemu Pukki, who scored a simple tap-in to double the lead.
There was a slight scare just before the break when the ball was prodded home by Luke Ayling from a corner but it was correctly ruled out for a foul on Tim Krul.
The second half started as you might expect with lots of Leeds pressure but not much end product. As the half wore on, City grew more and more into the game and pressed Leeds high inside their own half. They didn’t like it.
The excellent Emi Buendia, Onel Herandez, Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann, not to mention Pukki, were always alive to nicking the ball back and from one of those plays came the third goal, scored by Vrancic again and through the legs of a defender and the goalkeeper.
A double nutmeg – nice.
That was on 78 minutes and the game was won. There was still time for a 91st minute consolation scored from a corner by Patrick Bamford. He stunk the place out when he joined Norwich on loan but the Leeds fans seem to think a lot of him. Each to their own, I suppose.
There wasn’t a bad performance from anyone in a Norwich shirt and both our young full-backs were on top form. Tom Trybull worked hard and won numerous interceptions while Zimmermann and Godfrey were solid and limited Roofe to a bit part performance, much to his annoyance.
This was a thoroughly deserved victory and it serves as a statement to the rest of the Championship. We’re here on merit and we fancy it, no-one can doubt that now.
That’s also 13 games unbeaten away from home, a new record.
Next up we have the East Anglian derby and a game where form goes out of the window. Play with the same hunger that they did against Leeds here though and surely we can extend the unbeaten run over that lot too.