A young triumvirate, rainbows, magnificent Mario. It's all here, as Jon Punt reviews another 3 points which saw City climb back to the summit after Leeds' lunchtime victory.
Moritz Leitner’s recent calf injury concerned many. The way the German has dictated play during this upturn in form has been majestic. Yet City found a way in his absence. A way that’s not too different and yielded a 3 points the side merited.
That way included Mario Vrancic increasingly influencing proceedings as the game went on, typified by his crunching challenge prior to Buendia stinging the visiting keeper’s palms, before Pukki then snatched at a chance that was easier to score. It deserved a goal if only for the tackle that had preceded it.
Vrancic worked out long ago that his physicality in the Championship needed some work. His finesse with the ball at his feet was never in doubt, yet his ability to battle, nick the ball and then show his quality is what will endear him to the fans. We all love a scrapper, even more so if they have a wand of a left peg.
Moment of the match
Lewis - Cantwell – Aarons – GOAL. A goal made on the fields of Colney, years in the development. The way the fledgling triumvirate combined appeared effortless, yet it may well define the Farke era in microcosm. Lewis’ contribution was more routine, but Cantwell’s accurate cross and Aarons’ deft flick for his first league goal was beautiful.
The trust placed in these young players is way beyond the levels any other Championship manager would extend them. It is special, it is to be applauded and it is all of ours to enjoy. They’re three of our own, and they’re fucking brilliant.
Random star performer
Nothing random about it, but Todd Cantwell slipped back seamlessly into the starting line-up. In fact, he looked stronger, more determined and altogether composed. The belief coursing through the Dereham youngster’s veins gave everyone genuine hope and his animated celebration in front of the Barclay lifted the fans even higher.
Question marks around his all round game have been answered emphatically. He has no issue tracking back, links play intelligently and understands the philosophy of the side. I for one felt he’d benefit from a loan spell in English league football at the start of this campaign – I am very happy to be proved extremely wrong.
Small groan, but there are still people who want to revel in City’s downfall when it potentially comes. Half time chatter was heard around ‘not understanding what Cantwell actually does.’
He does goals and assists now mate. Good enough for ya?
While we’re on the subject of getting onto players – Tim Krul is just fine by me. Yeah, he’s not Angus Gunn, but we were never going to unearth another keeper with that much latent talent. Let’s all get behind him, if only because he rides rollercoasters while shouting ‘Yellows, yellows, yellows’.
Still arrogant enough to flaunt the black parka, with no apparent fear that Rotherham would break their 52 year winless streak in Norfolk. It didn’t come to pass, primarily due to two of Farke’s selections – the aforementioned Cantwell and Vrancic drove City on throughout a second half Championship test which the hosts passed with flying colours.
The pre-match unveiling of the Justin Fashanu tribute may only have been visible for a few moments in time, but it was months in the making. We’re incredibly proud to have collaborated with our friends at Barclay End Norwich and Proud Canaries to produce something which includes a message that extends beyond football. It seemed like the right day to unfurl the banner and we hope to have similar projects to unveil in the future. As always, we’re open to ideas – so do get in touch if you have any good ones, but be assured conversations with the club continue.
Once the whistle was blown however, Rotherham did a tremendous job of starting the game in a manner almost no-one had expected. Their recent 7 game unbeaten run has been built on remaining solid and workmanlike, yet there was more than a little flair on show from the visitors and they deservedly stole the lead. It rocked Carrow Road into near silence for the remainder of the first half.
However, just like Farke’s charges realised they needed to raise their levels, so too did the crowd. As the noise had started to reach respectable levels again, Cantwell took the roof off with his well taken equaliser. From then on it was an atmosphere to savour, culminating in the impromptu, *Farke shakes hands low to the ground* ‘whooooooooooaaaaah’ *Farke raises arms* ‘OLE, OLE, OLE’. Please tell me there’s a name for this – as it was difficult to describe in words.
Post match celebratory signals of unity are becoming commonplace now – what a difference a few months makes.
Oh and that Buendia chant. Lovely.
Who needs Plan Bs? Just slightly change Plan A and steamroller the opposition - this is becoming a habit. It wasn’t the prettiest performance Norwich fans have been treated to of late, but 20 minutes bursts of City at their best is proving enough to see off all comers. Replicate that over 90 minutes and someone might just be on the wrong end of a pasting.
This was a bit more hard earned though, more of a battle. It was fitting that on Rainbow Laces day, where a spectrum of colour adorned corner flags, shoelaces, banners and more, that City showed they could demonstrate different shades to their play.