Freezer’s Five: Talking points from Norwich City’s hard-fought away victory at Cardiff
PUBLISHED: 17:36 04 February 2017 | UPDATED: 00:58 05 February 2017
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Norwich City writer David Freezer takes a look at some of the key talking points from Norwich City’s 1-0 win at Cardiff City.
1 – Dijks is well-suited to Championship battle
Mitchell Dijks was thrown straight in to action for the Canaries, just four days after completing his loan switch, but the Ajax man did not look out of place.
In the first half he dumped big Cardiff striker Kenneth Zohore on his backside, out-jumped him and generally made that quarter of the pitch his own – teaming up with Timm Klose to propel much of the hosts’ aerial bombardment.
He also showed what he could do going forward, leaving marker Kadeem Harris for dust in the 15th minute but seeing Cameron Jerome offside when he crossed from the left.
The Dutchman also combined with Klose to begin the move which won the free-kick from which Jerome headed City in front five minutes before half-time.
Tired and looked a bit lost late on at times as Cardiff piled on the pressure but certainly played his part in the resistance.
2 – Jerome is looking ‘back to his best’
After an initially frustrating first half, twice being caught offside and being taunted by the home fans for his angry reaction towards Jacob Murphy for the pass on the second occasion, Cameron Jerome became the main man.
City boss Alex Neil said at his pre-match press conference that the experienced forward was looking “back to his best” and it was the 30-year-old who won the free-kick which opened the scoring.
He had already been denied by the boot of Allan McGregor from an earlier chance but simply wanted the ball more than anyone when Wes Hoolahan’s low free-kick came his way, diving to head into the bottom corner for 1-0.
Drew a fine diving save from McGregor shortly before the break as well and was booked four minutes into the second half for a late tackle on Harris.
Worked really hard and with nine goals now to his name this season, Nelson Oliveira has got his work cut out to reclaim the starting berth up front.
3 – Tettey finally gets his two-game ban
The yellow card we’ve all been waiting for since early January finally arrived, as Alex Tettey activated a two-game suspension for picking up a 10th yellow card of the season.
It arrived in the 68th minute during a rare foray forward for the Norway international, eventually lunging in with a late tackle on left-back Jazz Richards.
Referee Chris Kavanagh – who showed Tettey his ninth yellow as well, in the 2-2 draw with Southampton in the FA Cup – played advantage initially but didn’t forget to punish Tettey once play stopped a few minutes later.
Youssouf Mulumbu is back from the African Cup of Nations but wasn’t included on the bench at Cardiff, however he will now be needed for Tuesday’s trip to Wigan and Saturday’s home clash with Nottingham Forest.
4 – Wildschut not quite on same wavelength
It was probably understandable, given that he had joined City just four days earlier, but Yanic Wildschut didn’t quite click into gear on his debut.
The Dutchman showed plenty of willing and used his pace to get away on the left wing on three occasions in the first half but his end product wasn’t quite there.
Played a nice through-ball into the right channel midway through the second half and was subsequently released by Wes Hoolahan on the right, but chose the wrong option when trying to cut his cross back towards the penalty spot.
Replaced by Josh Murphy in the 71st minute as he started to look tired but showed flashes of what is to come once he knows his team-mates a bit better.
5 –Finally an away success to savour
This was far from a pretty match but it was just what was needed to get the Canaries’ campaign really moving in the right direction.
Bringing an end to a run of eight games and four months without an away win was hugely enjoyable for around 1,000 travelling supporters who had made the long journey.
Skipper Russell Martin went over to thank the City faithful straight after the match and drew a huge cheer as he punched the air in celebration – a rare moment of joy away from Carrow Road for all connected with the Canaries.
The win moved Alex Neil’s team to seventh and within three points of Sheffield Wednesday in sixth place. If they can now win at struggling Wigan on Tuesday as well, this season takes on a whole new complexion.