Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s stirring 1-0 Championship win against Middlesbrough
PUBLISHED: 22:33 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 23:18 15 September 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Riposte delivered
No doubt given the circumstances, not just the level of opponent but that pre-game hammer blow injury to talisman Grant Hanley, this was Norwich City’s seasonal high point to date.
The vibrancy, the bullish self-confidence was a joy to behold. Those Carrow Road home fans fed on slim rations gorged on the front foot football.
Norwich fully deserved their win, inflicting a first league defeat of the season on Tony Pulis’ men in the process.
The celebrations at the end felt like a release. Daniel Farke’s work has had plenty of scrutiny. This was a great day at the office for the German. The performance and the selections were spot on.
2. Wide boys
There was a moment in the first half when Max Aarons and Emi Buendia were weaving patterns tight to the Middlesbrough touchline.
Alex Tettey volleyed the chance over but with Onel Hernandez and Jamal Lewis offering energy and thrust on the opposite flank it underlined what Farke has at his disposal.
It might not be the right mix every game in the Championship, and with inexperience comes inconsistency, but it was the right message to send for the home fans who lapped up the ambition.
3. Lovely Leitner
The debate around the talented German midfielder has almost become a cottage industry in itself as Norwich struggle to harness genuine upward mobility.
Farke clearly rates his compatriot but finding a position that does not leave City vulnerable out of possession while also finding some real cutting edge at the opposite end has proved an elusive quest.
But these past two Championship contests have seen Leitner deployed in a deeper role. Alex Tettey has provided the muscle and with more time and space, Leitner has frankly looked a different player. Farke may have worked the oracle.
4. Marvellous Marco
The sight of Stiepermann in the starting line up and Jordan Rhodes on the bench sparked a predictable response in certain quarters.
Stiepermann’s Norwich career to date has been fitful and on the margins.
Not here. Operating in a central role behind Teemu Pukki, he showed his game intelligence with some composed passing and the physical ballast Farke was arguably looking for to counteract Boro’s approach.
The German inevitably tired in the second period but this was a performance to give plenty food for thought.
5. Shackles released?
After five points from the first six Championship tussles, plus Boro next up, it was perhaps understandable the focus was switching to the next three against the likes of Reading, QPR and Wigan.
Now City can head to Berkshire with a surge in confidence and belief.
If they can mix it with the Teessiders and come out the right side there is absolutely nothing to fear from the next three Championship games.
This time last season marked a great leap forward under Farke. Another is now within their collective grasp.