Paddy Davitt: Player ratings after Canaries' 2-1 Saints victory

Kenny McLean and Billy Gilmour lead the celebrations for Grant Hanley's Norwich City match winner against Southampton

Kenny McLean and Billy Gilmour lead the celebrations for Grant Hanley's Norwich City match winner against Southampton - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Here is Paddy’s verdict on Dean Smith’s Norwich City, who served up an all too rare Premier League comeback win befitting the occasion at Carrow Road.

• Tim Krul 7 

Top class reaction stop to foil Che Adams. Television replays appeared to show he was at least partially unsighted by Ben Gibson, when Adams whipped a shot towards the near post from the penalty spot. Had his angles spot on to claim James Ward-Prowse and Adam Armstrong efforts from range.

Experience was needed in the final stages.  

• Max Aarons 7 

Fended off by Adams before he cut back on his right to line up Grant Hanley. Assist for Teemu Pukki’s opener when he burst from halfway before exchanging passes with Milot Rashica to whip back a cross from the byline.

Needed more assistance in the first period to deal with the excellent Kyle Walker-Peters. Got it after the break with the selfless Josh Sargent. Typified a greater urgency after the break from the hosts with his turnovers. 

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•  Grant Hanley (C) 7 

A first half moment or two to forget. But redemption in the sweetest of fashion at the same end, when he rose powerfully above his own team mate, Brandon Williams, to direct Billy Gilmour’s cross down and past the flailing Alex McCarthy.

Had two chances to deal with Adams before his Scottish international colleague poked a strike through his legs. Dallied on the ball in his own half in the 43rd minute to allow Ibrahim Diallo the opportunity to raid and free Adams, but Tim Krul produced a top class stop. 

But also a series of key defensive blocks or sliding near post challenges.  

• Ben Gibson 8 

Commanding at Brentford. Crucial here again. A calming influence with Hanley looking uncomfortable in that first half. Came across with a sliding tackle to foil Armstrong and Adams. Block tackle on Armstrong from a Walker-Peters' cutback. 

Could have been the headline grabber instead of his captain when he headed over an earlier Gilmour corner when McCarthy flapped at the centre. 

• Brandon Williams 7 

Singled out by Dean Smith for his all-action display. Vital header inside his own box in the 27th minute to cut out an Armstrong cross destined for Diallo. Full-blooded second half challenges left Valentino Livramento on the deck. 

Did not take a backward step when Jan Bednarek took exception to the second of those challenges.  

NCFC Extra: Paddy's Pointers after Norwich City 2-1 Southampton

•  Mathias Normann  6 

Part of a central midfield Smith felt failed to engage their opposite numbers in a difficult first half. But glimpses of his undoubted quality. Notably the back spin on a gorgeous half volley cushioned into the path of Rashica.

Key track back to intercept an Adams cross down the left. Advanced in the 67th minute to uncork a swinging right-footed effort that flew wide of the top left-hand corner. 

• Kenny McLean 6 

Much of his high tempo defensive work will never catch the eye. But did enough at key times to pop up in those tracts outside his own penalty box to either close the door or provide enough of a distraction to foil Mohamed Elyounoussi and Ward-Prowse.

Clubbed a crossfield ball for Todd Cantwell out of play. One driving central run second half matched by the weight on the ball for Rashica to turn and test McCarthy on his left. 

• Billy Gilmour  7 

Another who failed to deliver what Smith had demanded prior to the interval, bar a brief interlude when he knitted the play using Gibson and Williams for wall passes. Set piece threat brought a big chance for Ben Gibson and later the winner for fellow back Hanley. 

Came to the party when City slipped a few attacking gears. Cheeky chip over a Southampton marker and then the pass for Pukki to race clear and test McCarthy.  

• Milot Rashica  8 

Turnover work on Walker-Peters led to the Norwich equaliser, when he rolled in Aarons to pick out Pukki. It was his probing cross down the left that was cleared for the corner despatched by Hanley to seal the victory.

Looked much more potent on the left in the second half than the thankless task trying to support Aarons in quelling the threat from Walker-Peters prior to the break.

Whipped in a free kick in first half stoppage time begging for a yellow shirt to attack it. Swivelled onto his left to receive McLean’s slip ball and produce a save from McCarthy.  

• Teemu Pukki  7 

Great move to the near post and enough power in his glancing header to embarrass McCarthy. Had to feed off scraps the rest of the first half but battled centre backs to bring overlapping full backs into play.

Opted not to pull the trigger in the 56th minute when rolled in by Josh Sargent. Burst free in the 76th minute onto Gilmour’s threaded pass, but McCarthy shovelled his deflected strike behind.  

• Todd Cantwell   5 

Smith admitted it was a risk worth taking which alas did not come off after a return to the first team fold. That recent inactivity and Southampton’s dominant first half approach was not a conducive landscape for Cantwell.

Had to survive Diallo’s penalty claims, although the Saints’ forward appeared to be backing into Cantwell. Tried to beat two men on the edge of his own area, but lost the ball in an dangerous turnover that saw Oriol Romeu eventually denied by Hanley.   

City substitutes          

• Josh Sargent (for Cantwell, 45)

Poster boy for a higher, more aggressive, more committed press in the second half. But still had chances to get on the scoresheet. A touch too unselfish when he looked for Pukki in the 56th minute rather than try his own luck. 

• Lukas Rupp (for Gilmour, 86) n/a 

• Christos Tzolis (for Rashica, 90) n/a 

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