October 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, October 22, 2012
There have been plenty of big wins in Grant Holt’s time at Carrow Road – but Saturday’s stirring victory over Arsenal was up there with the best.
The Norwich City skipper was at his talismanic best as the Canaries’ hassled, harried and ultimately hung out to dry Arsene Wenger’s Premier League title hopefuls.
Holt’s 20th minute strike was his third in three successive games – but most importantly, brought Chris Hughton his first Premier League victory since taking charge in the summer and instantly lifted the mood around the club.
“That’s big, a massive win in the context of things,” said Holt. “Everyone’s documented we haven’t won and when is it going to come, so to get it off our back we can now go and relish the season.
“It was sweet. The endeavour and the work rate the lads put in deserved the three points.
“We were solid all over the park and we will take a lot from that win. The lads will realise that when you go in with a game plan you need to stick to that, you need to be tight and be solid and hit them on the counter attack, and that what we did.
“We had a game plan and we worked on it all week. We knew Arsenal would come here and be an absolute threat.
“They’re a little different this year. They can pass it, move it and if in doubt they can hit the long ball. So you’ve got to be on your toes.
“We worked in the week when we could, without those on international duty, but the good thing is we’ve got a great squad who could train all week and do it correctly.
“We had a game plan and when you don’t concede goals and give them away, your game plan doesn’t have to change.
“We got the goal and they came out and we should’ve finished them off. But we needed that. It has taken a while coming.”
Indeed, the victory would have been more comfortable had Holt taken his glorious chance late in the second half – only to chip into the waiting arms of the Gunners keeper when clean through.
But that did not take anything away from Holt’s winner; his 73rd goal in 139 appearances and taking him a clear sixth in City’s all-time goalscorer charts.
“You know Alex (Tettey) has got a good shot on him so I was just trying to stay on side because predominantly he hits the target,” said Holt of his goal.
“So I was just waiting and it’s good when you go in there and get those goals – the keeper had to move and I waited to put it in the corner. It was a good little finish.”
So was Holt sweating that his later ‘finish’ may prove costly?
“Sweating? I was sweating because I’d just ran 35 yards with the ball, that’s why,” joked Holt. “If you ask the lads in training, I do it all the time to John Ruddy. I got in the mindset it was there to do it and I got caught in two minds whether to scoop or dink him, and I came out with a scoop-dink and it turned out the other way.
“That’s football. You get the chance and it is up to you what you decide to do there. It was my decision and maybe it was the wrong one at the time. Wes (Hoolahan) said I could’ve squared to him but I didn’t see him.”
In the end, it did not matter and much like at the Emirates Stadium at the end of last season, Arsenal appeared unable to work out how to deal with Holt and his team-mates.
“I’d hope so – we know what we can do and we looked at a few things we did there last year, down there,” admitted Holt.
“We ruffled them up a little bit, got crosses in the box and worked them. And we knew we could do that today.
“They’ve got lads in there like Mertesacker who want to head the ball, but if you put the ball in the right area they cant get to it and I thought we looked really good.
“Wes took up some unbelievable positions when the ball was coming in and when you’ve got someone like that who’s prepared to get in behind you or mix it up and stand in front, then it works well.”
The City faithful left Carrow Road all smiles for the first time this season – and Holt is hoping for more of the same in the coming weeks.
“Today the fans have seen we were really good and the lads pressed and worked, ran around and tackled, and I think they saw the best of us,” he added.
“And I said to the lads afterwards, that’s how you get results. That’s how you do it – and we’ll do it again.”