Brutal Norwich City expose the Watford gap

Norwich City's Nathan Redmond shows the scars of battle in the 3-0 Championship win over Watford. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City's Nathan Redmond shows the scars of battle in the 3-0 Championship win over Watford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, August 18, 2014
8:37 AM

The most impressive facet of Norwich City’s first Championship win of the season was the arrogance to respond when challenged.

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"Wolves was a painful false start. Watford needs to be more than a false dawn."

Paddy Davitt

Anything less than a victory against a Watford side reduced to 10 men by the reckless behaviour of Joel Ekstrand inside the opening five minutes would have been unacceptable for Neil Adams, his players and the large swathes of home support who rightly demand better than they have been served up in recent times.

City delivered. They did what they had to do, in stark contrast to their inability to shape their own destiny last season.

They accepted the responsibility and the opportunity afforded them and engineered three surgical incisions fit to grace any stage.

But leading 1-0 just after the interval the Hornets opted to go for broke. Beppe Sannino withdrew the more disciplined promptings from central midfield of Lewis McGugan and introduced a wild card in Lloyd Dyer. That pace and directness to try and lend some genuine support to the likes of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra crystalised in a superb opportunity to draw the disadvantaged Hornets level when he burst clear, but John Ruddy coolly batted aside his angled strike during the one moment of real alarm all afternoon for the England keeper.

Within five minutes, Lewis Grabban’s deflected looping strike had extended Norwich’s lead. Within another couple, Alex Tettey had unleashed another unerringly accurate effort and the game was finished. City were the right side of a scoreline more reflective of their dominance and territorial hegemony.

But it was that key phase that framed this victory. Around the same time the previous weekend at Molineux, they were denied on three occasions in close proximity before Martin Olsson’s red card and Dave Edwards’ glancing header condemned them to an opening Championship defeat.

The contrast was self-evident. Norwich looked far more composed, far more clinical. Adams restored Tettey to his starting plans and the Norwegian’s muscular dynamism helped create a bridgehead in the centre of the park that released Johnson to roam forward and showcase the technical ability many feel is missing from his skillset.

Kyle Lafferty earned a start after his cameo in the Black Country and underlined his long-term value to the cause; patrolling that left flank with vigour and embracing a workload that will surely endear him to the locals.

Ekstrand’s rashness tilted the game firmly in Norwich’s favour, but there was a ruthlessness and a hard edge to this City line-up that was missing at Wolves.

Sannino was adamant there would have been a different outcome if the visitors had maintained parity in personnel. Yet given the balance to Norwich’s play, the protection afforded the backline to deal with the potential danger of Deeney and Vydra, it is difficult to share the Italian’s conviction.

Norwich on this evidence would have had too much in reserve; too much nous and too much class to eventually prevail. What they lacked at Wolves was the intensity and the endeavour encapsulated in Lafferty’s first competitive home outing for his new club.

City’s decision-making at times underlined the relative comfort of the exercise once Ekstrand had departed. Yet there was also a commendable degree of patience and a willingness to let the sheer weight of pressure tell.

Once victory was secured around the hour mark, Norwich spurned numerous opportunities to increase the lead. That will have irked Adams.

It was a statement of intent that could have been even more emphatic. Norwich need to stamp their brand on this division in these formative weeks and a beating or two at Carrow Road can only foster such an aim.

Opponents need to arrive in Norfolk under no illusions at the scale of the task ahead. The brutal nature of Norwich’s put-down after Dyer’s spurned chance on the counter was an encouraging sight. City’s response was dismissive. Heurelho Gomes was heavily criticised for the manner of the concessions, but there was a wonderful artistry and sense of improvisation from the hosts which you sense Adams and his coaching staff are striving to foster.

His job is to give those players the best environment to express their obvious talent; to harness the individuality of a Wes Hoolahan or a Nathan Redmond within the framework of a solid shape that means Norwich will be respected wherever they go in the Championship.

Unbeaten Blackburn may provide a far more accurate barometer to gauge the stirrings of early momentum at Carrow Road tomorrow night. Rovers no longer look a club toiling in the post-Premier League wilderness. They appear to be heading in the right direction under an unassuming coach and a collection of talented players. The parallels with City are obvious.

Much of the focus and the attention may settle on an upcoming derby against an old foe, but Norwich need to be no less bullish, no less certain in their approach to prevail against Gary Bowyer’s side. Wolves was a painful false start. Watford needs to be more than a false dawn.

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38 comments

  • Dingo Reports comments that aren't offensive and gets them removed, because he is a coward.

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    Steady On

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Wiv; I blame my old pal Dubya. Ever since he came out of the closet and admitted to human rights atrocities - ie becoming a realist - he has provided a fresh target for vilification. Looks like el dingo was responding to a "phantom". Was the offending insult deleted by Archie of his own volition? If so, I`m impressed.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • oh dear the lady has a new lease on life.S|O make your points [and some of them are good] but leave out the personal stuff.

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Such a shame the unhappy one has returned with an even greater aliquot of vileness. Peace may retuurn some day. It`s up to Archant to moderate rather than interfere.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Oh dear. Can't be bothered to report you as you're only being offensive to me and not an entire nation. Fool.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @Steady On: I had every right to report your previous comment because it was offensive - and removed. I cannot contemplate who or what you are in real life, but thinking about it will not spoil my tea. As for the coward thing, best I let it go...

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @Daniel Smith. Don`t let the Devil into your backyard.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Repeatedly prevented from commenting further. Interesting. Anticipating an outbreak of identity theft ansd abuse from faux posters... It`s about time Archie sorted that thing out.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • I think your question has been answered, DanielS. This person has been guilty of serial abuse (sample list available on request). Dubai has been an optimist, now he`s having a crack at being a realist. Thing is; he`s always been polite under provocation. I know, I did a lot of it. Beware of letting the Devil into your backyard, Daniel.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @ the semi-literate Steady On: Fail? I'm a decent supporter who doesn't drag world politics into football. OTBC and enough of your rubbish already.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • We need the trolls back to unit us. Settle down lads a few moans and groans is traditional in this part of the world, it shows we care. But a bit of happy clappy is also necessary. Come back Matt we need you.

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    cutty

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • What's the matter S.O. ? No need to get personal with the regulars, we all want success and we all have differing opinions on how to achieve that. It's what we call lively and healthy banter. Anyway, loosen up and try and make people smile......this is what I just read on the Green 'un....1 st 1p5wich fan.....: "I blame the manager; if we could sign better players, we'd be a great club." 2 nd 1p5wich fan.....: "I blame the players; if they made more effort, I'm sure we would score more goals." The 3rd 1p5wich fan...: "I blame my parents; if I had been born in Norwich, I'd be supporting a decent team."

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • You can try and censor me Dingo but you know I'm right. You are desperate for us to fail so you can proclaim you were the first to say we were doomed. I find it really sad, because a lot of you used to support this club.

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    Steady On

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Looks like I have missed all the fun here..... Probably my just deserts for all those human rights abuses I have been committing amongst my workforce here today ! My only crime (on here) apparently is that I have been barking on about keeping Fer. Steady On old chap, this player did sign a four year contract last year, so the thought of holding him to his contract is not all that abhorrent, is it ?

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • I reported 'Steady On' for his comments about Dubai Canary and his useless opinions on human rights abuse. Yes there very probably are HR issues in Dubai and it is not a country I would care to visit - especially with Mrs Dingo - but WTF does Steady On know about it? How can anybody link the sale of Leroy Fer to human rights abuse??? And Steady On - I was there too as I always am and respect Leroy for saying goodbye to us. I wish these boards could say goodbye to you.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • What does " The Arrogance to respond when Challenged " mean please ? Sounds like something a magistrate would say to some yob who'd been disturbing the peace on Prince of Wales road during a Friday night's jolly outing .

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    Bring on Foggo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • ...or perhaps nothing else to do Steady? ....and I'm not implying that you struggle to fill your days with more meaningful and productive pursuits, no. I do wonder about two or three others though, given the amount of posts they make on a daily basis. It's a shame that those with who 'post the most' always seem to be the more negative - perhaps there is a link?

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @Daniel Smith - You have to realise that the people on here have "Set up their stall" so to speak. they firmly nailed their "NeYullLL OutTT BUH!!" colours to the mast last week and, to them, their opinion being proved to be right is far more important than this club actually being successful. It is an unfortunate phenomenon within football, the race to be the first to say we were "Doomed". If it goes pear shaped you can sit there in smug satisfaction, if we are successful you can just pretend you were never negative or come up with the time honoured phrase "I was glad to be proven wrong". It really is pathetic that some people feel this way. On Norwich at the moment I feel we are in a period of flux and that I have seen enough of Adams and the way he manages to be optimistic but why would I rush to the bigoted views some have on here? And don't worry about them "giving me a hard time" The ex-pat brigade are totally disconnected and basing their viewpoints on no information at all and the others just have issues and too much free time.

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    Steady On

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @IrishCanary, I believe Surman has one year remaining on his contract and has refused to sign a new deal. NA wanted him, but it appears the player wants to go to Eddie Howe's revolution at Bournemouth. To some of the other posters...Why give SteadyOn a hard time. Most of the things said are correct. I think the problem is negative people straight away. We won 3-0 for goodness sake. We should support players that want to be here to the hilt, including the management team. Any players that want to leave we should give them our blessing and then move on. @DubaiCanary I understand your points but try and be a bit chirpier about your club. Being negative will get us nowhere.

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    Daniel Smith

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @Irish.......roight you are Ted! Indeed QPR is not a step-up - probably just a sideways but 'strategic' move that will allow him to be in the shop window of the premier league and also maintain his place within the Dutch national squad.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Who would you have left out of the starting lineup yesterday in place of Fer? that's the question.

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    Steady On

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Can anyone seriously say that Fer is not amongst our best 11? There's no doubt he's going ..what we don't know (yet) is whether he's actually pushed for the move to QPR or whether the Board have simply accepted a bid. In my view, QPR is not a step up. They struggled in the chump last year and, like us last year, will lose more often than they win in the prem. I'm also confused by the Surman situation. All summer we were told he was an integral part of NA's plans. He went straight back into the starting 11 week 1 and then he's left out of the squad to complete his move to Bournemouth! Surely no one can suggest that shows great planning over the summer, or that he is being sold with the Manager's blessing? I'm sure we will bring in some reinforcements - but will they be the same quality as those we are allowing to leave?

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    Irish canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • She`s off again. Look what you`ve done, Dubya. All that abuse of humans you are culpable for. I`m beginning to see Steady`s point of view. Dubya; you rank alongside Saddam Hussein, H!tler, Pol Pot, Nicolae Ceausescu, Rob Butler, Idi Amin and Noel Edmonds. Repent. Mend your ways. Btw, your "cant" was very accurate, S\O. Respect.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • I've been laptopless for a week or so and you wouldn't want to type it on the Galaxy! Ce soir in camera.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Btw, what are "eings"? Could there be so many typos in one posting...? I won`t go into "are" and "will\"will be", "look\looking", etc. One has to forgive the unforgivable, even from the unforgiving.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Pay no heed to your humourless critic, Dubya. One might have hoped he could point out your errors with grace. Not a chance. You carry on regardless. I`ll be a fan (sycophant) whether you continue in your new career as a Moaner, or chose to revert to Happy Clappery. Yabba Abu Dhabi Dubai!!

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • el dingo; I wish you`d stop "Doing the Tantalus" with that Partridge story. I got the hint that you were to reveal something counter to my views on the serially obnoxious Rab C. Butler (who has now gracelessly refused to accept an apology from "Paul" on Canary Call. The apology should`ve been in the other direction anyway - Paul couldn`t help being a dullard). You will have gathered that I am a leading member in the Inner Circle of the Anti-Insiderist Movement... Butler`s not Mattias, is he??

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Blackburn, Blackpool, whatever...... my mind more concerned about why the Board are secretly selling off our better players and banking the cash in the hope that we don't notice. I am still disturbed that NA seemingly has no say-so about the transfer wheelings and dealings and apparently doesn't have the clout to hold onto Fer !

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Illuminating comment there, Sherbert. Blackpool will be aglow by the time we visit. Lighting up day: 29th August. Be gentle with poor ol` Dubya, y`all; he`s in the middle stage of metamorphosis from being a `Happy Clapper` to a `Moaner` (aka realist). He is not a bad person.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Morning Brew - Partridge tale to follow soon.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • @Steady On: I just love buffoons like you who criticise an erudite guy like Dubai whilst informing us we have a manger. I thought we used knives and forks. Prairie hat.

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    el dingo

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • What`s got into you Dubya?? We play Blackburn - and it`s tomorrow. Get back on the old Pollyanna Potion, & revert to being the Happy Clappy Expat we know and love. I speak as a friend; I will be eternally grateful to you for your generous gifts of Jolly Juice. Now I believe your need of it is greater than mine. ;-) Btw; I think the 1p5wich game is still on Saturday. Restrictions on Police overtime on Sundays settled that issue. Rumour has it we`re still playing The Donkeys.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Brutal would have been 6-0 - get real. The goals were all very good. At least it's an improvement on the Hull result last year, but come on, how many shots were off target still? How many scoring opportunities were created for our strikers in the box? Take positive, build on the result, but brutal? No, wrong word.

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    Surrey Canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Blackpool? how time flies end of September already!

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    Sherbert

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • A win over Blackburn and we are looking good. We have plenty of options and a manger that is willing to use them. Example, Grabban can go wide if we require pace down the eings in support and Lafferty can go down the wings if we need to receive the ball or use a bit of muscle. We have goals all over the park and I think we will grow into this league nicely if things stay on track. Just need to fans to remain on side and maybe not completely capitulate like they did last week.

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    Steady On

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Could you have made any more mistakes in your post Dubai...

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    Steady On

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • There were many good signs on Saturday that NA has found a system that will work for City and enable the best players to be utilised. Yes the big test will come against Blackburn and we may need a Plan B and even C if the latest formation fails to bring the required results. We can at least look forward to the next game with optimism.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, August 18, 2014

  • Wolves game was a disaster, probably as bad as any game we played last season, and that is saying how bad ! Waford was the right result, but a 3-0 home win against a 10 man Watford is hardly a good barometer to measure progress by. A much better test will be a fine win tonight against Blackpool (i'll take 3-0) again and then a ritual slaughtering of the six-fingered donkey at Portaloo Road on Saturday. Get these two results right NA and the doubters will start to believe again. In the meantime, I'd like to see you do whatever it takes to hold onto Fer !! OTBC never mind McNally.......

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, August 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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