Paddy Davitt verdict: Electric City scale their Everest
PUBLISHED: 18:57 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:17 16 September 2019
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This was not just a game of football. This was an assault on the senses from Norwich City.
Carrow Road has witnessed special moments, special players, special wins. But few, if any, can have been achieved through such adversity or in a din so intense, so sustained it felt like there was electricity in the air.
For a spell in a frenetic final quarter every challenge, every interception, every clearance was greeted with a deafening roar.
All four sides of the stadium reverberated with noise and passion and pride in the men in yellow and green.
A rag bag collection of free transfers, callow youth, lower level journeymen and a head coach who learnt his craft in German regional football.
At least that was the back story those outside Norfolk appeared to have adopted to frame Norwich's achievement in clambering out of the Championship prior to a ball being kicked back in the big time.
Now they have irrefutable proof of the alchemy the rest of us increasingly take for granted; so routine are these full throttle, bold, brave displays on Norfolk soil under a head coach who is embellishing his soaring reputation.
Pep Guardiola was looking forward to sampling the Carrow Road atmosphere.
The Spaniard did not look like a man enjoying the sights and sounds as he sank further into his padded seat in the away dugout when the carnage unfolded.
Farke's tactical template, his powers of persuasion to convince a team constructed using emergency rations they could mix it with the stars, was astounding.
Norwich pressed high when the opportunity arose and defended deep, closing the spaces between defence and midfield when Manchester City probed for those pockets where David Silva or Bernardo love to profit. It was a masterclass from Farke.
They had to ride their luck at times. Raheem Sterling's header grazed a post in the first half.
The normally deadly Sergio Aguero spurned chances to add to his opening goal. But this was no backs-against-the wall rearguard action.
There was no trumpeter playing the Great Escape.
And if there was they would not have been heard over the raucous sound of a support who have found their voice following a fallow period prior to Farke and Stuart Webber's arrival when their club felt rudderless.
There was something entirely fitting in the fact one of Farke's predecessors, Chris Hughton, was in attendance to witness a game and a result that will have sent tremors around the Premier League and beyond.
Hughton was part of the Sky Sports pundits' panel but in a former life masterminded top flight wins over the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United in their pomp. Dare one forget, he also had a victory at Manchester City.
But there was also a fearsome pummelling on another league visit to the Citizens and for the most part a nagging sense Norwich should be grateful for anything they could get at the top table. Not under Farke.
Liverpool may have delivered a sobering early lesson in the first half at Anfield, and both Chelsea and West Ham emerged victorious, but this Norwich squad have come to play. There was no trace of inferiority - not even a split second when you thought they were in awe.
Sam Byram typified such fearlessness on his full league debut for the club. Sterling was fronted up and subdued.
The aggression and the willingness to stand his ground and engage with England's talisman underlined Webber may have produced another masterstroke. On this evidence both Byram and Ibrahim Amadou could emerge as more than shadow men.
The sight of both Ralf Fahrmann and Michael McGovern on the bench graphically illustrated Farke really had limited room for manoeuvre, but this was a prime example of his pragmatic side. We saw it after Milwall in the early days. We saw it again here.
No coincidence that on both occasions Alex Tettey's restoration to the line up bolstered and solidified Norwich's vital work without the ball. Kenny McLean added a physical ballast and a towering leap to rock Guardiola's side back.
They never fully recovered. Norwich kept coming and coming. Waves of counter attacks matched by a rising decibel level that built to a crescendo and then an explosion at the final whistle.
The wily Farke attempted to sound a note of caution. He was kidding no-one on this occasion.
Norwich had scaled Everest. And the view was stunning.
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