Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 1-0 Championship win against Brentford
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. No pictures on the scorecard
This was about as far removed from free-flowing as you could get. Norwich had to grind, grind and grind some more.
The intermittent rain seemed to typify the toil and the struggle required. But it was another face of Daniel Farke’s squad they need to develop to maintain their superb progress.
It will not always be about Moritz Leitner spraying passes, or Jordan Rhodes slamming home goals and young full backs surging down the flanks.
This was a hard-earned win but a win nevertheless to cap a quite faultless week. Come the final analysis around next May, who will care about the patchy performance in a home game against Brentford. Feel the three points.
2. Beautiful Buendia
Daniel Farke was glowing in his pre-match praise of the impact made by the 21-year-old attacking midfielder.
To arrive from the Spanish second tier, then effectively miss out on a pre-season through injury, and yet to look so comfortable in the rough and tumble of the Championship is a testament to the young man. But Farke also challenged him to add goals to his all round creativity.
Buendia must have been listening. The trigger run, cutting in off the right get him in front of his full-back as Timm Klose’s long raking pass dropped to earth.
But the manner he cushoned a low volley and guided it sweetly beyond the Brentford keeper from 16 yards was a classy finish. Not a bad start in the goals column. Now time to see more.
3. Paying the penalty
There might have been a voice in the press box imploring Rhodes not to make the same mistake he did against West Brom from the spot and to put his laces through the ball.
You do the detective work.
For Rhodes to step up, at the same end of the ground, roughly at the same point in the first half, and sidefoot another tame effort into the same bottom corner was hard to stomach.
Daniel Bentley had certainly done his homework and dropped on the ball. When it finally arrived. Rhodes showcased his predatory instincts in the midweek win over Aston Villa.
It may be time for another cab off the rank should City be awarded any more free shots fom 12 yards.
4. Solid oaks
Given this was a game where Norwich had to dig out the result, the influence of Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann was crucial. The fact Tim Krul was only fleetingly troubled underlined their success.
There was one massive slice of fortune for City’s backline, after Krul’s double save saw the ball spiral towards Neal Maupay five yards out but the hitherto prolific frontman could only clip a half-volley against the top of the bar.
But that was an isolated incident. The most impressive aspect of Norwich’s defensive double act in the absence of Grant Hanley is the unity.
When Klose dallied on the ball too long in the second period, it was Zimmermann around on the cover to subdue Maupay.
5. Blue Lambert
The focus thankfully returned to matters on the pitch after a feverish few days in East Anglian football that ended with the still frankly unbelievable sight of Paul Lambert pitching up at Portman Road.
The City Hall of Famer may have had a watching brief at Millwall as Ipswich slumped to a 3-0 defeat that kept them rooted to the foot of the table.
But that did not stop many Norwich fans basking in Lambert’s misery. The build up to next year’s derby meeting at the Carra will be something to behold.
Before then, Lambert and Matt Gill have to show the old magic is still there. Marcus Evans has already implored his new manager to top what he achieved in Norfolk. Good luck.