Poll: Bradley Johnson was our Norwich City Man of the Match against Stoke City, who was yours?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Bradley Johnson has arguably emerged as the key man in Chris Hughton's Norwich City squad.
When he is fit, he starts under Hughton, which is some transformation from the second half of last season when Johnson appeared a peripheral figure after failing to build on the type of powerful midfield displays which saw him talked about in national circles.
Johnson's departure for the final 30 minutes at the Emirates recently underlined his protective qualities. Arsenal unleashed waves of attacking movement that ultimately tilted the balance; whatever your stance on the contentious officiating.
Johnson would be the first to accept his attacking potential is often fitful, his creative ability erratic, but in a style of play that prioritises defensive resolution he is an essential component. Both aspects of Johnson's game were evident at the Britannia.
The urge to support saw him perfectly positioned to advance onto Kei Kamara's flick, but the first-time stab on his favoured left from the edge of the Stoke area drifted over. The 26-year-old covered plenty of distance in those central areas trying to hoover up second balls arrowed towards Peter Crouch or Cameron Jerome, working in tandem with Alex Tettey and Jonny Howson.
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Johnson's initial reticence to return the ball late on in the game following a stoppage incurred the wrath of Stoke's players and the officials. City may have cause to welcome such belligerence over the final pivotal few games.
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