Poll: Wes Hoolahan was our Norwich City Man of the Match against Wigan, who was yours?
Wes Hoolahan is the player who makes Norwich City tick. It really is as simple as ten words. Hoolahan's injury absence for the Capital One Cup quarter-final robbed the Canaries of their most technically-gifted, most intelligent, most creative player.
Hoolahan returned against the Latics, and with him came the style and the swagger City missed against Aston Villa. Norwich's prolonged unbeaten run in the Premier League is founded on defensive discipline and a team shape where every man must do his duty. Yet there is still a sliver of flexibility within Chris Hughton's masterplan to accommodate the genius of the Dubliner.
Hoolahan willingly drops back in when City do not have the ball, but his value grows exponentially when Norwich push forward. Everything that is good, everything that is proactive tends to have the Irishman's stamp. Alex Tettey slammed wide early on after Hoolahan had knitted together a bout of possession football involving Grant Holt and Bradley Johnson.
Hoolahan's prominence underlined City's dominance. His assist triggered the opening goal for Anthony Pilkington, who returned the favour in the game's defining act just past the hour mark.
City fans may not be used to Hoolahan the tough-tackling midfielder with an aerial ability belying his diminutive frame. But he has made a habit of influencing matches in the Canaries' favour. And with Hoolahan now signed up until at least 2015, Norwich's support can look forward to more decisive cameos.