Six things we learned from Norwich City’s valiant draw against Arsenal

6: Canaries defender Ryan Bennett towers above Alexis Sanchez in a match where his aerial abilities

6: Canaries defender Ryan Bennett towers above Alexis Sanchez in a match where his aerial abilities helped City to an impressive point against Arsenal. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

After seeing Norwich City rally to rescue a deserved draw at home against title hopefuls Arsenal, David Freezer assesses how the Canaries can build on encouraging signs shown in recent performances.

1: Seeing is believing for Canaries players – as they prove their top-flight abilities

As the home support rose to their feet to applaud the City players off the pitch at full-time, the struggles of the first half could easily have been forgotten.

The visitors could, and perhaps should, have been at least 2-0 up inside the opening 30 minutes. The travelling fans chanted 'you're only here for the Arsenal' as the Gunners' top-level stars started to shine.

Too much respect was being shown to Arsene Wenger's classy players and – after John Ruddy saved well from Alexis Sanchez – Mesut Ozil grabbed the goal his team deserved.

Finally that sparked the Canaries into life though and their belief came flooding back. Those seeds of doubt sown recently, as more defensive approaches have been taken to steer City's ship back to calmer waters, had knocked some confidence.

Finding the right balance between defence and attack was eluding the hosts but as Seb Bassong and Ryan Bennett continued to hold firm at the back in the second half, correct decisions across the team started to flow.

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Alex Neil's players finally started believing they could match Arsenal – and left the pitch unlucky to not take all three points.

2: Ryan Bennett is finally fulfilling his potential for City

The Arsenal attack had little joy up against City's centre-backs, as Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett's partnership continues to go from strength to strength.

In the five consecutive games the pair have played, they have conceded five goals. In the three previous matches, with Bassong and Russell Martin at the heart of the defence, 10 goals were let in.

With the continued improvement of Andre Wisdom at right-back as well, the Canaries are starting to feel more confident about their defensive solidity.

Bennett has been a tower of strength in those five games, even if Alex Neil's side haven't quite achieved the results they have deserved in that time.

The 25-year-old former Peterborough defender still needs to read developing attacks better but aerially and in the tackle he is starting to look strong.

Whether this proves to be the launchpad for Bennett's successful career will, once again, come down to injuries being avoided. But the former England Under-21 international is now starting to look well worth the £3million City paid for him in 2012.

3: Squad game is building the united spirit needed to survive

Team spirit was key to Norwich City dragging themselves back into the Premier League last season and is starting to re-emerge at Carrow Road.

Despite plenty of encouraging performances the Canaries have not picked up the points they have deserved so far this season, through a combination of self-inflicted concessions and bad luck.

That has brought some testing times for Alex Neil's squad already this season – yet they remain three points clear of the relegation zone after 14 games and many supporters belief there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic.

Contributing to the united spirit which has seen City take on their recent challenges has been the change around in personnel.

Neil highlighted his belief that he can rely on all of the players in his squad after yesterday's game, after seeing Lewis Grabban return to play a key role.

Ryan Bennett, Andre Wisdom and Gary O'Neil have all come into the team recently, with Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjidja Ofoe also featuring – and impressing – against the Gunners.

The whole squad pulling in the right direction remains key for any team facing a survival battle, with lots of football still to be played yet this season.

4: Ball retention is all well and good – but goals are key to Lewis Grabban's redemption

Alex Neil's decision to name Lewis Grabban was the big talking point ahead of kick-off and the faith of City's boss was justified.

The 27-year-old scored his first ever Premier League goal to bring the Canaries back on level terms against the Gunners.

The striker's performance was markedly better after his goal though, as his confidence started to return.

Having been out of the matchday squad completely for City's past two matches, Grabban had looked to be out of contention, following his early-season drama.

The former Crystal Palace trainee went AWOL ahead of a Capital One Cup tie at Rotherham in August, as he seemingly tried to force through a return to Bournemouth.

His City career looked to be drifting to an end but now he has the chance to return to the status he enjoyed last season, when his 12 goals played a major part in promotion.

His hold-up play and strong running are clearly rated by his manager.

Keep scoring goals like he did yesterday and he can soon follow Seb Bassong's path to redemption at Carrow Road.

5: Kicking woes wasted much of John Ruddy's good work If anyone in the Norwich City squad needs a thick skin this season, it's goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Lady Luck really doesn't seem to be on the side of the one-cap England international this season, as he played his part in conceding a goal again.

It should not be forgotten however that Ruddy – who received a warm round of applause ahead of his 200th City appearance – was helping to keep Arsenal at bay in the first half.

The 29-year-old saved well from Alexis Sanchez in the 27th minute and confidently claimed the subsequent corner before quickly setting Wes Hoolahan free on an attack.

His kicking let him down massively though, in admittedly tough conditions of swirling wind and rain.

Martin Olsson also let his keeper down by choosing to pass back to him unnecessarily ahead of the poor left-footed kick which led to Mesut Ozil opening the scoring.

There were positives for Ruddy to focus on but his kicking, particularly on his weaker left foot, must improve if he is to retain the confidence of his team-mates and supporters.

6: Swashbuckling attacking runs earning Andre Wisdom plenty of fans

The athletic abilities of Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom have proved a major boost for City in recent weeks.

The stocky 21-year-old has moved ahead of Steven Whittaker in the pecking order but will need to keep improving if he is to keep the experienced Scotland international out of the side.

Wisdom impressed both defensively and in attack against the Gunners.

He showed good technique in the 28th minute, chesting down a switched pass from Gary O'Neil to burst down the right flank, only for his cross to be too long.

He lost the ball to Alexis Sanchez when attacking soon after but battled back to regain possession and keep the hosts on the front foot, earning huge cheers from the Carrow Road fans.

His fantastic low cross in the second minute of first-half injury time then so nearly saw City grab the lead, a one-two with Howson allowing him to pick out Hoolahan at the back post, but the Irishman was unable to keep his shot under the crossbar.

At times he allowed Nacho Monreal too much time to cross but generally Wisdom was defensively sound as well. He looks increasingly likely to see his season-long loan become a permanent transfer next summer.