Well, where do we go from here? Last Saturday makes football worthwhile. Always expecting the unexpected whether Norwich City are the nailed on favourites or the rank outsiders.
The two-season journey with Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke have been extraordinary on many levels. Removing the deadwood, introducing academy players, double training sessions, dropping established professionals, acquiring unknown players from far and wide and above all creating a ‘team ethos’ through the entire club, the City and the County.
Based on all the prematch forum chat, last season expected promotion let alone the Championship title. The 3-2 win over the Citizens was incredible and Canary fans have been dining out on the result ever since and deservingly so. Many are classing the achievement and intense atmosphere at the game as the best ever. The media and City fans had written the game off and most publicly wished to avoid an embarrassing hiding from the Premier League Champions.
We started the season with a couple of key players missing, both from falling down steps - Onel Hernandez and Christoph Zimmerman. By the time the Manchester City game had come round, we had nine first-team players injured and one ineligible. The only positive being that back-up players can simply step up and replace teammates based on well-drilled systems.
It is well documented that the Canaries can score goals for fun. To date, this has continued in the Prem for which I am truly grateful. Who still remembers Chris Houghton’s last season when we couldn’t buy a goal and we set up to try and avoid conceding inseam. The attacking approach, of course, leaves gaps. The commitment to defending last Saturday was nothing short of phenomenal. Amadou, a defensive midfielder was centreback, Sam Bryam was making his first full appearance and marking Sterling, Alex Tettey was playing his first game since 35 minutes during the last game of the season when we clinched the title at Villa.
Let’s not forget that a £6 million outfit outwitted a £401 million team!
Being back the Premier League, the feeling is that every point and every goal is to be cherished. The club is prepared for relegation. Let’s see where the journey takes us? My heart wanted something from West Ham. Until their first goal, the Hammers had hardly touched the ball.
An awful tackle from Haller on Zimmerman and whilst he was still limping led to the first goal. We appeared to be bullied off the park and stands out like a sore thumb as a game where we have failed to score a goal.
The boys in yellow and green have stuck to their principles of attacking play and have received plaudits from every opposition manager so far so a lack of consistency is of no issue.
I am an admirer of what Burnley have achieved in establishing themselves in the Premier League and especially in their manager Sean Dyche who always appears a straight talker and makes a lot of sense in his interviews.
He appears to have gone for more experience with Jay Rodriguez 29, Erik Peters 30, Danny Drinkwater 29 and Nakhi Wells 29. He certainly has a far different approach to Norwich who can not afford experienced Premier players on high salaries and instead employ youth who are likely to increase in value. With no European distractions, I expect Burnley to finish mid-table or slightly higher.
How will Norwich cope after the Lord Mayor’s show against Manchester City? I hope that injuries aside, the same 11 are given another chance. Daniel Farke has a habit of rewarding performance with retention of the shirt regardless of who is waiting in the wings.
Norwich are more than capable of pulling off another result this weekend. I must try and calm down from the euphoria. It could be a first draw of the season, 2-2.