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Norwich City: ‘Man City upset typical of Canaries’ bold approach’

Norwich City
Norwich registered only their second win in their past 15 Premier League meetings with the reigning champions (W2 D1 L12) – their other victory was also against Manchester City in May 2013

It is a game Norwich City fans will be talking about for years.

Their unlikely victory over defending champions Manchester City was a major Premier League shock and the manner of the victory surprised even those supporters now accustomed to the bold approach of manager Daniel Farke.

This thrilling 3-2 win was typical of their intense, front-foot style implemented by the German since he walked into Carrow Road in May 2017 – and which reached its peak here on Saturday night after the great reward of winning the Championship last season.

Could that work in the Premier League? Those delirious fans that greeted the final whistle on Saturday – their team becoming the first promoted side to beat Manchester City in 25 attempts since March 2015 – seemed in little doubt.

The last time Norwich experienced an occasion like this against Manchester City was in 2005 when the most famous member of the club’s hierarchy, Delia Smith, grabbed the microphone at half-time after they had lost a two-goal lead and launched her infamous speech to supporters.

Delia exhorted the Norwich fans with an unscripted, impromptu address demanding: “We need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be having you.”

The Canaries eventually lost that game 3-2. This could not have been a starker contrast. The joy was unconfined. The din ear-splitting.

She knew where they were here. You could not miss them and you could certainly hear them.

Norwich fans celebrate at Carrow Road
A crowd of more than 27,000 was at Carrow Road to see Norwich claim a memorable victory

It was a wild 90 minutes at a rocking Carrow Road as every quality the charismatic German Farke has injected into his team was on display.

Noise levels had been high throughout an emotion-charged game but the din and the sheer elation on the faces and in the body language of every home fan told this dramatic story.

As for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, this was an ominous display of hapless defending that has instantly brought the loss of Aymeric Laporte for six months to a serious knee injury and Vincent Kompany’s departure into sharp focus.

Liverpool have opened up a five-point gap which must not be allowed to grow any bigger, even with this season still in its infancy.

Manchester City’s flaws, and the fact that they will be relying on the unreliable in central-defensive partners John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi until January, will understandably be pored over.

But nothing must be allowed to do any disservice to magnificent Norwich.

 

Farke effectively had to conduct a head count before the game after he crossed off the names of eight players ruled out through injury.

No-one would have known as Norwich refused to feel sorry for themselves and accept they were doomed in the face of Manchester City’s riches and quality, instead producing a performance that was true to themselves and their manager.

Farke dismissed suggestions he would go on the defensive, with early observations of Norwich’s attacking approach suggesting it would leave them vulnerable to sides of greater quality, as proved by the 4-1 loss at Liverpool and the 3-2 home defeat by Chelsea.

He has not taken Norwich this far to forsake his principles now and this was a 95-minute advert for why those of us who tipped them for relegation may yet be ordering a large helping of humble pie in May.

Norwich may suffer some more pain along the way but this is a team that will not be left wondering as they are clearly determined to attack the Premier League with vigour.

Farke’s starting line-up cost the princely sum of £6.45m while the champions were assembled at a cost of £406.1m – what a tribute to Norwich’s recruitment policy.

In the early stages they were fiercely drilled and organised in defence but make no mistake, they were ambitious and fully committed to attack when the opportunity presented itself.

As Farke said with the noise of celebrations reverberating around the streets outside the stadium: “We want to win each and every game and we will try to defend but with our philosophy we can’t just press a button and park the bus.

“We have to go with what we’ve got and what we believe in, which is being on the front foot. It wasn’t possible to dominate the ball so we had a special plan and thankfully it worked well.”

Backed by a raucous packed house, they delivered two heavy blows to Manchester City through Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell, then showed grit and resilience to shrug off the concerns of Sergio Aguero’s goal right on half-time for Teemu Pukki to crucially restore their two-goal cushion.

It is a bold approach to take at the top level but Farke is not for turning and there is no doubt he has a team containing the intensity and talent to win games in the Premier League.

And there will be big spin-offs from this win against one of the finest teams in Europe when measured in self-belief and confidence.

If any of Norwich’s players or supporters have any doubts about Farke’s style or their ability to live alongside the likes of Manchester City, they can just slip in the DVD of this memorable match.

It is almost unfair to name names because every single player was outstanding but Ibrahim Amadou was top-class in defence while the guile, skill and energy of Emiliano Buendia is the perfect foil for Pukki and the strong running of the powerful Marco Stiepermann.

Farke shared the moment with his players at the final whistle before making a lap of the stadium amid roars of adulation from exultant supporters.

About Oluwadamilare Funsho

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