November - Into The Knock-Outs
Norwich 2-0 PAOK
| Europa League Group G | Sarr, Pukki
Norwich 3-0 Brighton
| Premier League | Aarons, Kamara, Connolly
Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich
| Premier League | Buendia
Norwich 1-0 Napoli
| Europa League Group G | Eliasson
Norwich 4-3 Arsenal
| Premier League | Kamara, Sarr, Buendia, Kana
What a month! Astronomically better in contrast to the last few, we've been absolutely fantastic this month picking up better results in the Premier League and also making our way into the Europa League 2nd knockout round with relative ease.
In October PAOK beat us 2-0 in Greece and our next European fixture was to play them again but this time at home. We made sure that this time would be different as it should have been in the first place. Sarr and Pukki both got the goals which took us up to 9 points in the group leaving us just the one point off qualification.
Our next Europa League game came against Napoli who when you think about it in comparison to us should be topping this group on paper given their quality and European pedigree but once again they were well beaten by us just as they were at their own ground.
Eliassonn sealed the Partenopei's fate for the match and we passed into the knockouts with flying colours.
I stated a great importance on doing better in the league and despite a disappointing draw to Aston Villa in a game we really should have won I'm pleased to say we've come out with more wins than draws in the league in what feels like forever.
The Brighton game was very routine, we absolutely battered Hove and Kamara with our third goal scored an absolute screamer. I've had a little tactical change in recent weeks since the Chelsea game and I believe I moved Kamara up mid game into the defensive midfield roll in which he was able to get forward and show his prowess in front of the net.
The Arsenal game would be (another) contender for game of the season. We seem to have a lot of these.
Let me run you through the basic time line of the match. Hector Bellerin scored 11 minutes in after what could be considered an awful display in defence. At the back end we soon sure'd ourselves up and solidified enabling us to make it to the second half at just 1-0.
Three minutes in Kamara scored a lovely header from a corner, and just 2 minutes later Marco Kana put us 2-1 up from close range. We spent 10 minutes in the lead, and wonderkid Bukayo Saka broke through the defence and levelled the score.
All the way up to the 88th minute things were looking quiet but all of a sudden the game proved it had something else in score as Maitland-Niles sent the away stand into raptures putting the Gunners 3-2 up.
Clearly still celebrating just 2 minutes later Ismaila Sarr caught Tierney at left back completely off guard by running onto a beautiful pass over the top from Aaron Connolly, tucking home the equaliser.
Thinking we'd escaped with a point, there was more to come. Nick Pope picked up the ball in his box, looks up for about a second and thunders a drop kick up the field to Buendia in the middle of the park who had all the time in space in the world.
With no one else on the pitch you'd rather it came too, he burst forward and dribbled quickly past Niles giving himself the chance to smash home a driven shot into Leno's bottom right corner in the 95th minute...One of the most incredible games we'll watch all season!!
Sadly, I completely forgot to take screenshots of the league tables but I remember where we were. We sat 5th just 3 points behind Bournemouth who were 4th and obviously qualified top of the Europa League group.
In other news I want to bring to your attention a couple of players we got in the first ever youth intake at Norwich!
Now if you recall, both of these players came through our academy in the first year with Juan DIaz looking like the best of the bunch. Unhappy with his finishing ability I decided he wasn't yet good enough for Premier League football so despite making 21 league apps for us in the first two years, he has been out on loan with QPR this year where he has scored 7 goals in 26 apps.
Initially, he didn't have a place in my squad due to the fact he simply wasn't the type of player that fit my tactics but since our little tactical change it seems he'll almost definitely have a future here at Norwich.
Tommy Neil never looked brilliant to begin with and technically, still doesn't but those mental and Physical stats are what earned him a spot as Jamal Lewis' understudy and I'm pleased to report that whenever he's played (30 apps in the league) he's been fantastic and showed signs of improvement ever since joining the club, putting in the best performances in training nearly every single week for 2 years.
A very dedicated player.