The Norwich v Manchester City clash that took place this Saturday, September 14 was what can only be described as the most shocking win of the 2019/20 Premier League season so far. But at the same time, what happened at Carrow Road is also one of the reasons we all fell in love with this sports.
There are probably more than a few people that do not feel the same way, which goes for all the Manchester City fans, who had to witness their team lose the first fixture of the season and those who decided to place a wager on the fixture by betting on Guardiola and his men to defeat Norwich. By contrast, Norwich supporters probably still try to figure out whether they were dreaming or was what they saw reality. Seeing how a newly-promoted side who is at the same time the worst defensive team in the EPL won against reigning EPL champions was a sight to remember, yet there is still a question that needs to be answered: How did they do it?
To start off it’s hard to even compare Norwich to Manchester City. To put it into a perspective, The Canaries total market value is barely €121.6 million, which compared to Manchester City’s €1.28 billion is pocket change. Despite that, Norwich managed to stay competitive in their fixture against Manchester City, which begs the question. Were Norwich just so good or was Manchester City so bad? The answer is probably somewhere in between, although it was more of the former, as we cannot ignore the superb performance of the home side, who approached the fixture with a changed strategy, which worked wonders.
Norwich are known for their bold, attacking approach, which feeds the ball to their star player Pukki, who then uses the ball to do what he does best. Score goals. That being said, Norwich’s defence is questionable, to say the least. With 12 goals conceded in five EPL fixtures so far, the Canaries hold the unenviable title of the worst defence in the league. But that was not the same defence we saw on Saturday. It became rather obvious Daniel Farke ordered his men to defend deep and close down all the avenues in which Manchester City operate. He somehow managed to achieve that despite having a severely weakened squad due to injuries, making the whole thing that much more impressive. While the genius strategy played a big part in Norwich’s impressive win against Manchester City, it all came down to the performance of three players, who made a remarkable contribution. We are of course talking about Sam Byram, Alex Tettey and Ibrahim Amadou, who made their first league starts as a replacement for injured teammates.
Against all expectations, it became rather obvious early into the fixture that Pep Guardiola‘s men won’t have an easy time against Norwich, who made Man City look very flat. The frustrations of the Sky Blues deepened only 18 minutes into the fixture when they conceded their first goal at the hands of McLean. But it did not stop there. Norwich needed only 10 more minutes to muster up another goal, with the help of their star striker Pukki, who set up Cantwell with an opportunity to score a goal, and the 21-year old did not hesitate to take it. Unfortunately, Norwich suffered a goal just before the half time, which led many to believe Norwich’s fairy tale will end. But that was not the case. A terrible mistake by Otamendi in 50th minute basically gifted Pukki a chance to score his sixth goal, and he did not hesitate to do just that
Leading 3:1, all Norwich had to do for the remaining 40 minutes was to defend their net, which was by no means an easy task, but as we have come to realise, a task Norwich managed to accomplish. Manchester City failed to find their way to the net up until 88th minute, when Rodri scored to reduce the gap to 3:2, but it was too late too little for Man City to win on that night.
Seeing how Norwich managed to adapt their playstyle to derail one of the strongest teams in the world, it would be easy to assume they will have a successful season. They might not be able to replicate what Leicester did in 2016, but if they can keep up with the tempo a solid finish in the upper part of the EPL is not out of the question. For those trying to test their luck, there is always a possibility to place a bet on Norwich to win the league, yet even the odds of 3001 suggest betting on them to do so is far from something we can expect to happen.
That being said, the results of Norwich will heavily rely on how well Pukki will perform. He has impressed so far with six goals to his name and considering the aggressive playstyle of Norwich, we can expect him to be a strong contender for the Premier League Golden boot award. Currently ranked as a sixth favourite (26.00), betting on him to finish the season with the most goals could prove to be a bet worth considering. That being said, we cannot forget about Salah, Aguero, Aubymeyang, Sterling and Mane who will all stand in his way.