Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening. Donner und Blitzen – and I’m not talking about Rudolph’s mates in Santa’s once a year all-star reindeer display team.
Or in the words of Daniel Farke:
‘In the first half we [were] like a thunderstorm. We created so much lightning.’
And how true. Possibly the best 45 minutes of football I have ever seen from a Norwich City side and for me that includes something like 800 in-the-flesh attendances at games. We were truly awesome and by no means much inferior to that standard in the second period.
As MFW regular John F said yesterday, we surely must be the best £ for £ team in the world.
We were truly awesome, and the approach play seems to have speeded up a little to me. We ran them ragged at times.
The absentee roster included Timm Klose, Christoph Zimmermann, Josip Drmic, Ibrahim Amoudu, Onel Hernandez and Mayor McLean. Did that affect the balance of the side? Not one jot.
Sure anybody could proffer that Newcastle were lethargic and disinterested. I’m not totally convinced by that argument myself although it appears to have some kind of basis in fact from what we saw on Saturday.
So who do we single out for praise? Every single player in a yellow (and this season’s green) shirt, that’s who. I’m saving the best until last as you’ll realise.
First off Tim Krul. He was first class and so wanted that clean sheet. Jonjo Shelvey (aka Nosferatu) denied him that at the death, but what the heck.
Secondly, the boy wonders that are Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis. They both looked liked they had been playing Premier League all their young lives and it’s great to hear that despite a heavy clatter towards the end Jamal left the field simply because of cramp.
Next up? Ben Godfrey. Such a disciplined manifestation of game-reading and controlled aggression, as in being in the right place and doing the right thing at the right time.
Grant Hanley. Barely put a foot (or head) wrong all game. My mate told me later that when he got turned by Shelvey for the Newcastle goal he was cramped up and obviously we had no centre back on the bench, so had to stay on.
Tom Trybull and particularly Mo Leitner. They bossed that there midfield. Leitner, in particular, was superb. Folks sometimes use the word “metronome” to describe him and they’re not wrong.
Emi Buendia. Never stops working. Another fine display. Marco Stiepermann. Unorthodox enough to confuse anybody except Buendia, you-know-who (wait for it) and Todd Cantwell. Cantwell was immense. That turn inside to lose his marker in the first half was pure class and only the legs of the generally excellent Martin Dubravka denied us the opener. He then repeated the trick later to put he who is yet to be named in this article through for the second.
Can I be the first Norwich City writer not to mention that Todd’s one of our own and from Dereham?
And (drum roll) there was some guy on the pitch, a Finnish free transfer who goes by the name of, erm, is it Teemu Pukki?
A wonderful, expansive volley for his first that nearly took Dubravka into the net with it, an intelligent finish through the legs of the defender for his second and the coolest finish you’ll ever see for a well-deserved hat-trick. What a geezer. And his subsequent interview on Match of the Day showed the wonderful character of the guy.
Oh whoops, I seem to have singled out every single one of the team
Actually, the defining moment of this match for me was when Pukki completed his hat-trick and ran towards the Snakepit. The first people to congratulate him had pelted off the bench, as in the Mayor, Super Mario and Sam Byram. That encapsulates the “secret” of our success.
Briefly back to MotD, Alan Shearer was as ungracious as ever. It was wonderful to watch his skin crawl.
As far as Newcastle are concerned, one of my favourite TV programmes of the 1980s was Auf Wiedersehen Pet. There was a classic scene in it where Oz (Jimmy Nail) was subjected to a full body search at the airport.
At the crucial moment, Oz said to German customs: “What yer ganna find up there man? A new striker for Newcassel United?”
Judging by the performance of Joelinton yesterday they still haven’t found one. If he’s worth £40 million, what price Teemu?
No thunder or lightning on the way home, just sunshine and a couple of very fed up Newcastle fans who asked us where the train station was. Keeping a straight face I pointed over the road and said: “where the engines and coaches are on the platforms mate”.
And for NCFC it’s full steam ahead.