City boss Glenn Roeder was given plenty to ponder tonight as Paul Stephenson's teenage reserve side beat Arsenal's much-vaunted youngsters 4-2 in an enthralling game at Carrow Road.
Given the senior side's chronic lack of confidence in front of goal, the manner in which Luke Daley helped himself to a hat-trick in front of 7,138 supporters suggests the young striker might be worth at least a place on the bus to Nottingham this weekend.
He has pace to burn. And as he demonstrated with his second strike just before the half-hour mark, he also has composure to match after whipping the ball away from a sluggish Gunners defender, driving into the Arsenal box and coolly finishing at the second attempt after Vito Mannone had half saved his opening effort.
Not that Daley was alone in catching the eye.
The newly-signed Tom Adeyemi barely gave the ball away once on the night and possesses that economy and ease of movement that marks him out from the crowd. He was also every inch an Arsenal-like athlete.
Damon Lathrope was equally effective alongside the 17-year-old as the Canary midfield closed down their illustrious visitors with both passion and precision. And a word, too, for the forgotten man of Carrow Road – Simon Lappin.
One of the last of the so-called 'Plymouth Brethren' to still be at the club following Roeder's ruthless purge of the worst of Peter Grant's signings, the one-time St Mirren favourite shepherded his young charges brilliantly all night from his centre-half berth – and even produced the tackle of the night as he whipped the ball of Armaury Bischoff's toes as the Gunners' looked to double their early lead following Emmanuel Frimpong's fourth-minute deflected opener.
At which stage, events appeared to be taking their expected course. Indeed, when Danny Kelly – fresh from his weekend hat-trick against Charlton – disappeared early with an injury, it was just like watching the first team as Stephenson's hopes of giving Arsene Wenger's young charges a decent game appeared to be busily unravelling.
But all credit to the City youngsters. From the moment that Robert Eagle forced Mannone into a brilliant save just after the 20-minute mark, the home side took charge and produced four unanswered strikes before Bischoff delivered a late consolation deep into second-half injury time.
The first was probably the pick as Eagle delivered a wonderful, hanging cross from the left that Daley calmly volleyed back across the goalkeeper and inside his right upright.
His hat-trick came eight minutes after the re-start with a simple enough finish after Josh Dawkin's initial shot had only been half-saved by the Gunners' keeper.
Their shining light and, for all Daley's heroics, the best player on the pitch was the 16-year-old Jack Wilshire who displayed a touch and a vision wholly beyond his tender years in the heart of that Arsenal midfield.
Credit to both Lathrope and Adeyemi, they did their very best to snap away at the youngster's ankles. But every time he picked up the ball in space, he found an Arsenal player with a positive pass.
The kid's got it.
And you can see exactly why Wenger was heard to suggest that he could yet be strutting his stuff for England in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Given the fuss that everyone's made of late about the need to be an athlete first and foremost, there is a very large dollop of irony to be had in Wilshire's case – he was little bigger than Eagle. And looked about three years younger than every other teenager on that pitch.
If the kid grows into anything approaching six-foot tall, on this evening's evidence he will have the world at his feet.
In the meantime, however, tonight's performance would have given the Norfolk faithful many a reason to cheer as their young Canaries deservedly took the spoils against their famous visitors. And, in the likes of Kris Renton, Kelly and Adeyemi offered players who had the kind of physical frame that you need to compete against a side like Arsenal.
Well, the ten six-footers and Wilshire.
Whether or not, Daley and Co will have done enough to force their way into Roeder's first-team thinking ahead of this Saturday's live TV clash at Forest is another matter. That won't be one for the faint hearts.
What Stephenson and Ricky Martin will now be looking at is an extended run in the FA Youth Cup; on this evidence – and the psychological boost that will inevitably follow – this particular crop of Canary kids could make a real impression in this season's competition.
To beat an Arsenal side so convincingly; a Gunners outfit that featured seven players who were in the Carling Cup squad that defeated Wigan Athletic recently bodes very well, indeed. For this evening's result was no fluke; they got everything they deserved from an excellent team performance.