It was quite the week.
After being lambasted for naivety in the wake of the Liverpool game, City dismantled a lacklustre Newcastle with consummate ease.
With such a young team it would be understandable for one or two players to have felt pressured by the media scrutiny that came following City’s trip to Anfield, but not this team, the swagger with which City play and the refusal to waiver from their philosophy regardless of the opposition is a stubbornness I can get behind. I love it.
In the days leading up to the game, it was clear that Newcastle at Carrow Road presented a favourable opportunity to pick up three points, a chance to unleash Farkeball onto one of the poorer teams in the division.
Mo ‘Metronome’ Leitner was sublime, dictating the game from the middle of the park and in the process out passing the entirety of Newcastle’s midfield with a total of 93 passes with a pass accuracy of 90.3%. No Premier League player has completed more passes during a game this season.
Mo also regained possession 11 times, winning 100% of his tackles and, to top it off, completed 100% of his dribbles, Newcastle couldn’t deal with him.
Todd Cantwell has enjoyed a trailblazing start to the season. The Norfolk boy waltzed through Newcastle’s midfield and then defence time after time, he was unlucky not to grab himself a goal, but registered a brace of assists and subsequently finds himself the joint top ‘assister’ in the Premier League.
This is a young man who clearly understands the significance of that number 14 shirt.
Despite the team’s overall brilliance, Teemu Pukki rightly took the headlines, scoring an emphatic hattrick to emphasise his arrival in the Premier League. That’s four in two games for the Finn – the first goal can only be described as a Tettey-esque thunder b*stard, the second was vintage Pukki, slipping it through the legs of the defender, and the third a delightful tuck under the keeper with his left foot, he makes it look so easy.
The game has been thoroughly dissected across the various platforms and so, as much as I enjoy it, I won’t spend any more time gloating in Norwich’s brilliance. Instead I think it would be pertinent to discuss how we manage the expectations of this City team, and ask where do we go from here?
The opening fortnight of the season has seen them face up against one of the title challengers and current European champions, Liverpool, and one of the relegation candidates, in Newcastle, who look every bit a Championship team. There are plenty of teams in between and City have so far been exposed to the two extremes of the Premier League spectrum.
The first target will of course be the magical 40 points, which in recent years has become more like 36 points. Securing Premier League football next season must be our priority here, and the sooner the better.
After that we can start to decipher where we fit into the Premier League table, but after watching City cut through Newcastle like a knife through butter, you do wonder how many Premier League teams will fall victim to Farkeball.
Palace, Watford, West Ham, Villa, Southampton have all looked beatable during the opening exchanges and you could say the same of Norwich’s next opponents.
The Chelsea game is an interesting one. The Blues are, of course, the last team to win the Premier League before Manchester City’s current period of dominance but find themselves having lost talisman Eden Hazard and are unable to replace him, or improve the team generally, because of their transfer embargo.
Since the departure of Sarri, the Blues have appointed fan favourite, Frank Lampard. Being under a transfer embargo you can see why opting for a vehement Chelsea man to lead the team would buy you time with the supporters and if anything is to come of them this season, Lampard is going to have to utilise the abundantly large crop of youngsters that have been loaned out during previous seasons.
However, that being said, Lampard’s Derby team were one of the few sides Norwich failed to beat last season, albeit with the help of the Carrow Road floodlights.
Chelsea have had a poor start to the season, opening their campaign with a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Manchester United and failing to beat Leicester City at home, so make no mistake, they are desperate for a win.
The Blues offer a far greater threat than Newcastle and come the final whistle on Saturday I think we will have a greater incite as to how far up the league this Norwich City team can go and what kind of scalps they can achieve along the way.
Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, one thing is certain, Norwich will look to implement their own game onto Chelsea, as they will in every game this season, Daniel Farke has made that abundantly clear.
For me, this is the best thing about being a Norwich fan at this moment: you can turn up to Carrow Road or travel to away games, safe in the knowledge that City are going to try and implement their own style and go for the win.