Norwich have finally kept their first clean sheet of the season with a gritty performance against Chelsea and it helped them to a fantastic point in a fantastic season. In my opinion Norwich have been the surprise package in the Premier League and this is down to their team spirit and hard work. They are essentially a team built of ambitious Championship and League 1 players with another in Jonny Howson close to joining the club from Leeds.
Looking at the team they were rightly favourites for relegation but the bubble still hasn’t burst from two consecutive promotions. Paul Lambert deserves great credit for bringing this team together and making sure everyone single player knows their job before they even step foot on the pitch. But if he wants to improve the team it surely has to be in the defence although the team performed superbly against Chelsea they have at times looked awful when defending.
In attack, they have two players who will battle for every ball and chase down every lost cause. It must be a nightmare to play against Steve Morison and Grant Holt because they do not give defenders a moments rest and when they come off the pitch they will probably discover a few bumps and bruises. This is not to say they are dirty players because they are clearly just very honest and committed professionals who will do anything to secure three points. They are both very good in the air and when the team is under pressure they know they can send the ball slightly longer as these two will have a good chance of relieving the pressure off the defence and make the ball stick up front.
Which allows the midfield to push forward and create chances and in Anthony Pilkington they have someone who can pick a pass or deliver an inch perfect cross with his left foot. He has also chipped in with a few goals this year which is a bonus but he also always provides plenty of cover for his full back when the team is defending. In the centre of midfield they have Bradley Johnson who has been linked with a call up to the England squad and although this is unlikely, he has deserved his praise this season. Alongside him against Chelsea was David Fox who does the simple things brilliantly and just keeps the game ticking over and very rarely gives the ball away. He just sits in front of the back four and doesn’t mind getting the ball even when he is under pressure, he doesn’t put in many tackles so he is similar to Michael Carrick in that respect.
The defence can be shaky but in Kyle Naughton they have a very good full back and was probably going to have a good career at Tottenham until Kyle Walker came along this season. But the rest of the defence could do with improving although Russell Martin deserves a special mention as he has performed admirably at both centre back and right back.
John Ruddy in goal has also been linked with an England call up and was given man of the match against Chelsea as he produced a few good saves in particular a brilliant save from a Fernando Torres effort.
Paul Lambert in my opinion deserves manager of the year and Norwich deserve all the plaudits coming their way. However, Blackpool were in a similar position last year and they ended up getting relegated so maybe it is too early for Norwich fans to be celebrating. They have enough togetherness in the squad to stay up but this is when promoted teams get found out and teams work out how to beat them. Norwich need to get to 40 points as quickly as possible and this point against Chelsea could be priceless come the end of the season.