Canaries begin 2018 on run of good form
Daniel Farke’s bumpy inaugural tenure at Norwich City certainly hasn’t been without hiccups. But based on current form — if you’re into that sort of thing — the Canaries have looked the part lately under the first-year manager.
The historic English club’s youthful attack has gotten healthier and rounded into form in recent weeks, while the defense has remained stout.
With seven points accumulated over its previous three matches, two of which were away from home, the Canaries are finding their stride in the wintertime. Norwich isn’t flirting with promotion, but relegation is rapidly appearing more distant in the rearview mirror. The club currently sits 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
A 2-nil road triumph at Birmingham City began the run of good form, followed by a shared point at Burton Albion. The Canaries then snagged three more points in a return to Carrow Road on Monday against Millwall.
“It was a brilliant start to the New Year,” Farke told the team’s website. “We had four points out of the two away games, and I spoke to the lads before the game and said winning this home game would make it a really decent run. And now we can look up the table a bit more, because we’ve improved our distance to the teams below us.”
It’s likely not a coincidence that Norwich’s three-match unbeaten streak has coincided with midfielder Alex Pritchard’s return to full fitness and form following a lengthy spell from a nasty ankle injury that required surgery. And the continual development of central attacking midfielder James Maddison has further awoken the Canaries from a midseason slumber. The 21-year-old maestro has emerged as a dynamic No. 10, creating chances for others while often finding the scoresheet himself.
A healthy Pritchard and blossoming Maddison seem to have quite a solid rapport.
“They both can make a difference, and when they’re both together it’s really complicated for the opponents to stop us,” Farke added. “When they’re both on the pitch our game is on a higher level. I’m not worried if they attract interest because it means they’re playing well. I’m thankful I’m able to work with these two boys, but also with all of the lads.”
Maddison tallied and assisted in the Canaries’ takedown of Millwall, with his goal having been served up by Pritchard. And in the Birmingham City victory, Pritchard notched a goal on an assist from Maddison before connecting with winger Josh Murphy to record an assist of his own.
The Norwich defense, meanwhile, has only conceded 31 times in 26 matches. Angus Gunn has impressed in net, while a steady rotation of central defensive midfielders and defenders in a 4-2-3-1 have helped shield things in front of him.
With a deep pool of talented midfielders and the offense finally clicking, the Canaries may prove a difficult out for EFL Championship contenders down the stretch.
The side’s next league test is a Jan. 13 away date at Bristol City, where Norwich will hope to schlep its fine form.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KJboxing.
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