Norwich’s confidence will be massively boosted for the coming weeks as they recorded their first league win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from new signings Anthony Pilkington and Bradley Johnson sealed the three points as the much changed away side battled hard to please the travelling numbers. Post match, manager Paul Lambert praised his players efforts, saying he was proud to see his players get the victory he felt they deserved. Worryingly however, another goal was conceded via a penalty, the fourth that the newly promoted side have given away this year, and an injury to Wes Hoolahan marred an otherwise excellent day for the Canaries. Surprisingly, talismanic Grant Holt was left out of the side, but Lambert has been praised for his bravery in making what he called a ‘tough decision’.
Holt had scored one goal thus far this season, and was top scorer for the club last season helping to fire them to promotion, but Lambert made the big call to leave the strong striker out of his starting eleven and it did pay dividends, the most high profile of his six changes. Lambert does have strength in depth and showed that he may rotate his starting eleven which will obviously keep the opposition guessing throughout the season, and this may have been a problem for Bolton who came unstuck on Saturday.
Looking forward to the next fixture, Norwich face Sunderland on Monday, another team whose confidence will be sky high after recording an emphatic first win on Sunday at the Stadium of Light versus Stoke City. The likelihood is that Lambert will shuffle the pack again, with so many options available to him and many players in form and fighting for a first team place, there are only five or six players seemingly guaranteed a first team start at the moment, with others competing closely to start. It is likely that Lambert will try to take the game to Sunderland with this fixture being at Carrow Road, and so will possibly start with both Morison and Holt, with Vaughan waiting in the wings. Bennet and Pilkington are also likely to start after both impressed in the Bolton match.
Canaries fans can be quite happy with their start. Averaging a point a game after their first five fixtures, that ratio would probably see the Norfolk club safe should they keep that form throughout the season, and they can view the league table with pride in seeing their team sit above Arsenal after a slightly tentative start to the season, but will be high in confidence and morale when facing Sunderland on Monday, keen to pick up their first three points of the season.
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