SIX APPEAL FOR CANARIES!
Norwich’s winning run goes on in style
NORWICH manager Daniel Farke wants his side to embrace their status as Championship front-runners after winning a sixth consecutive league game.
The high-flying Canaries kept their promotion rivals at arm’s length with a ruthless victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Only five points separate the top six as the competition heads into the congested Christmas period, but Farke has told his side to not look back as they aim to return to the Premier League after a two year absence.
“To be at the top with so many points after 18 games is outstanding, but it’s no coincidence,” said the Norwich boss.
“A third of the season is done and we’re in a good position, but we know each and every win is based on hard work.
“We know we can’t lose the ground under our feet and enjoy ourselves too much because every game is so difficult.”
Farke’s men took full advantage of a defensive horror show to go 3-0 up thanks to a Mike van der Hoorn own goal and strikes from Emiliano Buendia and Marco Stiepermann.
Daniel James scored his first league goal to give the home supporters a glimmer of hope before half-time, but that was quickly extinguished by Norwich striker Teemu Pukki.
The visitors arrived at Liberty Stadium to face a Swansea side on their best run of form under Graham Potter, but that was soon to brought to an end.
It took only 18 minutes for Farke’s men to unlock the Swansea defence and stamp their authority on the game.
Stiepermann charged downfield and played a delicate through ball to Pukki.
The Canaries marksman looked like he was ready to unleash a shot on goal but sent a perfectly weighted ball across the front of goal, and the scrambling van der Hoorn stuck out a leg to divert it into his own net.
Swansea were their own worst enemies again six minutes later when Bersant Celina came deep to receive a short goal kick from Erwin Mulder.
The Manchester City academy graduate was quickly robbed of the ball by Buendia, who took his time to pick out the bottom corner to make it 2-0, but the league leaders were not done there.
Their interplay came to the fore again when Pukki used his head to caress the ball back to Buendia, who found Max Aarons in space.
The right-back sent the ball across the face of goal to give Stiepermann a tap-in to all-but secure three points.
The Swansea fans finally had something to shout about five minutes before half-time when Krul spilled a long-range Kyle Naughton effort and then parried Oli McBurnie’s follow-up attempt to Daniel James, who passed the ball into an empty net for his first league goal.
Potter sent Wilfried Bony and Martin Olsson into the action at half-time as Swansea attempted to close the gap to a single goal.
But their introductions could not make up for any defensive frailties as Norwich scored a fourth after 61 minutes.
Onel Hernandez beat Connor Roberts and gave the ball to Pukki, who shot into the bottom corner from eight yards out.
The win puts Norwich on 36 points and keeps them ahead of their promotion rivals going into Tuesday’s trip to Hull City.
Swansea had won three of their last four matches, but pressed the self destruct button to ensure they would not be returning to the play-off places.
“To improve you have to have a bit of suffering and go through setbacks and it’s how we respond as a group and as a team,” said Swans manager Potter. “We will find out about that. There’s no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves, we have a big game and a tough game coming up in midweek.
“It was a tough afternoon. The scoreline makes it an uncomfortable afternoon for us.
“All credit to Norwich, over the course of the game they deserved to win.
“But I think we contributed a little bit more to their performance than we would like.”
PUNCHING HIS WEIGHT: Emi Buendia celebrates scoring
MORE TO COME: Norwich City’s Emi Buendia scores their second
LAST ONE: Norwich’s Teemu Pukki enjoys scoring the fourth