Norwich City continue to cruise towards promotion back to the Premier League as Kieran Dowell impresses in place of Emi Buendia
The ease at which Norwich City are handling this promotion race – if you can even call it that – is nothing short of extraordinary.
Wednesday night’s 2-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest set a new club record of nine consecutive wins – an almighty feat at any time, let alone at the business end of a frantic season.
More significantly, it restored the 10-point gap to second-placed Watford with only nine matches still to play.
On the face of it, the victory at the City Ground – against a goal-shy Forest side languishing at the wrong end of the table – was routine. Early strikes from Teemu Pukki and Kieran Dowell handed City full control of proceedings – a position that never looked under threat at any stage.
But make no mistake, it was an important night for Daniel Farke’s side, who showed they can still produce the goods in the absence of their talismanic Argentine maestro.
As we all know, City’s record without Emi Buendia is hardly something to write home about. This season, for example, had yielded just one win from the six games he had missed (the 1-0 success at Huddersfield on the opening day).
With that in mind, Buendia’s omission from Wednesday night’s team sheet, following the birth of his second child, was a legitimate cause for concern.
But those fears were soon dispelled thanks to a devastating first-half display. At the heart of it was Dowell – the man brought in to replace Buendia on the right-hand side.
It’s been a frustrating debut year for the 23-year-old at Carrow Road, with injuries limiting his opportunities to impress, particularly in recent months.
Despite this, I’m confident Dowell will prove to be another success story. He is a player of immense quality with an elegance and poise on the ball that matches perfectly with the philosophy created under Farke.
But in the here and now, he will be desperate for more game time as City stride towards Championship glory.