Norwich City made the trip to South Wales to face Cardiff City in the season opener. Dean Smith went with a very strong starting 11 and it was what we all probably expected but one player that I will be watching with keen interest during this match will be Todd Cantwell he will be looking to prove all of the doubters wrong all Norwich fans will say we did not see the best of Todd at all last year but it seems over the summer Dean Smith has been able to put an arm around him and try and give him the confidence back. You could see throughout preseason the signs of the old Todd coming back.
Cardiff came into this game wanting to get the three points and one player that stood out for me is Callum O’Dowda who offers a very attacking threat this afternoon. Norwich would need to make sure that they do not give him any opportunities to shoot as he seems to be the one that is a threat.
Norwich City's season had begun, they have shown what we know they can do with regards to keeping the ball and making runs down the wings but also what is evident to see is Norwich have gone back to trying to feed those balls along the floor behind the back four.
But as the first half went on Cardiff played their game constantly trying to play balls through the middle of the pitch but the player that stood out for me was James Collins, he was constantly stopping the Norwich attack and also then getting forward in attack.
Norwich went into the 2nd half needing to improve drastically and perhaps try and get the ball through to Pukki along the floor as he has shown that he is dangerous when he gets in behind the defence but the closest chance came for Todd Cantwell who curled an effort from just outside of the box and forced a good save out of Ryan Allsop to keep the score 0-0.
Cardiff started to attack and with a lot of neat little passes through and they dribble around Max Aarons and lays off to Romain Sawyers who shoots from just outside of the box and it went straight into the bottom corner past Tim Krul to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up.
But one constant thing is those Canaries fans that made the trip to South Wales despite the game being extremely poor by the standards the fans have been getting behind their team and it can be heard on the coverage.
Just as I said this, Norwich had a corner which is taken by Todd Cantwell put into the box and Kenny Mclean hits it on the volley and it came within millimetres of it going into the back of the net but it didn’t which kept the score at 1-0.
A match which had been disrupted by constant fouls, mainly from the home side, boiled over just after this as Cardiff City captain Joe Ralls dragged Temmu Pukki down. The Finn was about to get away on the counterattack with Sargent one side and Cantwell the other but it ended up creating a melee in the middle of the pitch. Hanley and NG squared up to one another while Andy Omobamidele came in and shoved the Cardiff midfielder as the game slowly started to go past boiling point.
The two players involved in that incident would both be sent off in the match as both NG and Hanley went onto receive another yellow card each. NG’s came when he took down Milot Rashica on the halfway line in the 73rd minute but City only had the man advantage for twelve minutes. Hanley dove into a challenge on Harris which came in an act of pure frustration but resulted in him being the second player to depart of the game.
City got forward well on occasions mainly due the wings but struggled to create any clear-cut chances as Cardiff dropped deeper and deeper to defend their one goal lead. They were able to see the match out as the bluebirds secured their first three points of the season.
Norwich had controlled the match for large spells, however, had struggled to create anything in the final third but Dean Smith’s side will come away from the match feeling a little bit hard done to not be walking out with at least a point.
Norwich City will host their first match at Carrow Road of the season against Wigan next Saturday lunchtime while Cardiff City face a trip to the Select Car Leasing Stadium to face Reading.