We are finally playing like Champions again. It’s only taken until March, but we have finally begun to consistently win games. Incredibly this is the first time we have won consecutive away league games all season, and there should be a few more to come. I know it was only Norwich, but we have lost so many games to teams on that level this season I was getting used to it.
I’m glad that Guus Hiddink has realised that he does have good enough young players to deploy from the start, and I don’t mind him doing it in the league given that he has set his sights on winning the FA Cup. Kenedy has showed in his limited performances so far that he is an incredibly talented player who should go on to have a big future in the game, but I don’t think that left back is a long term position for him, as I think he just isn’t a good enough defender. Going forward though, I think he is as good as anyone his age in the Premier League at the moment. Bertrand Traore has earned his starting spot in the league as well, given his impressive performances from the bench so far this season. This was his first start in the league, and I hope the first of many.
Given all that I have said about the youngsters, I was delighted to see one of them stick the ball in the net. I didn’t quite expect it to come so early however, but it took just 39 seconds for Kenedy to show what he is capable of. He did well to work himself some space on the edge of the area, and it was an excellent strike. I honestly think that he could have been used a lot more this season, certainly ahead of Eden Hazard given the Belgian’s shocking performances at times this season.
The first half seemed to be a bit of an exhibition for Cesc Fabregas after that, and the Spaniard simply dominated the game from midfield. This isn’t the first time that this has happened in recent weeks, and shows that the Spaniard is back to his best. He played no role in the second goal just before half time however, and it was a clever ball from the other youngster, Traore, to put in Costa who finished smartly. It was clearly offside, but he still had a lot of work to do and it was a nice little lob over John Ruddy.
In the second half we should really have gone for the kill and grabbed a couple more goals, but we just seemed happy to sit back and let Norwich come on to us. They were a lot better in the second half and seemed to come out with a little bit more fighting spirit. This made Nathan Redmond’s goal even more inevitable, and although he expertly stuck it past Thibaut Courtois, it was way too easy for him to make his way in behind the defence. In the end we held out pretty well in the last twenty minutes, and Courtois made a couple of good saves.
I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the Alexandre Pato situation. When you sign somebody of his age on loan in the January transfer window, you are signing someone who you expect to make an instant impact and play regular first team football. It is now March, and he still hasn’t played a minute of football. I don’t care that he’s not fully match fit. If he isn’t fully match fit, we shouldn’t have signed him.
Anyhow, it was a decent enough performance and we deserved the three points. It does move us into the top half of the table for the first time since the first week of last season, but we are still only eight points away from the Champions League places. I’m not saying anything, but stranger things have happened. They have, Leicester are top of the Premier League.