Norwich City got their season off the mark with a credible 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic countary to what may have been reported in the media, Norwich gave as good as they got and fully deserved the result. The club has been amongst the busiest in the transfer market, up to now this summer. Seven deals had been announced, prior to the club playing Wigan and the deal to bring Daniel Ayala to the club from Liverpool was effectively announced, after the Wigan game.
Upon the end of last season, Paul Lambert’s initial focus seemed to be on attacking reinforcements. The signings of two strikers and two wingers really illustrated the point. However, at this point supporters were getting concerned that Norwich would simply not be good enough at the back. After all Norwich City did concede, 58 goals in the Championship last season – not exactly one of the best records.
Fortunately, though, Paul Lambert didn’t completely ignore his defence, going into new season. The signings of Ritchie De Laet and Kyle Naughton were both acquired on loan from Premier League clubs. However, the lingering doubts remained, that if Norwich City is to have a downfall this season then it will be at the back.
Therefore, the deal to bring Daniel Ayala could prove to be a vital bit of business as Norwich look to have all the flair of Blackpool, but with far greater stability. The national media enjoy going on about Norwich’s lack of Premier League experience, however, Ayala along with Naughton and De Laet are all players that have come in from big Premier League clubs. So, even though they have only played a handful of Premier League games between them they will have learnt a great deal about what is required to survive in this league. They are also relatively low risk signings, because someone somewhere decided they were good enough to play Premier League football otherwise they would have never signed for these clubs in the first place.
Ayala, meanwhile, is very much a Paul Lambert signing. At 20 he is certainly young, and after being sold by Liverpool, he will be out to prove that he is indeed good enough to play Premier League football, especially given that without Norwich, he would probably be heading to the Championship.
It remains to be seen, where Ayala will fit in exactly, however, given the speed of the transfer, this may suggest that he has seen as a first-team regular, rather than a benchwarmer. The Spaniard has a physical presence to him and he may be ideally suited to face a team like Stoke on Saturday. Kyle Naughton is also surely too good to stay on the bench for long. Therefore, Norwich’s defence of last season looks set to be transformed. But this may be a necessary step, if Norwich wants the defensive stability to stay in the Premier League.
Playing pretty football is certainly nice to see, but it doesn’t necessarily get you very far in the Premier League. The same could of said of keeping possession, to some degree. QPR had their moments against Bolton and Swansea, at times, dominating possession against Manchester City but both sides lost a game 4-0.
Norwich, certainly have some good players going forward, but to truly compete in this league, they also have to be solid. Time will tell if the club can sustain Premier League football or not, but if they do maintain their status, the signing of Ayala could play a big part. There is something to be said for a team that has the belief that they can score against anyone, as Norwich are likely to prove this season. But if they can also have the belief that they can keep any team out, well, then they could be well on their way to becoming a very successful side.