Norwich City defeated Sunderland by a score of 2-1 at Carrow Road on Monday. The Black Cats fell behind by two goals before scoring late to worry Norwich. Steve Bruce will certainly feel the pressure now after an inconsistent string of results.
Anthony Pilkington and Elliot Bennett were excellent on the wings for Norwich. Bennett played a one-two pass with David Fox before crossing the ball to Leon Barnett for the first goal. Pilkington, who signed from Huddersfield Town in the summer, provided a tasty cross to Steve Morrison’s head for the Canaries’ second of the night.
Norwich gained confidence after they went up by two, and they really took the game to Sunderland. The passing was quick and the movement was good. Paul Lambert has done a brilliant job bringing in lower division players to contribute in the Premier League.
Sunderland got one back in the 86th minute. After a string of crisp play, Kieran Richardson fired a low strike into the far corner to give the Black Cats a sliver of hope. It was a fantastic finish from Richardson, but Sunderland failed to get the equalizer.
Sunderland are one of the most inconsistent teams in the Premiership. We saw this last season, but the plethora of new signings brought hope to the Sunderland supporters. After a 4-0 victory over a strong Stoke City squad, the Black Cats looked to be headed in the right direction.
Unfortunately for Steve Bruce, they could not continue in that direction on Monday. Sunderland continue to lack that “cutting edge.” Nicklas Bendtner (on loan from Arsenal) and Stephane Sessegnon were the two furthest forward players. Bendtner was probably the best Sunderland player in this match. He showed good technique on two of his chances. The first was a volley that was saved, and the other was a chip after a terrible mistake from the Canaries’ back four. John Ruddy ended up making a fantastic save on the chip. Sessegnon provided nothing except for a few wildly high shots from distance.
Steve Bruce desperately needs another frontman to compliment Bendtner. Asamoah Gyan would have been the perfect partner, but he is now out of the picture. Maybe Bruce needs to give Connor Wickham a chance. The 18-year old came on late in the match and looked much more dangerous than Sessegnon.
Two of the new signings failed to perform on Monday. I did not hear Sebastian Larsson’s name mentioned until he was taken out of the game. Craig Gardener was a bit more involved; he sailed a few attempts over the bar.
With the amount of cash spent in the summer, Steve Bruce will need to get results to keep his job. Sunderland sit at 14th in the table with five points. Despite leading the Black Cats to a 10th place finish last year, Bruce will need his squad to pick up the pace.
Norwich City have moved to 9th in the table after their victory. The Canaries will go to Old Trafford on Saturday with two straight wins behind them.