Norwich 1-0 Barnsley: Daniel Farke's side stay top of the Championship
Norwich 1-0 Barnsley: Daniel Farke’s side stay top of the Championship as Arsenal target Emiliano Buendia scores the only goal of the game
- Norwich City saw off play-off chasing Barnsley in a tight game at Carrow Road
- Emi Buendia scored his seventh goal of the season from Kenny McLean’s pass
- The victory leaves Norwich in first place in table, four points clear of Swansea
How Norwich must dread the opening of another transfer window.
Last summer, it was Max Aarons attracting interest from European football’s heavyweights. This time around it could well be Emiliano Buendia.
The Argentine playmaker has been linked with Arsenal this week and after his stunning winner here it isn’t difficult to see why. Arsenal fans had his name trending on Twitter after this, many saying they’d prefer him to Julian Brandt.
Norwich attacking midfielder Emi Buendia scored the only goal of the game against Barnsley
The diminutive 24-year-old, who has been linked to Arsenal this week, celebrates his goal
Buendia celebrates his 62nd minute goal against Barnsley with his Norwich team-mates
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Max Aarons, Grant Hanley (c), Ben Gibson, Jacob Sorensen; Oliver Skipp, Kenny McLean; Emi Buendia (Alex Tettey 87), Mario Vrancic (Kieran Dowell 77), Todd Cantwell (Przemyslaw Placheta 90+3); Teemu Pukki (Jordan Hugill 90+2).
Substitutes not used: Daniel Barden (GK); Christoph Zimmermann, Xavier Quintilla, Josh Martin, Tyrese Omotoye.
Manager: Daniel Farke
Goals: Buendia 62.
Barnsley (3-4-3): Jack Walton; Michael Sollbauer (c), Michal Helik, Mads Andersen; Callum Brittain, Matty James (Romal Palmer 63), Herbie Kane, Callum Styles; Dominik Frieser (Victor Adeboyejo 63), Cauley Woodrow, Luke Thomas (Patrick Schmidt 75).
Substitutes not used: Henry Kendrick (GK); Isaac Christie-Davies, Clarke Oduor, Jasper Moon.
Manager: Valerien Ismael
Referee: Michael Salisbury
That’s because Buendia pulled off one of the hardest skills in football – a first-time volley meeting a floated ball over the top while on the run – as though it is the easiest thing in the world.
It was precisely the kind of silky intervention Norwich needed to kill off Barnsley’s impressive resistance.
The goal also salvaged the festive fixture list for the Championship leaders after they’d lost to Watford on Boxing Day and then been held at home by QPR three nights later. Four points from nine sounds so much better than two from nine.
The win also keeps Daniel Farke’s side four points clear of Swansea at the summit and six ahead of Brentford, who had the afternoon off.
But Barnsley made them grind it out. The in-form Yorkshire side matched City in the first-half before fading in the second but had Luke Thomas scored instead of hitting the crossbar early on, it could easily have been different.
And they almost pinched a point in the dying embers of stoppage time when Michael Helik sliced wide with the goal at his mercy.
Farke is good friends with Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael, having completed coaching badges together in Germany, and he offered advice about the Championship and its demands before Ismael accepted the Oakwell job in October.
Ismael obviously listened because Barnsley could well be dark horses for the top six if they keep playing as they have done. And let’s not forget they were without four regulars here because of two positive Covid tests and two needing to self-isolate.
‘We can make our lives easier but I am delighted with the win, three points and a clean sheet,’ Farke said. ‘Momentum can change quite quickly and after two games without a win, we could have been nervous.
‘But we dominated the game from the first to the last second and created an unbelievable amount of chances.
‘Emi’s goal was a top class finish with great technique. He is our player and he will still be our player.’
Ben Gibson of Norwich City (34) and Luke Thomas of Barnsley (16) challenge for the ball
Barnsley started the brighter and should have led when Cauley Woodrow’s shot deflected through to Thomas who struck the bar with Tim Krul well and truly beaten.
It took Norwich 20 minutes to find their flow with Mario Vrancic playing the ideal through ball for Teemu Pukki, who would have scored his 12th of the season but for Callum Brittain’s excellent goalline clearance.
The leaders were improved after half-time with Pukki denied by the feet of Barnsley keeper Jack Walton after Todd Cantwell played him in. Jacob Sorensen then tested Walton at his near post.
Daniel Farke (left) saw his side maintain their four-point lead at the top of the Championship
But the moment of magic wasn’t far away. Kenny McLean floated a searching pass forward and Buendia ready the trajectory perfectly to strike the ball cleanly first time as it dropped, across Walton and into the far corner.
Cantwell had a great chance to settle it but couldn’t connect with Pukki’s cross late on and they were counting blessings when Helik skewed Callum Styles’ cross wide.
‘We have to be more clinical in such a game. You won’t get five or 10 chances against the top teams, you receive two or three,’ said Ismael. ‘We missed the last per cent.’
Norwich have not lost to Barnsley in the league for 16 games, going back to December 2016
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