Last season we were “top of the table” just before the midpoint of the season and we all know how that turned out. I’m happy, but cautious. But this squad looks really good!
Scoring four goals for a remarkable third consecutive game has kept Norwich City flying high at the top of the Championship table, thanks to a superb display at Swansea sealing a sixth win on the spin.
The Canaries shook off a slow start to tear the hosts apart with their attacking play, roaring into a 3-0 lead, only for a Tim Krul error to give the Swans hope before the break.
However, top scorer Teemu Pukki wrapped up the three points thanks to some typical close control and predatory finishing 15 minutes into the second half to settle any nerves for around 800 travelling fans completing the longest trip of the season.
It takes City to seven league games unbeaten away from home under Daniel Farke for the first time and is the longest unbeaten away run in the league since 14-game streak under Alex Neil in 2015.
It was also a remarkable 10th win in 12 Championship matches, to keep the Canaries flying high in top spot after 18 games of the campaign, three points clear of Leeds ahead of Middlesbrough’s game at Brentford in the day’s late kick-off.
Pukki forced the opener after being played into the right channel by Marco Stiepermann, crossing low with Onel Hernandez waiting to finish at the back post, only for Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn to turn past his own keeper on the stretch in the 16th minute.
It should have been 2-0 straight after but Moritz Leitner fired over after fine play on the right from Emi Buendia.
The second did arrive in the 24th minute though, with home keeper Erwin Mulder playing a short goal-kick which Bersant Celina made a miss of, to be robbed by Buendia, who fired past the exposed keeper from 12 yards.
Buendia also had a deflected shot saved before it was 3-0, with the Argentine youngster winning a header centrally, Pukki spreading right to Max Aarons and the full-back’s low cross being turned in at the back post by Marco Stiepermann.
That should have been game over for the league leaders but former Canaries loanee Kyle Naughton thrashed a low shot goalwards after a cleared corner and Krul spilled, initially denying Oli McBurnie bravely but being unable to stop Daniel James from pulling a goal back in the 41st minute.
Swansea boss Graham Potter made two big-name changes at the break, taking off midfielders Leroy Fer and Jay Fulton to bring in former Canaries left-back Martin Olsson and former £28m Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony, back recently from a long-term knee injury.
The changes did bring a response but Bony and Joe Rodon both headed teamely wide from corners.
Those signs of life were extinguished on the hour though when City’s top scorer Pukki scored his 10th league goal of the season, after Hernandez had tied Connor Roberts in knots and picked out the Finn, who took a touch and prodded home from close range for 4-1.
Buendia had a powerful low shot saved by Mulder after a Leitner corner in the 70th minute, as Todd Cantwell and Mario Vrancic were introduced as substitutes with Farke doing his best to manage the final stages.
Krul did redeem himself with a low save from McBurnie with four minutes remaining, before Jordan Rhodes replaced Leitner in the closing stages as Swansea accepted their fate.
The Canaries fly straight back to Norfolk this evening ahead of another away trip on Tuesday night, taking on lowly Hull City.
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis; Tettey (C), Leitner (Rhodes 89); Buendia (Vrancic 85), Stiepermann, Hernandez (Cantwell 77); Pukki. Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Godfrey, Marshall, Trybull
Booked: Aarons (foul on James, 56), Lewis (foul on James, 73)
Goals: van der Hoorn OG (16), Buendia (24), Stiepermann (37), Pukki (60)
Swansea: Mulder; Naughton, van der Hoorn, Rodon, Grimes; Fulton (Bony 46), Fer (C – Olsson 46); Roberts, Celina (McKay 68), James; McBurnie. Unused subs: Nordfeldt (GK), Carter-Vickers, Asoro, John
Goals: James (41)
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
Attendance: 18,780 (estimated 800 away)