Norwich City extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 games after a deserved win against struggling Wigan Athletic.
Prior to kick off it was announced that Norwich’s play maker Wes Hoolahan had signed a new and improved contract keeping him at the Norfolk club until 2015. It proved to be Hoolahan’s day as his display was paramount to a City victory and continues to raise eyebrows in the top league.
Norwich were out of the blocks early and dominated possession with Hoolahan constantly looking to get the ball and create something, he linked up well with Alex Tettey throughout the game as a vital Norwich attacking threat. It was Hoolahan who created the chance for the opening goal on the 15 minute mark, his trickery in midfield got the better of him and Emerson Boyce got the ball but Hoolahan jostled and won the ball back before passing a delicate through ball to Anthony Pilkington who hit a rasping shot past Al-Habsi in goal.
Norwich remained the better side in the first half, Wigan had possession but were not ablt to break Norwich down at all. City should have been 2-0 up after a lovely cross from left back Javier Garrido found the head of Robert Snodgrass, it was goalbound until a reflex save from Al-Habsi kept the away team in the game. Pilkington again went close before the break but his shot was just wide.
Roberto Martinez, clearly unhappy with his side’s first half performance replaced injured James McArthy for David Jones and the rather ineffective Jordi Gomez was replaced by Shaun Maloney. Wigan came out of the blocks fastest in the second half and City were on the backfoot, James McArthur found Arouna Kone out wide and he was able to skip past two Norwich challenges before rolling the ball in front of Maloney for him to hit a thunderblot past Mark Bunn. Wigan started to look much better but it was not for long, Norwich again gained the upper hand and Anthony Pilkington turned Emerson Boyce inside out on the wing before crossing a good ball for Wes Hoolahan to head past a watching Al-Habsi. Hoolahan deserved the goal for his recent performances and his dominating display today, once Norwich were back on top they never looked back, Al-Habsi again was Wigan’s savior with a wonder save from a Pilkington drive. Wigan did have a chance late on with Arouna Kone going through on goal only for Sebastien Bassong to block his effort.
Norwich were the dominating force throughout the game with Wes Hoolahan the clear stand out player, Chris Houghton will be glad he has put pen to paper on a new deal as he could have gone for free in the summer. City now sit 7th in the Premier League only two points behind a top 4 place. Norwich have a very tough festive period, facing West Brom away on Saturday, then Chelsea on boxing day and Manchester City three days later, this three points could become vital.