You really know things are going well for Norwich City when they win an FA Cup game. Not only are they sitting in a lofty 9th position in the Premier League table, but the Canaries are also through to the Fourth Round of England’s leading domestic cup competition after a crushing 4-1 defeat of Championship outfit Burnley.
This was only their third FA Cup third round win from their previous 15 attempts, and it couldn’t have been any more straight-forward. Paul Lambert’s reward for his sides convincing win is a tricky tie away to West Brom, who sit only three points behind the East Anglian side in the table. However, if Norwich field a similar side and play with the intensity and purpose that they did at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon, then they have every chance of progressing even further in the cup.
City struggled against Burnley in the Championship last season, suffering a disappointing home draw then found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat at the turn of the year at Turf Moor. Despite their success in that division during last year’s campaign, this is a completely different side now, and their Premier League quality shone through against Eddie Howe’s men. The Lancashire side couldn’t handle their slick passing and constant movement, with Wes Hoolahan at the heart of every Norwich move, whilst on-loan Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala put another strong performance in at the centre of defence.
In fact, all four of the Canaries’ goalscorers were Championship players last season – Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson, Andrew Surman and Steve Morison. It was Holt who provided the lead as soon as the 6th minute, heading in after Hoolahan’s expertly delivered cross. Another header extended their lead only six minutes later, as Holt’s strike partner Jackson got his name on the scoresheet nodding in from Adam Drury’s cross. Burnley quickly replied and threatened a comeback of sorts, as home-town boy Jay Rodriquez scored an impressive looping effort.
It appeared the game would be as good as over when Norwich were awarded a penalty after a handball in the box from Charlie Austin. The decision seemed overly harsh, and justice was served when Holt uncharacteristically failed to hit the target. But on the hour mark, Norwich put the game to bed when Surman kept his cool to slot home after good build-up play from the hosts. Ex-Millwall frontman Morison put the icing on the cake when he came off the bench to slot in an easy fourth.