On his 100th appearance for the club, Joelinton bagged his first Premier League brace in a convincing 3-0 win at Carrow Road.
The game was lacking quality in the early stages, with both sides spurning decent early chances, but that soon changed when a thumping strike from the big man sent us on our way to yet another win.
Joelinton added another before the break and it was fellow Brazilian Bruno Guimaraes who rounded off the scoring, lobbing Tim Krul like a seasoned striker to make it four goals in seven starts for our £35m man.
Our fourth win on the spin, our third clean sheet in that time and a victory that sends us up to NINTH in the Premier League, seeing us leapfrog Brighton and Leicester – who only managed a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa in today’s other 3pm kick off.
Howe made four changes for this one, seeing Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock and Jacob Murphy come in for Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron and Chris Wood.
The first half was a scrappy affair lacking in quality for the most part. We had the first chance, which saw Murphy volley wide after being picked out brilliantly by Bruno.
Norwich then created a string of openings after getting in behind our back four a little too easily. Dowell tried and failed to lob Dubravka after catching Targett off guard, then smashed an even better chance way over after Pukki rounded Dubravka and squared.
We were struggling to enjoy sustained spells of possession and Norwich, without playing well, were creating openings.
However, the moment of magic the game had been lacking then arrived on the 35 minute mark as Joelinton smashed a thunderous shot in off the bar after latching onto a Saint-Maximin cut-back that had just evaded Longstaff.
A brilliant hit from the big man and he was at it again just a few minutes before the break. After Guimaraes released Murphy through on goal, the former Canary winger’s shot fell to Joelinton who tapped in from a tight angle to make it 2-0!
Howe made no changes in the second half and it wasn’t long until we made it three. It was an awful error from former Mag Tim Krul, who passed the ball straight to Bruno, however our midfield maestro was typically unflustered and finished exquisitely with a lovely lob. 3-0!
Miggy Almiron then replaced Joelinton on the 67th minute mark, denying the Brazilian of a potential hat-trick, Matt Ritchie came on in Jacob Murphy’s place for his first appearance of 2022 with just over 15 minutes to play and Dwight Gayle also got a short run out, replacing Bruno Guimaraes on the 86 minutes.
In truth, we were in cruise control for the entire second half and could’ve scored more if we’d really wanted to, but it was good to see us see out the win with minimal fuss and bank our third clean sheet in our last four games – highlighting yet another area Eddie Howe has improve massively since he came in.
STARTING 11: Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles (c), Burn, Targett – Guimaraes, S Longstaff, Willock – Murphy, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
SUBS: Darlow, Schar, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Almiron, Gayle, Wood.
Next up, a meeting with Liverpool in next Saturday’s early kick off at St James’ Park!