Football Features

Lewis makes a mark: The winners and losers from Norwich City 1-0 Leicester City

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:18, 28 February 2020

Norwich City believe they can stave off relegation from the Premier League after running out 1-0 winners against Leicester City.

Daniel Farke’s men, sitting rock bottom of the championship table, headed into matchday 28 being seven points adrift from safety.

A game that looked to be heading towards a stalemate was decided in spectacular fashion by Canaries left-back Jamal Lewis, who couldn’t have scored a better debut league goal. Aside from giving his team a lift, Lewis’ contribution heaps further misery on a struggling Foxes side.

They are still in the Champions League places, but Leicester couldn’t have picked a worse time to start dropping points.

Naturally, there were individual winners and losers. Here are tonight’s.

Winner: Jamal Lewis

An 82-game drought ended this evening when Lewis registered only his second professional goal with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. The left-back, who has struggled to hold down a spot in Daniel Farke’s first-team this season, produced a moment to savour when a well-struck bending effort raced past Kasper Schmeichel.

Lewis’ effort was significant for another reason. Up until that moment, you had to go back to New Year’s Day – against Crystal Palace – for Norwich’s last goal scored in open play, Todd Cantwell striking in a 1-1 draw. Between that effort and today’s is a gap of 696 minutes. For a club that has been struggling, it would feel like a lifetime ago.

Loser: Kelechi Iheanacho

As he’s previously done this season, Kelechi Iheanacho came in for the missing Jamie Vardy with Leicester’s goalscoring burden falling on his shoulders. Having last scored a Premier League goal in December, this was going to go one of two ways. Unluckily for Brendan Rodgers, and the former Manchester City youngster himself, it was Iheanacho’s seventh consecutive appearance without scoring, but not for the want of trying.

A close-range effort just before the half-time break went over Tim Krul’s goal and minutes into the second half, VAR would disallow an effort after having spotted a handball in the build-up. Even though Vardy has been struggling for goals himself, chances are the moment Leicester’s leading marksman returns from this latest niggle, he’s straight back in their starting XI. Iheanacho cannot afford to be firing blanks.

Winner: Tim Krul

It’s been a tough season for Tim Krul, who prior to this game had shipped in 44 goals across 25 league outings, the Premier League’s leakiest defence this season. Of his four previous clean sheets just one had come at Carrow Road, a 1-0 win over against Bournemouth last month, this latest shutout would be equally cherished, even if Norwich’s fate is now beyond their control.

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Loser: Brendan Rodgers

For a while, it felt as if Leiciester were going to once again gatecrash the Premier League top two. Liverpool’s unstoppable form eliminated any chance of another unexpected championship, but they’ve hit a wall now. For some observers this was always coming, as the Foxes were punching above their weight and would soon come down. But no one expected it to be with this big of a splash, they’ve now failed to win five consecutive matches in all competitions under Rodgers, something that has never happened before.

For now they remain in third place, but six points ahead of Chelsea who have a game in hand. It would seem they’ve done enough to secure a Champions League berth if they’re able to rediscover that early season form but two goals in four league goals now is a concern. However, on the horizon are games against Everton (away), Arsenal (away), Spurs (away) and Man Utd (home).

Winner: Emiliano Buendía

There is no question as to who has been Norwich’s most creative player this season. Emiliano Buendía stats are right up there with Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but unlike that pair he’s missing a few assists. That being said the Argentine — recalled after starting their last three league games on the bench — saw another side of his game shine this evening.

With backs against the wall, he put himself about, making no fewer than five tackles, more than anyone on the field. Farke, desperate for all three points (which he got), would have no doubt been pleased with his efforts. Regardless of what happens, chances are Buendía will be playing top-flight football next season. The only question is where, if not for Norwich or in England.