Joe Lumley: 6
Could have been sat on a deck chair with a drink on the go for most of the game - didn’t really have a huge amount to do. His distribution was fine - but it’s difficult to say anything else about his performance considering the fact Norwich didn’t test him. A six will do.
Nesta Guinness-Walker: 7
The ex-AFC Wimbledon man didn’t make as much of an impact as he did on Saturday - but still stood up well against a side that were plying their trade in the Premier League last term. He looked decent again going forward, though his most important moment of the game came in the 35th minute when he made a crucial tackle to stop the Canaries on the counter. Baba Rahman doesn’t get back into the starting 11 at this stage, with NGW performing superbly.
Tom McIntyre: 7
It was tempting to give him an eight because he was just unreal at the back despite the fact Norwich didn’t offer a huge amount going forward. Composed is the word that has to be used to describe his display, with his passing also proving to be a real game changer, both in terms of creating chances and reducing pressure on the Royals’ defence. Ideally, he probably would have wanted to keep Josh Sargent even quieter than he did - but I can’t grumble about his performance. He’s becoming a real asset for us.
Tom Holmes: 7
Holmes did reasonably well in the middle of the back three this evening, helping to keep Teemu Pukki quiet with his challenge on the Finnish forward towards the latter stages of the first half a real highlight for him. The defender did seem to lose Grant Hanley for the Canaries’ opener though and that’s why he only gets a seven - but he can be proud of his display and will only gain confidence from tonight. Following last season’s shambles, these improved performances have been much-needed for the academy graduate.
Sam Hutchinson: 7
Hutchinson is perhaps another player who deserves an eight - but there were a couple of times when he chose the wrong time to get forward - and one of these occasions ended up resulting in a yellow card. Looking at the more positive aspects of his performance though, he made some vital blocks, put in some excellent challenges and played with real energy. The ex-Sheffield Wednesday man doesn’t look like a player who played in League One last season - and he has to be given a lot of credit because of that.
Junior Hoilett: 8
During the early stages of the game, the Canadian’s lack of end product was slightly frustrating because he worked extremely hard on the right and did everything apart from supply a decent ball. He soon rectified that though and deserved an assist on the night for his cross for Tom Ince. Not only were his balls fantastic (stop it) - but his trickery helped to tear Sam Byram to shreds. For me, he was the best performer on the night.
Mamadou Loum: 6
The 25-year-old did lose the ball in a dangerous area early on - but responded reasonably well and put in a very respectable performance. His physicality was certainly useful with Hutchinson being forced to play in central defence again - but was his performance worth a seven? He wasn’t terrible by any means - but some of his passing was a little sloppy at times. If I could give a 6+, I would.
Tyrese Fornah: 6
Similar applies to Fornah really - because he had a mixed performance as well. One thing that really impresses me about the Nottingham Forest man is the fact he remains so composed on the ball and isn’t afraid to get himself forward. However, his sloppiness probably takes his rating down to a six, giving the ball away in the second 45 and on another day, that mistake would have led to a Norwich goal. Like Guinness-Walker, he was playing in League One last season so to step up and perform in the way he did against a top-quality outfit like the Canaries is admirable.
Jeff Hendrick: 7
What sets him apart from the other midfielders is his goal - but the Republic of Ireland international also has to be given real credit for his improved performances in recent games. He was deservedly criticised for some of his displays earlier in the season, but he was bright against Huddersfield and was very decent again this evening. There were a couple of occasions where he made the wrong decisions - but he’s certainly gained confidence recently and managed to get forward well, often popping up in dangerous positions on the right.
Tom Ince: 6
It’s difficult to rate Ince because we have become accustomed to him performing excellently this season. However, things didn’t quite fall into place for him tonight despite his endeavour - and would probably benefit from retaining his cool. Perhaps his attitude towards the officials comes as part of the package - but it wouldn’t have been surprising if either him or Hutchinson ended up being sent off. The former England youth international can still be happy with his display though as an integral player to our cause.
Andy Carroll: 7
Although the experienced forward isn’t much of a presser, he made up for that with his presence in the air and his quality on the ball. Carroll may be best known for his aerial ability but some of his link-up play was also superb and he’s another player that could have easily been given an eight. He’s proving to be a real game changer and a shrewd addition thus far - and long may that continue.
Amadou Mbengue: 6
Considering I gave the midfielders a six, it would have been harsh on them if Mbengue had been given a seven. However, he performed admirably when he came on, dealing with Onel Hernandez extremely well and racing back well late in the game to prevent the Cuban from creating a golden opportunity. It would be nice to see more of him at some point because he looks like a decent little player.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
As one of his biggest critics, it was great to see Ejaria put in a decent shift when he came on, looking motivated and eager to win his spot in the starting lineup. He probably doesn’t deserve a place in the first 11 just yet - but he looked promising and should only improve with more minutes in the tank on Friday. Fulfil your potential Ovie!
Lucas Joao: 6
Joao was perhaps unlucky to lose his place in the starting lineup considering how well he linked up play against Huddersfield - but you can understand Paul Ince’s thinking behind his selection. Joao didn’t do badly when he came on, pressing well at times and looking a threat. It’s just a shame he didn’t get more time to make an impact.
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