Connor Southwell: Player ratings after Charlton 0-1 City

Connor Southwell

Connor Southwell | 12 Jan 2022, 08:10

Connor Southwell delivers his player ratings as Norwich City recorded only their fourth win of the season in all competitions to beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 at the Valley. 

 

•  Tim Krul – 5

City’s keeper was tasked with halting just one effort on target from Elliott Lee’s low drive in the second period.

It was an unusually quiet afternoon for the Dutch shot-stopper, who took exception to Jason Pearce’s rough aerial challenge in the opening period. Survived a late scare when Gunter headed against the post.

•  Sam Byram – 5

The right-back’s return from his lengthy injury lay-off continued and he looked rusty in patches of this match.

There was an important intervention early on to prevent Ben Purrington from getting a cross in the box. Eventually replaced by Max Aarons in the second half.

•  Grant Hanley (C) – 5

This was the City captain’s first appearance since sustaining his shoulder injury against Manchester United last month.

His trademark recovery run was needed to halt Mason Burstow when he was played in behind City’s defence by Alex Gilbey.

Hanley will know there is more to come from him, but this was a good opportunity to rid himself of the cobwebs ahead of the midweek trip to West Ham United.

•  Ozan Kabak – 4

You could be forgiven for thinking Norwich City had David Luiz in their backline whenever Ozan Kabak is in the side.

The Turkish international is still young but there is an erratic nature to his defensive work at times. His progressive running forward is impressive, but he often holds onto possession for too long resulting in a turnover.

Positionally questionable at times and not as sturdy nor consistent as City need him to be in defence. It seems likely Ben Gibson will return to the side at the London Stadium.

•  Dimitris Giannoulis – 3

Another difficult day at the office for the Greek left-back.

There is clearly attacking quality but defensively he leaves much to be desired and Smith is the second boss to lack trust in his ability at the back. Diallang Jaiyesimi gave him the runaround and one rough tackle left him staring at the turf in frustration.

He is doing little to strengthen his argument for displacing Brandon Williams at left-back on a consistent basis.

•  Jacob Sorensen – 5

His inexperience was evident late on when he committed a needless foul that forced a free-kick deep into stoppage time. That led to Chris Gunter thumping the bar with a header from close range.

Neat and tidy. Offered protection at points but little in the way of really standing out. His better performances this season have arrived in a central position in defence rather than midfield. Billy Gilmour’s injury may hand him another chance to impress in midweek.

•  Kenny McLean – 6

For all the criticism the Scot has received in recent weeks, it was his pass that sent Pukki racing through before he eventually teed up Rashica for the winning goal.

McLean’s tenacity and commitment are undeniable, but he was part of a midfield that struggled to control possession and was wasteful in possession for long periods. Hopefully, this can be a springboard for improved performances in the Premier League.

•  Pierre Lees-Melou – 5

It was a conflicting performance from Norwich’s French midfielder.

There were loose moments that saw him squander possession far too easily. Given he was competing at the top end of Ligue 1 last season, it isn’t unfair to be expecting more of him in games against League One opposition.

The 28-year-old saw one shot from distance pushed round the post by Charlton keeper Stephen Henderson but is yet to live up to expectations after that summer move from Nice. Not displaying consistent quality on the ball and doesn’t appear to have the energy to hassle his counterparts in the same way as McLean.

•  Kieran Dowell – 3

Another in a yellow and green shirt handed an opportunity to show what he could do and another who failed to take it.

The attacking midfielder was on the end of a couple of firm tackles but lost possession needlessly on a handful of occasions. Part of an attacking quartet in the first half who failed to construct anything meaningful against inferior opposition.

City will need to see an uplift in performances if Dowell hopes to remain in Smith’s Premier League thoughts.

•  Christos Tzolis – 3

For all the hype surrounding the Greek international upon his arrival at Carrow Road in the summer, this was another game that showcased his inexperience and rawness.

The teenager drifted offside needlessly on occasion and failed to impact the game from an attacking perspective. He looks low in confidence but isn’t staking a claim to be a more consistent member of Dean Smith’s starting XI.

•  Josh Sargent – 5

Copy and paste. Tireless runner but struggling to make his chances count in front of goal.

At some point, his selflessness will need to result in tangible output in front of goal. When that does arrive, it may just alter his fortunes – his work in general play and defensive phases offer encouragement.

But Norwich paid nearly £9m for goals and until they arrive, questions will continue to be asked.

City substitutes   

• Teemu Pukki – 7 (on for Tzolis, 45)

When Norwich City have needed inspiration in the last few years, Teemu Pukki has usually been on hand to inject some quality into a performance.

This was the case at the Valley, with the Finn’s intelligence, drive and quality enhancing the Canaries’ performance all over the pitch. There was one lung-busting defensive recovery that saw him halt an attack that summed up his contribution.

But it was his ice-cool composure to square the ball to Rashica for the winning goal that really stood out. When many strikers would have developed tunnel vision, the Finn looked across and was selfless. A brilliant display.

Brandon Williams – 6 (on for Giannoulis, 45)

Williams has split opinion throughout his loan spell at Carrow Road to date.

But this was one of his more assured displays, albeit against inferior opposition. Given Giannoulis struggled to contain former City winger Diallang Jaiyesimi in the first half, this was a vastly improved defensive offering.

His interventions sent City on the attack on a few occasions but it was the timing of his tackles and defensive work that benefited his teammates.

• Milot Rashica – 8 (on for Dowell, 45)

Just before his injury, he was beginning to show just what he could offer Norwich from an attacking sense.

This was another window into his quality, with the Kosovan’s introduction resulting in a drastically improved second-half display. For all the criticism that has been thrown towards Stuart Webber for last summer’s recruitment, Rashica looks like a quality addition. Concerns about his output will subside if he can transfer this level of performance onto the Premier League stage.

His power, poise and pace caused havoc amongst Charlton’s backline and his endeavour carved out numerous opportunities in the second half. An impressive cameo.

• Max Aarons – 6 (on for Byram, 71)

Appearance number 149 for City’s academy graduate. Should have scored when Pukki slotted him through in stoppage time.

Adam Idah – N/A (on for Dowell, 45)