Norwich's travails on their Prem Lge travels is a cause for concern

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Sebastien Bassong, Christian EriksenGettyImagesChristian Eriksen made his Spurs debut against Norwich.

Money may not buy success but it certainly improves your chances on the evidence of Norwich City's lacklustre Premier League offering in a 2-0 defeat to rampant Tottenham.

Spurs controlled a contest in name only from the opening skirmishes and bar Ricky van Wolfswinkel's second-half stabbed strike that struck Danny Rose five yards out, City could muster little in terms of resistance or attacking threat as Gylfi Sigurdsson struck in either half.

Christian Eriksen was a cut above. The final summer purchase that nudged Tottenham's epic squad turnover through the £100 million mark. The Danish 21-year-old is a wonderfully gifted, balletic athlete who roamed wide acres without detection from Norwich's toiling midfield.

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Bradley Johnson wore a haunted look when he was eventually spared any further punishment just past the hour mark in favour of Jonny Howson. Leroy Fer fared little better against an opponent he would have faced numerous times in the Dutch Eredivisie. Both have arrived on British shores with big reputations, but it was Eriksen, as Chris Hughton readily attested in his post-match briefing, who is already a star of the present not just the future.

The former Ajax playmaker betrayed no hint of nerves on his Tottenham debut as he demanded the ball to unleash the likes of Roberto Soldado, the equally impressive Andros Townsend and Sigurdsson. Andre Villas-Boas, in a hyper-critical moment, may have cause to rue the lack of precision and potent intent when his expensively-assembled coterie reached the vicinity of John Ruddy's penalty box, but there was almost an air that this was a far too comfortable slice of top flight combat to necessitate slipping through the gears.

That should alarm Norwich's manager. Pockets of the travelling support voiced their frustration at the final whistle at the pliant nature of City's resistance. Hughton opted to keep the latent attacking thrust of Gary Hooper in hibernation on the City bench. The former Celtic striker's Premier League debut must wait for another day. As good as Tottenham were, City's inability to deny Eriksen time and space was a painfully recurring theme. They paid the ultimate price on two occasions. Sigurdsson cushioned the Dane's pass to guide past Ruddy before repeating the trick from point blank range five minutes after the interval when Eriksen had freed the overlapping Paulinho.

City will not face the collective creativity of Tottenham every week in the Premier League but coming so swiftly after their failure to beat ten-man Hull on their travels there is a genuine cause for alarm surrounding Norwich's anaemic efforts away from their home fortress.

Carrow Road will remain an imposing arena for even the very best Premier League sides. Villas-Boas alluded to that fact when he revealed their inability to win in league and cup games last season had proved the perfect motivation ahead of this first offering between the two sides of the new campaign. City's laudable commitment to Premier League growth and their heavy close season investment justifiably demands they should be better away from Norfolk this coming season. There is precious little evidence of a sea change.


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