Tettey’s revival has sparked Norwich City to life

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Jamie McDonald/Getty ImagesNorwegian midfielder Alex Tettey played a key role in Norwich City's win at Stoke.

Alex Tettey is rapidly acquiring a reputation as Chris Hughton's lucky charm at Norwich City.

The simple fact that the Norwegian international midfielder's return to the ranks coincided with a pressure-relieving Premier League win at Stoke was hardly a coincidence. City's first points in six league trips to the Britannia Stadium may well emerge as a pivotal moment in the season. Hughton admitted afterwards heading to the Potteries fourth from bottom had ratcheted up the level of scrutiny on his position following a lavish summer transfer outlay that failed to have the desired instant effect in raising City's sights above mere survival.

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Norwich's task in the short term will get little easier, with Chelsea and Arsenal to come in the league on each side of the international break due to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. But Hughton and his squad can now approach the Blues' pending visit to Carrow Road with a renewed sense of confidence and optimism.

Tettey was an instrumental figure at Stoke in a new-look central midfield. Sat in front of Norwich's back four for added protection, Tettey's presence freed Jonny Howson to range forward alongside Dutch international Leroy Fer. Howson's first half strike separated the sides, but Tettey's pivotal role should come as little surprise to regular City watchers.

Norwich's laboured start to life under Hughton following Paul Lambert's departure 12 months previous ended in emphatic style with a 1-0 Premier League win over Arsenal at Carrow Road in October 2012 that was forged on the defensively-minded midfield alliance between Tettey and Bradley Johnson. City simply overwhelmed the Gunners in a vibrant outing on Norfolk soil which banished many of the genuine fears surrounding the managerial transition and laid the foundations for what was to become an unbeaten 10-match Premier League run that effectively guaranteed the club's top flight status.

Norwich's struggles over the second half of that campaign to scale similar heights can again, in part at least, be traced to Tettey's own personal downturn. The Norwegian international has since publicly admitted his first exposure to the rigours of a congested festive spell over Christmas which the English League is synonymous for had taken a heavy physical toll after plying his trade previously at Rosenborg and Rennes. Tettey also succumbed to injury that may well have been attributed to the fatigue which clearly robbed him of that dynamism essential to his game.

Tettey's loss of form led to a prolonged spell on the sidelines as Hughton searched desperately for a formula to arrest City's slide into the relegation picture. That downward spiral culminated in a heart-to-heart between both parties once safety had been secured with Hughton urging the Norwegian to re-discover his mojo over this summer recess.

The close season arrivals of Nathan Redmond and Fer merely served to over-populate an already congested battle for midfield berths in Hughton's preferred starting line-up, but Tettey was back to his marauding best at Stoke. Norwich will hope to reap a rich dividend as a result.


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