Two games, two wins and two clean sheets: Norwich City couldn’t have welcomed in the New Year in better style.
It was the first time since May 2013 the Canaries have achieved back-to-back Premier League wins and given Alex Neil’s side the perfect platform to push on into the second half of the season.
Most encouraging is the way City are turning Carrow Road back into a fortress.
Home form can be the difference between surviving or not and to be five unbeaten, including three wins and three clean sheets, is a perfect tonic to ease any early season home discomforts.
To be honest, it’s difficult to pinpoint what has changed. Much has been said about City finding the right balance, but there’s one thing in common between those five fixtures: City have had less possession.
In fact, it’s staggering that City remain unbeaten at Carrow Road this season in matches they’ve had less of the ball, but have failed to win when they’ve had more possession.
While it’s hard to attribute that to one player, there is a clear correlation between City’s upturn and Gary O’Neil’s return to the side.
He may not be glamorous, but in the 32-year-old, we have a player who is quietly efficient, effective on the ball and more importantly, a leader.
It would also be wrong not to credit Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe. I’ve said before how he could be like a new signing. Over the festive period he’s been strong on the ball, changed the game and his assist for Alex Tettey’s winner showed superb skill.
Tomorrow we get a break from league action, as the magic of the FA Cup returns to Carrow Road with the visit of Man City.
It also marks the first anniversary of Neil taking over.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted such a fantastic year and so much credit has to go the 34-year-old Scot.
So here’s to another successful year, and progress in the cup followed by a win at Stoke on Tuesday night, would be the perfect start to that.