Win at Middlesbrough leaves the Premier League within touching distance for Championship leaders Norwich City
The Premier League feels within touching distance. Following the 1-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday evening, Daniel Farke’s side find themselves seven points clear of third-placed Sheffield United with just seven games left to play.
Victory at the Riverside, the club’s seventh in a row, came courtesy of a low Onel Hernandez strike early in the second half and was celebrated in a way that underlined its significance.
In truth, the three points owed a lot to City’s defensive resolve, repelling the kind of aerial bombardment the footballing world has come to expect from a Tony Pulis side.
At the heart of that effort was City’s number six, Christoph Zimmermann, whose goal-saving clearance in the closing stages was nothing short of a match-winning contribution.
I’ve been full of praise for the German in recent months and the imposing centre-half continues to excel with the captain’s armband strapped proudly to his left bicep.
Barring injury, the responsibility will fall to Zimmermann to lead City into battle for the remainder of the season and it is important he continues to set the tone because while Farke’s side find themselves in a commanding position, there remains absolutely no room for complacency.
No team is going to roll over and hand City three points and that is a message Farke will be keen to express ahead of two home fixtures which City will be fully expected to win.
First up on Saturday is a visit from QPR, who this week parted company with Steve McLaren following a run of one win in 15 Championship games.
Kicking off early provides City with a chance to heap the pressure on both Leeds and Sheffield United, who travel to Birmingham and Preston respectively, knowing there is little room for error. Following that, City host Reading on Wednesday night. Six points and City will arguably have one foot in the Premier League.