After failing to deal properly with Mesut Ozil’s free-kick against Arsenal last week, the spotlight was on him to respond well but many will question his role in Jonny Howson’s dipping long-range opener. Later produced a marvellous save from Snodgrass’ curling effort to keep Stoke in the game.
Just about held off Anthony Pilkington’s timely runs into the area as Norwich got on top early in the game, but he had trouble keeping the winger from sending in dangerous early crosses.
Sat in front of the back four looking to dictate the play but could do very little to stop Norwich getting in amongst the home defence during the first half. Looked slightly more at ease after the interval, but still proved unable to offer anything by way of killer passes.
Appeared ill at ease in the role of spare man when Norwich attacked, often finding himself being pulled right out of position and lacking cover. Aerially, he was solid, but sometimes found repelling Van Wolfswinkel and Pilkington a tough assignment.
Provided a threat at set-pieces, but defensively he had trouble with the movement of Norwich’s runners from midfield at times. The odd last-ditch tackle helped his side stay away from further danger when they were on the rack.
Rarely got into the match in an attacking capacity in the opening stanza, but immediately after the interval he linked well with Ireland to get to the by-line. However, that was one bright moment as Norwich pinned Stoke back for decent spells and stopped the Potters getting quality ball out wide. Booked for a clumsy body-check.
A somewhat laboured effort in the Stoke midfield as the home side had a tough afternoon getting hold of the ball in key areas of the field. The most he could offer in an attacking sense was the odd early pass for the more dangerous wide men.
Spent far too long chasing the ball as opposed to using it during a frustrating first half for the Potters and was understandably substituted at the break in favour of Stephen Ireland.
Was left very isolated in the first half as Stoke struggled to make the transition between the midfield line and the Trinidadian. After the break he was given greater support, but with little more luck around the box his afternoon came to an early end when Peter Crouch was introduced with 24 minutes to play.
Had a limited impact on the game as Stoke struggled to get either him or Arnautovic on the ball with any great regularity in the first half. Replaced by Pennant at the interval.
Sent in Stoke’s most dangerous effort seconds before Howson opened the scoring, but even his right-footed shot from outside the area failed to trouble John Ruddy. Blew hot and cold throughout, going missing for spells but then also threatening to be the Potters’ key creative force.
Largely untroubled in the opening exchanges, with only the odd collection from in-swinging corners stretching him. As his defence retreated slightly in the second period, he was forced to be on his toes a little more, saving a low effort from Jones at the near post.
Got just enough on the ball at the far post to send it crashing off the Stoke bar as the visitors started well. Defended with real authority, helping to keep the home attackers quiet for significant periods.
Tried to make use of his pace to turn Stoke around, while defensively he saw off Jonathan Walters with some ease. Showed Pennant to the touchline regularly after the winger’s introduction, putting faith in his pace to keep the former Liverpool man quiet.
Led the defensive line with great aplomb as Kenwyne Jones’ aerial threat was dispelled, and also swept up well when Stoke’s midfield runners looked to cause trouble in behind.
Got into good crossing positions without delivering the killer ball as Norwich failed to make the most of their superiority in the first half. Thereafter his job was mainly about holding a good line as the Canaries protected their advantage.
Gave Norwich a deserved lead with a low shot from 25 yards out and looked to play the ball around with some authority throughout, helping to keep Stoke's midfield quiet for most of the match.
Dictated the terms in the centre of the park as Norwich won the early midfield battle but then almost miscued a clearing header straight into his own net. Showed himself to be a tough barrier just in front of the Norwich defence.
The Scot was forced to do a lot of his work off the ball as Norwich forfeited possession in favour of solidity for long spells of the game. When attacking, he rarely looked to take on Pieters on the outside, but cut in to good effect, drawing a fantastic save from Begovic with one superb effort.
Occasionally stood off when the ball was up for grabs in the engine room, then saw his way in to the referee’s notebook for a silly dig at Charlie Adam. May count himself lucky not to have been penalised when he grabbed Kenwyne Jones’ shoulder in the box.
Sent in a couple of dangerous first-time crosses from the left which turned around the Stoke back four and posed regular problems too when cutting inside onto his right foot. When drifting into the centre, he was the Canaries’ biggest threat.
R. van Wolfswinkel
Led the line well as he allowed Norwich to start much of their better play high up the field. Covered as a left-winger to decent effect whenever Anthony Pilkington was caught in advanced positions. Replaced by Elmander for the last 20 minutes.
Immediately changed the pace of Stoke’s play after replacing Charlie Adam at the break, but he – like many – was left spending far too much time looking for minimal gaps in the Norwich rearguard.
Showed early signs of making a real difference after replacing Walters at the interval, but that threat soon wore off as Norwich defended with great discipline, exposing a lack of pace.
Provided the odd flick after replacing Kenwyne Jones, but was unable to bring in team-mates often enough to ask new questions of the Norwich defence.