Norwich had a game plan to beat Arsenal, says Holt

The Canaries striker was also quick to dismiss suggestions that they had been suffering a hangover from last season, while Sebastien Bassong backs Olivier Giroud to settle

Grant Holt is adamant that Norwich City’s surprise 1-0 win at home to Arsenal on Saturday was no fluke, with the Canaries working on a specific game plan for the Gunners.

The visitors took their opportunity with both hands as Holt bagged the opener in the first half after Vito Mannone spilled Alex Tettey’s strike.

Last season, Paul Lambert’s Norwich went to the Emirates and picked up an unlikely point in a six-goal thriller, and Holt noted that they drew inspiration from that performance, while they also worked with a similar plan.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Holt said: “We looked at a few things we did last year. We ruffled them up a bit, got crosses in and worked them.

“We knew we could that again today. Obviously they have [Per] Mertesacker and lads who can head the ball, but if you put it in the right areas they can’t get to it and I thought we were good for the win.

“Wes [Hoolahan] took up some unbelievable positions when the ball was coming in, and when you’ve got someone who is prepared to get in behind you in works well.

“We had a game plan, [and we] worked on it all week. We knew Arsenal could come here with an attacking threat.

“We worked in the week with the bodies we’ve got, obviously some were away on international duty, but the good thing for us is we have a great squad who can train all week and do it correctly.

“You’ve just got to look at the way we attacked down there [at the Emirates], the way we defended as a unit and the way we worked. If you look at the game down there last year we stretched them a lot, moved them around and when we lost the ball we re-grouped quickly.

“We took the same beliefs into today, worked with the manager about keeping our shape and filling in for people out of position and it worked.”

The win was manager Chris Hughton’s first in the Premier League since taking over in the summer, but Holt was quick to bat away suggestions that the Canaries had been suffering a hangover after the former Birmingham boss' introduction.

“I don’t think so,” Holt affirmed. “The gaffer has come in, he has had us all summer, he has worked on some things. But it is different, pre-season and warm up games.

“You can only implement so many things. No one can ever replicate the Premier League, you can’t replicate the games and the test you are getting week-in week-out, going to Stamford Bridge [for example].

“It’s easy to say you’re going to Stamford Bridge and defending for 90 minutes, but it is hard work. The manager has put things in place and that’s what he wants, for us to be a bit more defensive, not gung-ho.

One of the stars at the back for Norwich, Sebastien Bassong, was also understandably delighted with the result, hailing it as “perfect”, but he does not feel league positions should be worried about so early in the campaign.

“We aren’t looking too much at the table as it is still early in the season,” said the Cameroon international. “We have just got to concentrate on ourselves, keep working and if we are in a good position in the table that is a plus.

“If you would have said 0-0 to me before the match I would have taken it. So 1-0 against Arsenal is perfect.

“It was difficult. Arsenal is such a good team, they have such good players. I think we made the game easier for us as we were really at it from the start. We had the chance to score which made a big difference.”

Bassong moved to England in 2008 when he left Metz for Newcastle and by his account he settled fairly rapidly before becoming a regular start for the Magpies, but his opponent on Saturday – Olivier Giroud – has had a much tougher introduction. Bassong, however, is not worried for the France international.

He continued: “When I came to Newcastle I adapted myself quite quickly, so I was lucky. I think he [Giroud] will do well.

“He scored a good goal for France against Spain, and the week before he scored against West Ham, so I think he is on his way to performing and he is around such good players so I’m not worried for him.”