Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fans travelled back to the Midlands with broken hearts on Tuesday night after seeing their side come within a penalty shootout of knocking Premier League leaders Manchester City out of the EFL Cup.
Spot-kick specialist Claudio Bravo was the hero for Pep Guardiola’s as he repelled efforts from Alfred N’Diaye and Conor Coady to seal a 4-1 shoot-out win after the 120 minutes of action had finished goalless at The Etihad.
It was the performance of Bravo’s opposite number, however, that deserves the most credit after a display in which Championship promotion favourites Wolves showed they have more than enough quality and character to compete against Premier League opposition – even without the rested Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota.
Will Norris has made just four appearences for Wolves since arriving from Cambridge United in the summer, all of them coming in the EFL Cup. The 24-year-old, however, has still not conceded a single goal in Wolves’ colours.
In fine company
After clean sheets against Yeovil, Southampton and Bristol Rovers, Norris was once again unbeatable between the sticks against far superior opposition. True, the Watford-born ‘keeper did not have to make any really outstanding saves but he did everything right on Tuesday.
Norris claimed every cross with confidence, he dominated his area and made a number of solid stops to deny Raheem Sterling and, in particular, Sergio Aguero – ensuring the Argentine has to wait a little longer to become City’s all-time top scorer.
The last goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet against City was none other than David de Gea in April. Norris is in fine company.
And while Wolves hogged the headlines in the summer for spending huge sums on remarkable coups for Neves and Jota, the signing of a little-known goalkeeper from Cambridge could prove to be just as astute.