Norwich City: All Hail Grant Holt-Zilla

Immense against Everton yesterday, the big fella and his equally scary partner Morison are helping Norwich City batter opposition.
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Immense against Everton yesterday, the big fella and his equally scary partner Morison are helping Norwich City batter opposition.

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Godzilla tore Tokyo and Manhattan to pieces, plucked helicopters from the sky, smashed rollercoasters into matchwood and strafed burning lasers into the eyes of any jumped-up mutant crab that dared get in its way. So… Godzilla had no pace. But did it really suffer from not being able to scarper? Look at the things it did have in abundance: height, bulk, an awesome concrete-crumbling tail, atomic breath and laser eyes. Zilla also had a great big, beating heart the size of a bouncy castle. No matter how hard it got licked, it always got up for another pop. And did we mention the laser eyes?

Grant Holt doesn’t have laser eyes and like Godzilla, also has limited pace. But the Cumbrian-born brute is causing a whole heap of trouble in the top-flight for a team that many had consigned to the dustbin before a ball was hoofed in anger. Many City fans will be disappointed with an away draw at Everton today, but that’s the measure of just how far this club, and its figurehead (Holt) have come.

Holt hasn’t been first-choice pick for every game this year but the lump has still chalked up seven goals. Holt and the leaner yet equally scary Morison nutted Norwich past Newcastle last week prompting Lambert to stick with the same formation today. Both 6ft plus, Morison and the beefier Holt are easy targets of fun, for fans and pundits who go moist at the prospect of seeing little dandies flicking the ball around like performing fleas. Yet, the pair are striking up an unlikely partnership that borders on ‘battering ram’.  But there’s more to the pair than power and physique.

Grant Holt was immense today. His goal was beautifully taken, surrounded as he was by blue shirts and with his back to goal. But he lacks zero confidence in front of the sticks as seen in his cool finish. He rides the edge sometimes with stray arms and the odd bit of shirt tugging, but for a centre forward to play with such a commitment to defending, you really can’t complain. Holt tries to eek any little advantage to the cause. Today he galloped after a certain Everton goal kick and just managed to convert it into a throw, deep in their half. Away at Bolton he warded off the opposition like a wooly mammoth pestered by sabretooths. Sometimes this goes too far, but for the most part Holt’s endeavours have been successful.

Who knows, maybe Holt will get laser vision for Xmas and then Grant-zilla will be unstoppable!

Grant Holt was playing for Shrewsbury in 2009 when Bryan Gun laid down 400-large to get the man that Forest had tired of before his move to the Shrews in 2008. Since then, Holt has risen from the third tier to the top, and has now linked up nicely with the slightly taller and tauter Morison who has also bagged 6 Premier League goals only three years since playing non-league football for Stevenage during Holt’s first year at Carrow Road.  Rather than a big man, little man attack, Norwich are now experimenting with a ‘massive attack’.

Norwich were good for a point today, but at times rode their luck a little. Everton had 13 corners to Norwich’s one, and City only had one shot on target (Holt’s deft slot home), but Holt was a constant menace, and the power behind his looping header wide in the second half, showed just how dangerous he can be in the air, as Stanley Park neighbours Liverpool found to their cost when Holtzilla skittled three red shirts to the ground to grab Norwich a point at Anfield in October. It’s direct football at times, but it’s effective. Maybe Everton fans were reminded of a certain Big Dunc.

Holt aside, possibly the most pleasing aspect to today’s performance for Norwich fans was the defence. Russell Martin was excellent, with a precious headed deflection that detoured a goal-bound chance among his numerous contributions that saw Everton only converting once from 29 attempts. Former Toffee John Ruddy (who only played a solitary game for the Blues) had a confidence-boosting game with some fine reaction saves and even had Everton’s 81st minute goal covered, until Leon Osman just managed to get a touch on Royston Drenthe’s shot aimed straight at the keeper.

Goodison was at times like an undertakers’ convention today, save for some noise from the visitors and this silence does nothing for the players who had gone two games without a goal before today. It was as if the crowd wanted to see some fire and brimstone before they actively got involved themselves. Everton have clearly got the talent but they’re missing the heart – an organ Grant Holt has more than enough of. Who knows, maybe Holt will get laser vision for Xmas and then Grant-zilla will be unstoppable!

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