December 8, 2023

Norwich City: Hard work pays off for Przemyslaw Placheta

Many expected Placheta to be among the options to leave with Norwich looking to offload some members of the squad who underperformed throughout last season.

Although he was not directly involved in that disappointing campaign, the Polish winger was occupying the perimeter of the team and the path to the first team under David Wagner looked difficult.

At the start of the summer, there was talk that Norwich would be open to permanent and loan offers for Plaschetta. There was interest from abroad, but nothing serious materialized despite links with a return to Poland.

Ultimately, Norwich opted to approve a loan move for Christos Zoulis and retain Placheta after his productive pre-season.

Since his time at Norwich, Placheta has impressed all three coaches. Both Daniel Farke and Dean Smith liked his qualities, even if they proved unable to consistently extract productivity from him.

Wagner and his coaching staff have been committed to his development. Placheta is using his speed better and starting to play in central areas, something that was not evident in his game previously.

This blistering pace that he was synonymous with has been reined in and used more effectively rather than the frenetic nature his performances had previously seen. He has transformed from an athlete into an effective footballer.

The City manager also tried to convert him into a left-back, believing his pace and attributes could make him a reliable option in his desired system, where the full-back is heavily involved in attacking and stretching positions.

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Placheta impressed in midweek in the Carabao Cup defeat to Fulham, and that performance was rewarded with his first league start of the season against a club who last played in August 2022.

On a personal level, it brings an end to a long absence from the Polish international. An injury kept him out of action for a long time.

It came just over a year after Covid-related issues sidelined him with concerns for his heart.

This perhaps gets to the heart of his inconsistency since arriving in England from Slask Wroclaw in 2020. Placheta has already played more games this season than he has in the last 12 months.

Since being away, Placheta appears to have gotten leaner and worked on strengthening his upper body. There has been work behind the scenes to improve his positional and tactical intelligence. Wagner acknowledged that there is still a lot to be done in the coming weeks and months.

Placheta’s inclusion enabled Wagner to move John Rowe to a more central area to support Adam Idah as a secondary striker in their system.

Both Birmingham full-backs had a difficult afternoon, but neither Placheta or Christian Fassnacht could make them pay.

Norwich Evening News: Przemyslaw Placheta came close to scoring his first league goal for Norwich City since August 2020 in the first half.Przemyslaw Placheta came close to scoring his first league goal for Norwich City since August 2020 in the first half. (Photo: Paul Chesterton/Fox Images Ltd)

Cody Drame had a hard time understanding the defensive aspects of the game, but it was often Demi Giannoulis who took advantage of his shortcomings in offensive situations and not Placheta.

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Placheta’s cross hit the crossbar in the first half before Fassnacht and Jack Stacey turned it back down the right, culminating in Idah’s header curling into the gloves of Birmingham goalkeeper John Ruddy.

He came close to scoring his first Championship goal for Norwich since August 2020 after Idah curled a corner kick towards the back post. Placheta, at full energy, was unable to meet the ball and it flew painfully over his head and out of danger.

Placheta’s best period of the match came before he was replaced by Hwang Ui-jo in the 57th minute.

The winger started the move which ended with Gabriel Sarra heading past Rudy as Norwich started with a flourishing five minutes that eventually earned them the points in NR1.

Wagner’s decision to start Placheta was undoubtedly a show of confidence in the 25-year-old and reward for his progress in recent months.

From an outside position, Placheta worked his way into the team. His next task is to make sure he has what it takes to stay there.

With Borja Sainz ramping up his return from injury and Hwang continuing to adapt to life at Carrow Road, meaning Rowe will return to his familiar role, the level of competition is only getting more intense.

Norwich Evening News: Przemyslaw Placheta has worked hard to create his chance at Norwich City.Przemyslaw Placheta has worked hard to create his chance at Norwich City. (Photo: Paul Chesterton/Fox Images Ltd)

Placheta has proven the doubters wrong so far, but this should be the beginning rather than the end of his redemption arc at Norwich.

Verdict: Lots of willing runs but drifted in and out of the game. He could have done more to exploit Kodi Drama’s flaws. His best spell came before he was substituted in the 57th minute.

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evaluation: 6 out of 10