For the Aston Villa fans, this was the day Marvelous Nakamba finally announced his arrival with his best performance of the season.
It came in a dominant midfield show at Carrow Road which inspired his team to a stunning 5-1 win over Norwich City in an English Premiership match.
It came on October 5, 2019 and on the back of plenty of solid performances across the park from Dean Smith’s men.
It was also Villa’s highest league win since 2008, when they beat Derby County 5-0 at Pride Park but the timing of this one couldn’t have been more important.
Villa had not won since a 2-0 August victory over Everton at Villa Park and a crucial victory.
But the manner of the performance, one that saw Wesley Moraes (2), Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz all get on the score-sheet, was hugely encouraging.
However, it was one man who wasn’t among the goals that impressed the claret-and-blue faithful the most — Zimbabwean midfielder Nakamba.
The summer signing from Club Brugge was everywhere in midfield and, at that stage, started to show his true value to Villa fans.
Aston Villa’s club record signing Wesley was also praised for his “massive” potential and “colossus” display in the ruthless win at injury-hit Norwich City by Smith.
Wesley, who had been criticised by some Villa fans, opened the scoring with a neat control and finish, doubling the tally with a tap-in before missing a penalty.
Norwich continued to defend woefully after the restart, Jack Grealish allowed to sweep in a third to effectively end the home side’s hopes.
Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz added more as Canaries boss Daniel Farke’s 100th league game at the helm headed towards humiliation, before Josip Drmic tucked in a meaningless consolation which few inside Carrow Road even celebrated.
Villa’s stunning win moved Smith’s side up to 14th, with Norwich sliding down to third-bottom with their fifth defeat in six games.
Villa had not earned a Premier League away win in 21 matches — a run going back to August 2015 — but they ended that joyless sequence with a performance that will live long in the memory of the travelling fans.
The Villa fans were in a jubilant mood throughout as Smith’s side clinically brushed aside a team that came up from the Championship alongside them last season.
Prince William, one of Villa’s most famous fans, was among the Carrow Road crowd as he watched with his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their young family.
Prince George was particularly impressed by Hourihane’s slick finish, the six-year-old jumping around in his Villa T-shirt in celebration.
“I’ll be getting them tickets for every game now if they need them,” Villa manager Smith joked afterwards.
“I hope they can get here every game if that is what it needs, I might even get them on the team bus.”
Statistics Of The Day
- Aston Villa scored five goals in a Premier League away game for the first time since April 2008 – a 6-0 win at Derby.
- Norwich suffered their biggest home defeat in the Premier League since April 2012, when they lost 6-1 against Manchester City.
- Aston Villa became the first promoted side to score five goals away from home in a Premier League match since Bolton at Leicester in August 2001.
- Norwich (21) v Aston Villa (22) became the first Premier League match to see both teams have at least 20 shots since QPR (24) vs Swansea (25) in January 2015.
- Jack Grealish’s last six goals for Aston Villa in all competitions have been away from home. This was his first Premier League strike since September 2015 (v Leicester).
- Conor Hourihane has been involved in seven goals in his last five league matches for Aston Villa against Norwich, four goals and three assists.
- Norwich’s Michael McGovern became the seventh goalkeeper to save a penalty on their first ever Premier League start, and the first since Neil Etheridge for Cardiff against Bournemouth last season.
- This Is What The Fans Said About Nakamba That Day
Jayne Fradley: Really really enjoying watching this guy. He does the basics and he does them well. Very good prospect, keep your feet on the ground. Will definitely be a fans favourite.
Adam Stone: I like this guy the more and more he plays . . . Talk about a work horse. He’s not fantastic, he’s Marvelous!
Jonathan Karakas: This guy is impressive. Really quietly doing his job well.
Clayton Warwick: Marvelous performance from Marvelous Nakamba.
Ben Fletcher: Absolutely outstanding. Credit to Deano also getting him revved to play and not throwing him in half fit! MOTM by far.
Stuart Connolly: This lad is pure class. Starting to look like an absolute bargain
Shaun Stait: He was excellent. Nipping at players to pressure them into misplaced passes, and shot out from the defensive line 3 times to intercept the ball, and start an attack. He has really established himself as out defensive midfielder, and Dean obviously thinks so. As soon as he was match fit, he was in the team and hasn’t looked back.
Robin James Sherlock: Had my doubts when they bought him, but he is going to be a superstar.
Chris Marsh: Been missing this type of player for ages.
Thanh Nguyen: Absolute beast. Won everything and bossed the midfield. Well done Marvelous.
Adam Paul Turner: Great player . . . knows his job doesn’t try anything to fancy . . . protects the back four and brings our attacking players into the game.
Nigel Moore: I think he could be better than Gueye — he seems a happy character too.
Christopher Cheape: This lad is different gravy! Cracking performance! Doesn’t stop running. — BirminghamLive/BBC Sport.