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EPL Earth Flight | Swansea vs Norwich

Sitting pretty in the top half of the table, the two promoted sides are having an excellent debut season in the EPL. Swansea had played well in the away fixture but could not recover from a Norwich goal blitz at the start of the game. In that game they had 60.2% possession, where as here at home they were only afforded 55.3% of the ball.

Setting The Scene

Once again Norwich got into the game quickly, high pressure from the start meant that swansea found it difficult to dictate the tempo. I felt the general pace of the game was higher than that at which Swansea usually play. The flow of the game was disjointed for large periods, mainly due to the tenacity of the Norwich players. When either team did manage to get a hold of the ball, quick, free flowing, open football seemed to be the order of the day; a typically English fixture.

Danny Graham’s form in front of goal continued as he scored a fantastic goal to take his tally to 9 For the season. The ball was crossed in, Graham controlled it and finished expertly into the top corner.  Incidentally that was Graham’s first finish into the top half of the goal this season (Graham goal placement image below).

In the 40th minute Ward made a last ditch clearance, taking the ball off Graham’s toes as he lined up to tap into an open net. Swansea learned to cope with Norwich’s style of play and finished the half as the stronger team. The odds for a Norwich win were around 12/1 at half time, with Swansea odds on at 1/5.

Canaries Flying Above Swans

Norwich stormed out of the blocks in the second half as Swansea failed to capitalise on their lead. Holt restored parity within 2 minutes of the restart. Having saved a goal just before half time, Ward saved the ball from going out of play and lobbed it back into the box for Holt to head it home. Four minutes later Pilkington’s strike deflected off Taylor and put Norwich ahead as the Swans couldn’t get back into their rhythm. This was like the beginning of the reverse fixture.

Swansea went hunting for an equaliser and were hit on the counter with Bennet feeding in holt who rifled his shot under Vorm. Even after that goal swansea couldn’t really get a hold of the ball and control the game.

The penetration for Swansea came from an unexpected source in Caulker, he strode out of defence and won a free kick 25 yards out. Sigurdsson’s attempt was heading for the top corner but Ruddy palmed it away for a corner. Williams was fouled in the box by Holt as the corner came in, and Graham calmly slotted the ball home from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.

In injury time Swansea had a string of chances; Sigurdsson received the ball in the right hand side of the box and passed it into Graham’s who steered the ball wide of the left upright. Caulker’s bullet header was saved and many penalty area scrambles did not amount to a clear chance.

Venomous Movement

Norwich were able to hit Swansea on the counter with their expansive style, often attacking with free flowing football. Physically Norwich looked like they were the better team, and were able to attack Swansea with a venom that the home side lacked. The pace, flow and movement in the final third from Norwich was excellent. They were able to attack before Swansea got organised and they kept the defending players out of position by exploiting the space that had been created.

Home Entertainment

However, it is worth mentioning that Swansea played a more expansive game than they normally do. Not often will they score two goals and yet concede three at home. The full backs and defensive midfielders were very much involved going forward. This allowed Norwich the space to counter attack, and they did it with great efficiency. Being at home Swansea must have felt the need to attack their rivals and please the fans. Had this been any other top ten side I am not sure this would be the case. Both teams provided brilliant entertainment and credit must go to Norwich for a very good win.

Opta International, European & Official Swansea FC analyst. MSc Sports Performance analysis. BSc Astrophysics. Youth Football Coach
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