The team sheets at Norwich City consistently baffle me before each game. Paul Lambert has become well known for tinkering with the team and despite questioning some of his decisions he mostly always gets it right. This is why I honestly believe Paul Lambert will become one of the greatest managers in Norwich City’s history.
To demonstrate the team changes I thought I’d take a look at 12 games this season so far, half at home and half away, looking at games in which we won, lost and drew. Of course, the quality of the opposition has to be taken into account but it is an interesting insight into how Lambert tweaks the team depending on the opposition and how that affects the key areas of the game. Please click to enlarge the images below.
So, a few areas of note:
- It is very rate that Paul Lambert picks the same formation of midfielders / strikers
- I have highlighted in yellow where Norwich have come out on top in a game, Arsenal is the only game whereby Norwich don’t come out on top of anything.
- Our crossing is an area where we come out on top in every game excluding Arsenal and Liverpool, albeit it is usually from a lower number of crosses
- We dominated possession in only two games. Bolton at home, for which Lambert said it was the teams “best performance of his reign” and also the away game at QPR
- We put together the least passes against Everton just 182 passes in the game. We put together the most passes at QPR, racking up 470
- Our passing accuracy is consistently over 70% except for the Everton game where it was just 63%. However, the opposition were generally more accurate excluding Bolton and QPR.
- We delivered the most crosses in the draw at home against Blackburn totalling 37 crosses
- Norwich City’s highest number of shots on target were at the two away games against West Brom and surprisingly at Liverpool.
- Our lowest possession was away at Man City (31.2%) and highest away at QPR (60.6%)
It’s clear Norwich City have performed better against the lower sides, which would be expected, but we’ve also competed with the top sides in the division due to having an attacking team selection. The game at Old Trafford for example was one I think we were very unlucky to lose 2-0, we had as many shots as Manchester United but our’s were unfortunately not as accurate, we pushed them hard in this game with Bennett and Pilkington attacking from the wings. By contrast at Man City we had just 6 attempts and one on target.
Our poorest game was at Everton, where interestingly neither of the two wingers Bennett or Pilkington started. The most entertaining games have been when both of these players have started – Swansea, Blackburn, Man Utd, QPR and Liverpool, with a total of 9 goals being scored by Norwich in those games but 8 being conceded.
Despite the team changes, Lambert mostly seems to get it right. The games where we were outplayed were Man City, Arsenal and Spurs but that is more of a testament to the quality of those teams rather than the Norwich team selection. I prefer it when we play the two wingers Bennett and Pilkington, but when we do that we are susceptible to let a few in as well, but it’s more entertaining!
Looking towards the Manchester United game a week today if we play an attacking line-up, we’ll give them a good game again. I’d like to see Pilkington and Bennett on the wings and Fox partnering with Johnson in midfield with Holt and Jackson upfront. If we do that, I can see us doing what we did to them in the last season we were in the Premier League and winning 2-0. Bring it on.