Southampton fans will surely disagree, but it was a pleasure to see Chris Hughton attempt to stifle the grin that spread across his face after Redmond’s splendid goal.
Redmond would give a sign of things to come in just the 4th minute when he dashed inward from the wing to barely miss the target. But it wasn’t until the 2nd half when the 19-year-old gave Norwich what would ultimately be the decisive goal of the match.
Given that the goal was constructed by new signing Fer and finished by Redmond, Norwich fans have reason to be optimistic for the future of their new signings.
New signings is indeed one of the largest talking points for both of these teams which have secured equally interesting transfers. This was Osvaldo’s first start for Southampton
The 1-0 score line may belie how open ended the match actually was. Both teams clearly set out to take all 3 points from this match. In terms of shots and aggression, both sides were keen on putting shots on goal. Norwich attempted 14 shots; Southampton 11. Norwich were still sharper in front of goal, with double the shots on target of Southampton with 4.
Norwich in Possession
In comparison to Southampton, Norwich were quicker to get forward. They took 56.1% of the field territory, despite having only 42% of the possession. All in all, this is due to the fact that Norwich were playing at a quicker pace with more direct intentions.
Their wingers, Redmond and Snodgrass, played in significantly advanced positions. Furthermore, Garrido and Whittaker were fairly attacking as fullbacks. They played nearly in line with the two wingers, providing support and helping to overload Southampton’s defense down the flanks. Garrido to Redmond and Whittaker to Snodgrass were the two most common pass combinations for Norwich, which illustrates how important flank play was to their attacking plan.
Fer was highly influential to this game plan. He ended the match with a fantastic 94% pass completion rate. He only misplaced one pass in the middle third over the course of the entire match. Many of his passes were directed backward. In a sense, he was a calming midfield target man. A composed force on the ball that could settle play in the middle third and allow Norwich to reposition for an attack.
Of course, Fer played the key role in Redmond’s goal; a goal which sums up the midfielder’s performance nicely. The ball was dropped back to Fer, who switched the field of play brilliantly to Redmond. Admittedly, Redmond still had a significant amount of work to do, but the winger drove inward just as he did in the 4th minute, but produced a winning shot at goal.
Southampton in Possession
Despite conceding the majority of the territory, Southampton were far more intricate in their build-up play than Norwich. But because of their limited control of the pitch, Southampton’s centre-backs were overworked and carried a large share of the work load. Fonte and Lovren were 2nd and 3rd respectively in terms of total completed passes for anyone on the pitch.
In comparison to Norwich, Southampton were also significantly less focused on wing play and created most of their chances through the center of the pitch. All in all, it was a matter of prioritizing the central third of the pitch over width play. The majority of the chances created by Southampton were produced by inward movement around the top of the penalty area. Wide players are still of tactical import, but the likes of Ward-Prowse and Lallana are more inclined to drift inward than play as conventional wingers.
Overall, it was a match with two teams attempting to overload a specific area of the pitch: Norwich the flanks, and Southampton the central areas. Both did so to merit positive effects, but it was ultimately Norwich’s exploitation of the flanks that proved to be most fruitful. Additionally, Norwich fans will be pleased with the performance of newcomer Fer, who was undoubtedly one of the top players in this match.