Whenever I discuss Norwich City’s current league position I can guarantee someone will remark “ah, but remember Blackpool last season?” By coincidence Blackpool also played West Brom away this weekend in the 2010-2011 season but came away 3-2 losers whereas Norwich City this weekend came away with an excellent 2-1 win.
We are only just over half way through the season and we have a very long way to go yet. Comparing us with Blackpool last season after 21 games played shows and uncanny resemblance to our current form. The below table shows where Blackpool were after 21 games in 2011 and where Norwich are after 21 games this season.
I thought I’d look at some of the other sides currently situated towards the bottom of the table compared to Blackpool as well. I’ve looked at stats per game as at the time of writing some teams had a game in hand.
Looking at the teams compared with where Blackpool finished up last season is interesting. Norwich come out on top of Blackpool across all 5 areas whereas all the other teams have an area of weakness compared with the Seasiders. This is encouraging for Norwich fans to some degree but really it is saying that perhaps the quality of the teams at the bottom this season is poorer than it was last season.
Most concerning is that we have not kept a clean sheet yet and the table above does highlight that we do have a weakness in defence but we can score goals and that may well just keep us up over the season. Lambert’s tactics are to attack teams and this so far has got us to the position we are in so as long as we don’t lose any key personnel such as Holt, Morison and Hoolahan I can realistically now see us surviving the drop.
Blackburn can also score goals with the same ratio of 1.5 goals per game as Norwich but they are also concedng more goals, only less than Bolton when comparing all 6 teams. Wigan reflect their league position with the least goals per game. Swansea perhaps are the most interesting with the least goals conceded and defensive errors but they are not putting away as many goals as Norwich or as Blackpool did last season.
So, in summary we bear an uncanny resemblance to Blackpool in terms of the stats and the way we play but I think this season there are teams that are weaker than Blackpool were last season. So for that reason I will stick my neck out and say that for the first time since 2007 all three promoted teams will stay up. Swansea for me have looked impressive and QPR can spend before the transfer deadline to strengthen their team and climb the table. Norwich’s attacking football may well just keep us up but I expect a tough end of season ahead.