Many pundits identified Norwich as relegation candidates at the beginning of the season and the first 7 games seemed to prove them right – the Canaries took only 3pts (3 draws) and conceded 5 goals each to Fulham and Liverpool, plus another 4 goals at Chelsea. They followed this with a quite astonishing run of 10 games unbeaten (6 wins, 4 draws) including home wins against both Arsenal and Manchester United and a thrilling 4-3 win at Swansea. This period really established Norwich in the top half, but unfortunately preceded a new 9-game run without a win! But the good work was largely done and Hughton’s team came up with 3 wins in the last 5 games to secure Premier League status and a very respectable 11th place.
Apart from the 5-0 defeat at Fulham on the first day of the season, Norwich only lost by more than 2 goals in games against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City. Hardly disgraceful, although shipping a total of 10 goals to Liverpool isn’t something to be particularly proud of either. All-in-all, I’d say that the Norwich defence was pretty solid. Goals in attack were a little harder to come by: they only managed to score more than 2 goals on 4 occasions (twice against Man City, who had the league’s best defensive record)!
Those goals away from home paint a different picture of the defence, and the attack for that matter. To be successful away from home in the Premier League you need clinical finishing away from home, and Norwich will be hoping that Ricky van Wolfswinkel can provide that extra quality next year. 13pts away from home matches Newcastle’s poor record on the road, and as I noted in my previous review only QPR and Reading fared worse.
It seemed to make little difference who Norwich were playing last season: they picked up a similar points total against each segment. But conceding about 2 goals per game against the top half is a bit worrying.
Very little to discuss re. stats in terms of team age, height, weight and players over 182cm.
The last 2 graphs are fairly interesting. The first shows that Norwich fielded significantly more players over 2400mins than the league average, the second shows that the TPOEM performance score of each group was pretty indifferent/below average. So this suggests that Norwich were able to field a more consistent line-up than most other teams (and – crucially – Snodgrass played above 3000mins) however the playing squad was also not dependent on raw ability.
How did Norwich confound the TPOEM stats? Well, there are many things it doesn’t capture: like leadership (player or coach), tactics, luck (which cannot be ruled out in a 38 game season) and the effect of game states on statistics.
- 2nd lowest number of total headed clearances (436)
- 4th lowest number of total chances created (294) and 4th lowest number of goals scored (40)
- Equal lowest number of red cards (1)
- Worst long ball efficiency in the league with 43% accuracy
Norwich fans will hope that Steven Whittaker overcomes his injury troubles next season as his stats made him the pick of the defence (despite playing only 1046mins). And Ruddy was missed for the most part of the season despite some good performances from Bunn in goal.
But, attacking players tend to take the plaudits, and Norwich benefited most from the offensive contributions of Snodgrass, Pilkington and Hoolahan.
Snodgrass was rated amongst the top 20 midfielders, giving a similar level of quantified overall contribution to his team as Michu did for Swansea. He’s up there with the best signings of the season.