So, it’s Magpies versus Canaries! Newcastle approach this one off the back of 8 Premier League in which just 7 points have been taken from 21. 16 goals conceded in those 8 games and just 9 scored, just one of which by Demba Ba!
Newcastle United have faced Norwich just 7 times in the top division – 3 wins, 3 losses and the one draw. NUFC have picked up just 1 point in the last 3 Premier League encounters with the Canaries, the 4-2 demolition at Carrow Road back in December the latest of those poor results.
Norwich themselves have had a very impressive campaign thus far. In their last 8 games, they’ve managed to pick up 11 points, inclusive of games v Chelsea and Man Utd. They’ve scored the same as NUFC in those 8 games but conceded just 10.
Norwich in the Premier League
Only Sunderland, Blackburn and Stoke City have less possession on average in the league this season – 44.6%.
Norwich concede the 3rd most shots per game on average (16.7).
They make the least number of interceptions per game in the whole Premier League – just 11.8 on average.
The Canaries also produce the least successful dribbles per game – just 2.8 on average, which is in fact the least across Europe’s top 5 leagues!
They are the least fouled team in the entire division – just 8.6 fouls conceded per game on average.
Only Manchester City have scored more from set pieces than the yellows – 15.
Norwich play most long balls per game in the Premier League currently (76 on average).
They have the least percentage of shots from the right hand side in the entire top flight – 13%.
Only Stoke City (18%) have a higher percentage of shots from inside the 6 yard box so far in the league – 9%.
Norwich have the 3rd highest percentage for average possession in their own half – 30%.
David Fox – The midfield is very underrated! He is the one who ticks the Norwich team over; only he and Kyle Naughton have made over 1000 passes for in the Premier League for the Canaries this season – he has made the most and most successful. He also makes most passes in the attacking half.
It doesn’t stop there with him though; Fox has created most chances at Norwich (33), although 17 of them have come from set plays, and he has the most PL assists at the club – 3.
Grant Holt – The physical forward was touted by some for a place in Stuart Pearce’s squad for the Holland game last month because of his impressive performance this season. He has managed10 goals from 25 shots on target, a 22% chance conversion rate.
How to win this one
NUFC have all attributes to make this their first win since Aston Villa, 4 games ago. While Norwich will proof a tough test, particularly aerially, at home, Newcastle have the players to really hurt a team.
Hatem Ben Arfa produced another mouth watering-performance on Monday, albeit when he seen the ball, as well as a super goal. His new-found confidence and AP’s faith should see the Frenchman continue to blossom, and his potential in the final third should be a real handful for Norwich’s week defence.
The game could/should see the return to the starting line up of Papiss Cisse (if fit). The Senegalese man will pose some threat to Norwich in and around their penalty area, especially if the service from Ben Arfa and such is good.
Newcastle will need to nullify Norwich’s long game – the game at Carrow Rd in December showed how dangerous they can be, with all 4 of their goals coming from inside the box and scored via headers. (see graphic).
The above graphic shows the chances that Norwich created in that game. They will try at every attempt to get the ball in Newcastle’s box again and use the physical threat of Holt and Morrison to their advantage.
Colocinni and Williamson will have to defend better than they have recently, particularly in the air an from Norwich’s set plays, and Santon & Simpson have got to do better to stop the cross coming in – teams have had it far too easy against the Mags recently in that sense.
Jonas Gutierrez needs to fade away from his ‘babysitting’ duties and concentrate on being productive in the attacking half, especially at home. The same too for Yohan Cabaye – the introduction to the starting 11 again of Hatem Ben Arfa has seen the Dreamboat slip to a deeper role alongside Tiote. This means from possession in our own half, initiating an attack is made very difficult indeed.
Newcastle have a point to prove on Sunday – that they can continue the results that have seen them rise up the table this season and sustain their battle for European football of some sort. Recent results, and sometimes performances, have not been healthy. This game is a fantastic chance to chalk 3 points on the board for the first time in a while and most will be expecting them to do just that.