• Nick Hamer

Pre-Match Review | Norwich City (A)

Norwich City vs Sheffield United - 08/12/2019

English Premier League

Despite the number of places between the two teams, Sunday’s game is very much a 6-pointer.

Last Time Out

Norwich City vs Sheffield United - 26/01/2019

SkyBet Championship

A Billy Sharp brace was required as the Blades fought back from behind twice to secure a vital point at Carrow Road.

The centre backs were the same that day as they are now, as were the wing-backs and goalkeeper. Fleck and Norwood also started with Keiran Dowell playing as a number 10. Gary Madine partnered Sharp, McGoldrick came on as a substitute.

Nine of the players who featured in Norwich’s last fixture against Southampton on Wednesday also played in this game. Once again, this shows how both clubs are looking to take on the Premier League with the bulk of the players that got them there in the first place.

Onel Hernández put the Canaries ahead in the 11th minute, putting the finishing touches to a fine team goal. He could have scored within the first 2 minutes, forcing Henderson into a low parried save from long range.

Norwich continued to have the better chances up until the stroke of half time when Buendia brought down Enda Stevens in the penalty area; Sharp converted and out came the sock which launched a loving relationship with the wrestler Mick Foley.

The Blades were the more creative of the two sides after the interval, but it was the home side that took the lead for a second time, Teemu Pukki scored his 17th of the season with an instinctive finish after creating the space for himself in the 56th. 23 minutes later Sharp headed in a Mark Duffy cross for a well-deserved point.

Summer at Norwich City

Notable Ins: Sam Byram (£750k, West Ham United), Aidan Fitzpatrick (£350k, Partick Thistle), Charlie Gilmour (Undisclosed, Arsenal), Rob Nizet (Undisclosed, Anderlecht), Rocky Bushiri (Undisclosed, KV Oostende), Josip Drmic (Free, Borussia Mönchengladbach), Patrick Roberts (Loan, Manchester City), Ralf Fährmann (Loan, FC Schalke 04), Ibrahim Amadou (Loan, Sevilla)

Notable Outs: Steven Naismith (Free, Hearts), Nelson Oliveira (Free, AEK Athens), Ivo Pinto (Free, Dinamo Zagreb), Matt Jarvis (Released), Carlton Morris (Loan, Rotherham)

Norwich City have had the quietest summer transfer window out of all the Premier League sides. Opting against the idea of spending on players and rather upgrading the clubs infrastructure and facilities.

It appears to be something Farke is more than okay with having said in July:

"This is our way. We had to pay for some dues in the past for players, to also pay for facilities at the training ground and the academy. We have so many amazing and exciting young players who have committed to the longer term. We didn't want to risk all that for one or two big transfers. We could have said we put the investment into the players not the facilities but one or two more players more would not guarantee our targets.”

A perfectly understandable strategy and Norwich City aren’t the first club to do this. Furthermore, given the way that their Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, has operated since joining the club in 2017 after leaving Huddersfield Town.

They have a number of players who have come through the youth system and there’s probably more to come. This doesn’t mean they haven’t signed experience, Ralf Fährmann and Josip Drmic have top-flight experience from playing in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, with the latter playing in the 2018 World Cup for Switzerland. Sam Byram also has some Premier League experience but had spent a lot of his time at West Ham United struggling with injuries.

Norwich City’s Recent Form

Before the November international break Daniel Farke’s team had picked up a solitary point since beating Manchester City 3-2 at the end of September, that was a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.

During this period Norwich have been plagued by injuries, it felt like you could have probably named a decent starting 11 from the players that they had out and it looked like Todd Cantwell, and Teemu Pukki’s form was just a purple patch.

A 5-1 thrashing handed to them by Aston Villa at Carrow has probably been their lowest point of the season so far. However, after that defeat at Watford, things have improved. Players have come back fit, and results have followed. They added another coat to the writing on the wall for Marco Silva by beating Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park and drew 2-2 with Arsenal.

What with, Wednesday’s defeat at Southampton coupled with our defeat at home to Newcastle United makes this game all the more important.

Managers Quotes

Daniel Farke

“I'm full of respect for Chris Wilder's work. They've had a brilliant start to the season. They have been settled at the back and have been able to play with almost the same starting line-up each week.” - On Chris WIlder

“When you think about the last few games, we haven't allowed the opponents to have many chances. They only really created chances out of set pieces. Our problem was that we invited them onto us.” - On Recent Form

Chris Wilder

“It’ll be difficult and it’ll be tough just like we experienced last night. They were the outstanding team in the championship last season. I was delighted to get as close as we did to them” - On Norwich City

“Everyone has come through unscathed so we have a full squad to choose from this weekend at Norwich City.” - On Injuries

"I must have woken up in a bad mood because we didn't have any forwards on the morning of the game. Their coach driver didn't get to the ground on time and it escalated from there. When I banged the ball down the touchline, the fourth official thought I'd dragged a few water bottles into their dug-out. What tipped me over the edge was one of their coaches waved 'upstairs'. The whole thing was set up by me being a grumpy old git that afternoon. Hopefully they will come out the tunnel on Sunday and not keep us on the pitch for 15 minutes" - On the Norwich 'rivalry'

Opposition Style of Play

Farke’s first managerial role was at SV Lippstadt where he took them from the 6th tier of German football to the 4th, he was then approached by Borussia Dortmund to coach their reserve side and worked alongside the now Paris Saint-Germain coach, Thomas Tuchel, when he was managing Dortmund’s first team.

Sporting Director Stuart Webber brought David Wagner from Dortmund’s second side to Huddersfield Town and did the same with Farke at Dortmund.

They’re a team who press from the front with the centre forward and attacking midfielder closing down the opposition centre halves and the full backs will press the opposition full backs. This leaves a lot of responsibility on the 2 deeper central midfielders to cover the space that is left behind.

Pressing from the central midfielders will come when the opposition are attacking in the hope that it will force them into making a mistake.

They like to pay a short passing game but aren’t averse to hitting it long when required especially if it means they have a numerical advantage higher up the pitch, but as we saw against Manchester City, they are also comfortable playing through an oppositions press. Width usually comes from the two full backs, which then allows the 2 wide players in a 4-2-3-1 to move into more central positions.


Last night killed any form of optimism and now think we’re in the midst of a mid-season blip. 2-1 to Norwich.

Bettings Picks

Lys Mousset to score anytime at 6/5 (Skybet); Over 2.5 Goals, Over 10.5 Corners and Over 35 Booking Points at 5/1 (SkyBet)

Possible XIs

It needs to be Mousset and McGoldrick after the Newcastle game, I’d also give Lundstram a rest and give Freeman a start.

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