Vital statistics ahead of City’s attempt at the great escape
Ahead of Norwich City’s Premier League resumption, David Freezer takes a look at the key statistics which tell the story of the Canaries’ campaign prior to action grinding to a sudden halt in March.
In a world of expected goals and assists, heat maps and in-depth statistical analysis, there’s still only one stat that really matters at the end of a football match: the amount of points your team has earned.
Norwich City resume their season knowing that regardless of the three months of limbo the Premier League is emerging from, their target remains the same.
The Canaries realistically need 15 points from a possible 27 to have a chance of staying up. That would see Daniel Farke’s team finish on 36 points, the average total required for survival across the past 10 top-flight campaigns – although teams finishing 17th have actually averaged 38.
That’s the equivalent of four wins and three draws from nine matches, for a team which had won just five prior to the coronavirus pandemic bringing a suspension of sporting battle. That’s why Farke has described the need for a “little miracle”.
How have City found themselves in that position though?
The easiest place to start is that they’ve scored a joint league low of 25 goals so far, tied with Newcastle after 29 games. Teemu Pukki may have a very respectable 11 to his name and Todd Cantwell an impressive six, but seven other players are on just one, alongside an own goal from Serge Aurier during the 2-2 home draw with Spurs - which was forced by Pukki.
Pukki would have been on 12, were it not for an arguably inconclusive VAR decision denying him a fine goal during the first half of that game against Tottenham, which would have put City 2-0 up. Let’s not go there though.
At the other end of the pitch, it’s only survival rivals Aston Villa who have conceded more (56) than the 52 let in by Norwich and Southampton so far.
Canaries fans will point to the defensive injury crisis which so disrupted the momentum of a squad which was so deservedly promoted as champions - which has struck again at a worrying time, leaving Timm Klose and Ben Godfrey as the only senior centre-back options and with little cover for Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis at full-back.
However, take a little peak at Understat.com and the expected goals (XG) column hints at why City supporters aren’t giving up on hope of a great escape just yet, where their algorithms suggest Farke’s team could have had another seven goals to their name.
Their methods show Norwich as having a better XG than both Newcastle and Crystal Palace, of just above 32 goals. When you look back at a season which has featured 14 games that have either ended in a draw or a one-goal defeat, those mythical seven goals could have gone a long way to this restart having a very different complexion.
The only way is forward though, so it’s about setting sights on closing that six-point gap to safety and making the most of five home games against teams all currently placed no higher than 10th, knowing that trips to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all lie in wait as well.
In the meantime, here are the vital statistics of the City players so far...
Pukki - 11
Todd Cantwell - 6
Drmic, Hernandez, Lewis, McLean, Srbeny, Tettey, Vrancic - 1
Buendia - 7
Pukki - 3
Cantwell - 2
Cantwell - 29 (4 as sub)
Pukki - 28
McLean - 28 (3)
Aarons - 6
Buendia, Byram, Cantwell, Hanley, Krul, McLean, Stiepermann, Tettey - 4
Godfrey - 1
MATCH STATS (per game)
AERIAL DUELS WON
McLean - 3
Hanley - 2.9
Byram - 2.5
Trybull - 2.6
Duda - 2.4
Byram - 2.4
Hanley - 2.1
Tettey - 1.5
Byram - 1.5
PASS SUCCESS AVERAGE
Trybull - 92.5pc
Godfrey - 89.5pc
Tettey - 88pc
Duda - 1.7
Buendia - 1.3
Aarons - 0.5
Pukki - 0.5
Hernandez - 0.4
Drmic - 0.2
SHOTS PER GAME
Pukki - 2.6
Cantwell - 1.3
Buendia - 1.1
- Stats from PremierLeague.com and WhoScored.com
- You can follow all the action with our Canaries correspondents at pinkun.com as usual, with updates before, during and after games in our Matchday Live blog, as well as a match report and full analysis and reaction after the final whistle.
- And watch out for a Zoom call we’ll be hosting at midday on Saturday to discuss all the fallout from the Southampton game with City supporters. Click here to register.