Fulham warned about Norwich City’s aerial threat
Fulham be warned – Norwich City are still using their heads to better effect than any other Premier League team.
The Canaries have scored 15 times with headers this season in just 30 league matches, a rate of one every other game and more than a third of their total of 41 goals, the highest percentage in the top flight.
Only Manchester United have matched City’s total with 15 of their 74 goals coming from headers.
Proving that two heads are better than one, skipper Grant Holt and Steve Morison have each scored five times with headers.
And though Holt’s classic effort in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Wolves was more about poetry than power, it has been a vintage season for manager Paul Lambert’s air force.
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Former City striker Iwan Roberts, whose aerial power was a feature at Carrow Road for seven years, said quality delivery and bravery in the penalty area were the key ingredients.
“With Morison and Holt you have two players who are strong in the air and with two natural wingers coming into the squad last summer you are getting good delivery into the box, as well as good service from the full-backs and from set-pieces,” he said.
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Lambert has said that he places no special emphasis in training on the aerial assault, however.
“I don’t suppose he would,” said Roberts. “It’s not as if City are playing like Wimbledon or Watford years ago when they were constantly bombarding teams with high balls into the box.
“And it’s not a team full of 6ft-plus players. It’s to do with good quality service and a willingness to get on the end of things.
“It’s about good movement and players hungry to get goals and prepared to take an elbow in the head.
“Grant Holt’s goal at Liverpool was the perfect example. He desperately wanted to score and even with three players around him he got there first.”
Holt, City’s top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions this season, will be missing when the Canaries visit Craven Cottage on Saturday (3pm), serving a one-match ban after being sent off against Wolves.
But Fulham have already been on the receiving end of the Canaries’ aerial threat once this season, when Simeon Jackson headed the equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time as the two sides drew 1-1 on New Year’s Eve.