Iwan Roberts: Number crunching the Canaries' biggest test so far

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke and Marco Stiepermann of Norwich at the end of the Sky Bet Champions

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke and Marco Stiepermann, who scored the only goal of the game against Swansea when the sides met in November - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The clash against third-placed Swansea tonight promises to be one humdinger of a game - I just wish I was working down at The Liberty Stadium.

Sadly, as we’re still unable to travel I’ll be glued to the TV for this one, like thousands of you. 

Norwich go into this game on the back of a disappointing few days, having had consecutive goalless draws in the league, and if we’re honest, without too much being created against both Middlesbrough and Millwall. 

Add to that the team's failure to score up at Barnsley a couple of weeks ago and that’s now 284 minutes since Jordan Hugill scored his second against Bristol City. 

The last time Norwich failed to score in three consecutive Championship games was way back in March 2008 when they drew blanks against Coventry, Stoke and Sheffield United, under Glenn Roeder. 

Talisman Teemu Pukki hasn’t scored a goal from open play since his brace up at Ewood Park on December 12 and that has to be a concern, especially with Hugill sidelined for a few weeks. I know he’s missed a few games through injury and once he’s fully fit and back up to speed he’ll soon find himself amongst the goals again. 

The team’s in a bit of a slump at the minute, but one I’m convinced they will soon come out of with the quality they have, so there’s no need to press the panic button just yet. It's still just two defeats in 23 league games with the club still top of the Championship.

Tim Krul of Norwich makes a save from a shot on goal by Jamal Lowe of Swansea City during the Sky Be

Tim Krul was in top form when Swansea came to Carrow Road in November - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Back on November 7,  Norwich won a very tight game against Swansea thanks to a Marco Stiepermann goal in the 84th minute, and I thought they were fortunate to win on the day with Swansea just shading proceedings, but finding Tim Krul in unbeatable form. 

Swansea boss on crunch clash

Steve Cooper’s men are flying and playing with so much confidence right now. They had a great transfer window, bringing in the experienced Conor Hourihane and USA internationals Jordan Morris and Paul Arriola.

After smashing five against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago, Swansea, for the first time this season, scored three in a league game when they beat Rotherham last Saturday. It's fair to say this Swansea team’s main strength is the way they defend, with former Canary Ryan Bennett's experience so influential in that back three. He’s been outstanding since signing from Wolves. 

This Swansea team have conceded just 15 goals in their 26 Championship games, keeping 14 clean sheets while doing so. Since going to three at the back on July 7 against Sheffield Wednesday, Swansea have gone from strength to strength and have lost just six of the 34 games they’ve played. Three of those defeats have come against Norwich, Brentford in the play-offs and, Leeds (now a Premier League team). 

Swansea’s home form has been up there with the best in the league. They’ve lost just the once at The Liberty this season, and are now unbeaten there in their last 10 Championship games. In their 13 home games this season Swansea have kept eight clean sheets and conceded just six goals. However, they’ve scored just 16 goals in those 13 games, not exactly what you’d call prolific. 

Steve Cooper and Daniel Farke deserve so much credit for the work they’ve done at their respective clubs. Their footballing philosophies are very similar and their recruitment of players has been top notch. This promises to be one of, if not the, games of the season in the Championship.  There’s going to be so many eyes on this one and I for one can’t wait for kick-off. 

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