Stat’s life – and I nor Norwich City can deny it

I love a stat – it’s something of a guilty pleasure. And not only in the ‘handed a sheet of paper with every Premier League fact you’d ever like to know’ way – which, for the record, is great.

No, I don’t mind rifling through the records trying to work out if a random feeling for something is backed by numbers, falls down or simply says nothing at all.

On Saturday City finally shook off the one statistic that was genuinely becoming tiresome – that lack of a clean sheet.

The fact it came against Chelsea almost said how meaningless the stat was, even though it backed up a few defensive worries from supporters and pundits alike.

But has defensive fortitude ever been key to Paul Lambert’s two and a half years of success at Carrow Road? Those late come-backs and never say die victories – more than a few came with City already being behind, as the description suggests. City have played exciting, open football through most of that time – mixing it up more than ever this season; goals scored, rather than conceded, was almost always the talking point.

Saturday was City’s first goalless draw at Carrow Road since Walsall visited for Lambert’s second league game in charge – September 5, 2009.

And as the little table at the bottom of all this includes, the Canaries’ Championship success came with a formidable record for goals rather than against.

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Colchester at home, Manchester City away – they are all in there.

But regardless of the numbers and patterns, there is no doubt Saturday’s result came by way of an excellent defensive performance.

And that tells me the Canaries are making big steps forward at the back – more so than a nil.

• The Canaries’ case for the defence…

• League One 2009-10

Conceded 47 goals from 46 games Goals conceded per game – 1.022 (ranked third out of 24 teams)

Best: Leeds/Millwall – 44 from 46 – 0.957

Worst: Stockport – 95 from 46 – 2.065

(City top scorers in the division with 89)

• Championship 2010-11

Conceded 58 from 46 – 1.261 (ranked eighth out of 24)

Best: QPR 32 from 46 – 0.696

Worst: Scunthorpe 87 from 46 – 1.891

(City top scorers in the division with 83)

• Premier League 2011-12 (from 22 games)

Conceded 36 (15th out of 20) – 1.636

Best: Man City 18 from 22 – 0.818

And the worst…

Bolton – 47 from 22 – 2.136

Wigan – 45 from 22 – 2.045

Blackburn – 45 from 22 – 2.045

Wolves – 40 from 22 – 1.818

QPR – 37 from 22 – 1.682

(Only Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Blackburn can currently top the Canaries’ 32-goal tally this season)