The numbers behind City’s dominance of Birmingham - as a Farke era high is achieved
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City reached new levels of dominance under Daniel Farke as they beat Birmingham, attempting more passes than during any previous league match of the German’s reign.
Blues manager Aitor Karanka took inspiration from his former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho as he tried to ‘park the bus’ at Carrow Road, with a 5-4-1 formation that was so close to leaving the Canaries hugely frustrated.
Mario Vrancic found the breakthrough less than two minutes after midfielder Adam Clayton had been sent off for a second booking in the 86th minute.
It ensured that a remarkable 773 passes did not go to waste - the most attempted in a game during the Farke era and with an accuracy rate of 90 percent, which City have bettered just once during that time.
Previously the most passes attempted under Farke was 749, during the 4-0 away win over a struggling Bolton in the Championship in February 2019, which emphasises the similar pattern after Birmingham sat deep.
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The most managed in the Premier League last season was 635 in the 1-0 home win over Bournemouth and it was also more than double the 363 attempted during the 1-0 win at Huddersfield during the opening weekend of this campaign.
In comparison, Manchester City were the top passers in the Premier League last season, with 693 per game, ahead of champions Liverpool (628) and in the Championship it was Fulham with 534. So far this season Norwich average 550.
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The only other time a pass accuracy rate of 90pc was managed was also during a 1-0 home win, as Middlesbrough were beaten by a Tom Trybull goal in January 2018 after being reduced to 10 men midway through the first half - during Farke’s first season in charge.
It was Lukas Rupp leading the way, with a 95pc pass success rate, as the only player on the pitch to break into three figures with 113 passes attempted - more than the 90 the Blues’ starting midfield four managed combined.
City have only managed higher than their overall possession of 73pc in three matches under Farke, according to WhoScored.com.
Despite that, and with Jordan Hugill joined by fellow striker Teemu Pukki in a supporting role, it was the fewest shots on target (four) during the six league games this season but the most shots (23), highlighting a need for more accurate finishing if momentum is to build.
However, ahead of Wednesday’s five games in the Championship, Norwich now top the division’s average possession ranking with 58.7pc, clear of Stoke on 54.5pc, and the pass accuracy percentage with 83.4pc, ahead of Derby on 80.3pc.
They’ve also moved ahead of Blackburn with an average of 16.7 shots per game but still trail Rovers’ average of 7.2 shots on target per game, with 5.2 so far.
Statistics can only provide indicators of a team’s form and style of play but there is plenty for Canaries fans to savour during these early stages, with the widely held belief that there is plenty of potential yet to be realised in Farke’s revamped squad, as confidence continues to be rebuilt after a difficult year in the Premier League.