Aug 312013

Norwich vs Southampton, 15:00

– Despite holding a man advantage over Hull for over an hour, Norwich were not able to capitalize and found themselves on the end of 1-0 defeat to the Premier League newcomers. Record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel had only one chance of any real purpose on goal and Chris Hughton will be hoping his summer squad additions will be able to generate more opportunities against a Southampton side which has conceded in it’s last two fixtures.

– Ricky van Wolfswinkel may have been brought in for his clinical finishing but Chris Hughton will be expecting much greater discretion from him in defense as the season progresses. He is joint first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls committed with 8.

– Midfielder Jonny Howson has been the lynchpin through which Norwich’s attacking play has functioned this season, establishing an impressive average rate of a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.2 minutes.

– Nathan Redmond has been one of the surprise packages for the Canaries so far this campaign. The 19 year old leads the Norwich squad for attacking contributions (cross, assist, dribble, shot on target) with 14.

– A late header from centre-back Jose Fonte rescued a point for Southampton as they scraped to a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland. Mauricio Pochettino’s side dominated the match for large periods but will be expecting much more clinical conversion of chances from his side this weekend.

– Despite clearly knowing how to put the ball in the back of the net on last week’s evidence, Jose Fonte certainly knows how to perform his primary role equally as effectively. He leads the league for defensive contributions (clearances, interceptions, blocks, tackles won) so far this season.

– Rickie Lambert looks to have taken tremendous confidence from his recent England call-up, so far ranking joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total attempts on goal with 9. A relatively solid 55.5% of these have been on target.

– It surely won’t be long before James Ward-Prowse starts to grab the attention of the England management team after his roaring start to the season for the Saints. The young midfielder currently tops the league for crosses delivered with 7. With his Southampton teammate, and aerial presence, Rickie Lambert already in the England setup, Roy Hodgson may well see the value in having another solid provider of the ball in the ranks.

– Saints fans will be excited to see how Calum Chambers develops in the coming seasons, as despite being the joint youngest player in the squad along with Luke Shaw, he has quickly established an excellent tackles success rate of 75% from 4 challenges.

Aug 242013

Hull vs Norwich, 15:00

– Hull struggled to contain a revitalised Chelsea side on their return to the Premier League, eventually falling to a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Steve Bruce did see his side rally impressively after the break though which will have raised spirits ahead of this weekend’s clash with Norwich.

– Robbie Brady caught the eye of many with an impressive display on Sunday, a lack of fear when taking on the Blue juggernaut a pleasing sight for Steve Bruce no doubt. The 21 year old currently leads the Hull squad for attacking contributions with 6.

– Scottish keeper Allan McGregor’s brush with the newly installed goalline technology clearly didn’t hamper his ability to keep Chelsea’s array of attacking talents at bay. McGregor managed 4 saves at Stamford Bridge, keeping the scoreline to a respectable 2-0.

– James Chester was as enthusiastic a defender as ayn in the league last weekend, the young Englishman committing to a joint 1st 4 blocks according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

– Steve Bruce will clearly be looking to turn to Ahmed Elmohamady as his general in the engine room this season, the Egyptian turning in an impressive display in a losing effort. Elmohamady racked up squad highs for both passes completed in the opponent’s half and interceptions, with 28 and 5 respectively.

– A powerful Ricky van Wolfswinkel header gave Norwich a share of the spoils against against Everton at Carrow Road. ‘The Wolf’ will no doubt be seeking to give Norwich fans another taste of why Chris Hughton made him a club record signing against Hull this weekend.

– Young midfielder Nathan Redmond was amongst Norwich’s most active attackers last weekend, taking it to the Everton defence with a league-high 6 dribbles. Canaries fans will be hoping his confidence with the ball at his feet continues in the coming weeks.

– Somewhat surprisingly, despite what is being hailed as a solid debut capped by a fine goal, Van Wolfswinkel’s only attempt on goal throughout his 83 minutes on the field was his header to beat Tim Howard. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, along with Swansea’s Wilfried Bony, this was the lowest number of attempts on goal by a striker who scored last weekend.

– Bradley Johnson’s last campaign was defined largely by his brushes with the officials, as he found his hard-tackling style drawing more attention that he would have liked. The combative midfielder looks to have worked on this over the summer though, conceding just two fouls against Everton and winning 60% of his 5 attempted challenges.

– Sebastian Bassong was one of Norwich’s standout defenders last season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. However it was Michael Turner who stepped up to the plate against Everton, recording an excellent, squad-high 12 interceptions. This is a big jump from his figures last season where he averaged just 4.4 interceptions per game.

May 192013

Manchester City v Norwich 16:00


Manchester City recorded their first win following the dismissal of Roberto Mancini on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over Reading. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko both got on the scoresheet as City begin their planning their title challenge for next season.


Yaya Toure will likely end the a highly impressive season as Manchester City’s most influential midfield player, having now completed a staggering 1269 passes in the opponent’s half. This places him second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index but he has the best minute per pass ratio of any player in the league, completing one on average every 2.30 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.


– Despite struggling to hold down his place in the team this season, Joleon Lescott has made a healthy contribution to the Manchester City cause this term. He’s made a solid 124 defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions and successful tackles) at a squad-best rate of, on average, one every 12.9 minutes.


– After some turbulent moments under Roberto Mancini, Carlos Tevez has shown his worth with some excellent performances this season. The Argentinian’s footballing ability has never been in doubt and he has knuckled down as the season has progressed to record a combined 25 goals and assists, a squad best.


– A free-flowing Norwich performance saw them record one of their biggest wins of the season with a 4-0 victory over West Brom. Goals from season standouts Robert Snodgrass and Grant Holt, as well as a top drawer strike from Jonny Howson, completed the rout for Chris Hughton’s side.


Robert Snodgrass’ goal capped a fine season for the Scottish midfielder. Snodgrass has been one of the shining light for Chris Hughton’s side, regularly driving their play forward as well as helping out in defence. He’s completed a massive 726 passes in the opponent’s half as well as contributing defensively 147 times, a figure surpassed only by Bradley Johnson amongst Norwich’s other midfielders.


Sebastian Bassong remains Norwich’s standout defender as the season draws to a close. He leads the Norwich squad across numerous categories according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, including clearances (83), interceptions (138) and blocks (21).


– Although the Norwich faithful will most often turn to Grant Holt when in need of a goal, Kei Kamara has also been a solid option for the Canaries up front. The striker has one of the best minutes per shot rate of any Norwich player this season, racking up an attempt on goal on average once every 41.9 minutes he’s been on the field of play.

May 122013

Norwich v West Brom, 15:00


Norwich lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in their last league game, with Grant Holt converting a penalty won by Robert Snodgrass.


Snodgrass again looked Norwich’s most dangerous player, delivering 9 crosses against Villa, the most by a single player in the last round of games. That takes his total for the season to 145, 8 clear of Leighton Baines who is the second ranked with 137.


Javier Garrido, meanwhile, has been equally dangerous with his delivery for Norwich, delivering 67 crosses from the full back position, the second highest from a defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Sebastian Bassong remains at the top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances made with 83, one ahead of Jonas Olsson of West Brom as the race to finish the season top of that particular ranking continues.


Bassong is joined by Bradley Johnson and Grant Holt in excelling in this criteria. Johnson is the top ranked midfielder for clearances this season with 33, and Holt is joint top among the strikers with 31 clearances this season. If West Brom are to beat Norwich they will need to look beyond balls into the box, or avoid these three players.


West Brom will be looking for an upturn in form after losing two games in four days – 3-2 against Wigan and 1-0 against Man City.


Shane Long and Gareth McAuley were both on target against Wigan, but on this occasion two goals at home weren’t enough for a point.


Long’s goal was his 8th of the season, having come from 41 shots with 20 on target, averaging a goal every 5.125 shots this season, a ratio that isn’t far from league top scorer Robin van Persie who average one every 5.04 shots.


McAuley’s was his third of the season, having come from 20 shots at goal, although his defensive stats are more impressive having made 171 interceptions so far this season.


– Despite being on the wrong end of the 1-0 scoreline against Man City West Brom actually got more shots on target than any other team has at the Etihad this season, Romelu Lukaku creating four chances for his team mates, more than he has in any other game this season.

May 042013

Norwich v Aston Villa, 15:00 


Norwich remain adrift of mathematical safety after a 1-0 loss to Stoke in their last match. 


Ryan Bennett did his best to prevent that result, making 18 interceptions against Stoke, the joint highest in the last round of games. 


Bennett has now made 36 interceptions this season, part of 65 defensive contributions overall across tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances. Those stats are impressive considering Bennett has played just 862 minutes this season, averaging a defensive intervention every 13 minutes and 16 seconds. 


Norwich has worked tirelessly in the tackle this season, and are one of three teams in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have two players who have attempted 100 or more tackles this season. Both Robert Snodgrass (123 attempted, 56% won) and Bradley Johnson (112 attempted 52.6% won) feature. 


Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone in stunning fashion on Monday night with a 6-1 victory over Sunderland on Monday night.  


Christian Benteke boosted his growing reputation with a quick fire hat trick, while Ron Vlaar, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann added to the tally. 


Those goals took Benteke’s tally for the season to 18, fourth in the race for Premier League top scorer. Benteke’s goals have come at a rate of one every 5.67 shots, and one every 158 minutes 43 seconds. Of the Premier League’s top five goal scorers only Robin van Persie has a more efficient shots per goal ratio with 4.88 shots per goal.  


Benteke also has the best shots on target percentage of the league’s top ten goalscorers, getting 69.8% of his 102 shots so far this season on target. 


Agbonlahor’s goal was his seventh of the season, though the striker has been shying away from shooting in order to support Benteke and the team defensively. Agbonlahor has had just 32 shots at goal this season, though he has converted when it counts, averaging a goal every 4.57 shots, better than Robin van Persie’s rate of a goal every 4.88 shots.

Apr 202013

Norwich v Reading, 15:00


Norwich came within five minutes of beating Arsenal at the Emirates in their last league outing just to find themselves undone by a late salvo from the Gunner and leave on the end of a 3-1 defeat.


Michael Turner’s 56th minute goal had given the travelling Canaries fans reason to cheer, but they now find themselves just four points clear of the relegation zone ahead of what could be a vital game against bottom club Reading.


– That was Turner’s third goal of the season, despite having had just nine efforts at goal. Turner has been more effective in employing his defensive duties this season, making 114 interceptions, 47 clearances and 20 blocks.


Robert Snodgrass has had a strong first season for Norwich, though he may be forgiven for being frustrated that his hard work hasn’t come to more. Of the 38 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index who have had 50 or more shots at goal this season, Snodgrass is one of six to have a return of just five or fewer goals to his name. However, with a 63% on target rating more goals will surely come for the former Leeds winger.


Snodgrass is also the leading player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance for crosses delivered this season with 128, 13 more than Leighton Baines and 20 more than Gareth Bale. Those crosses have resulted in 6 assists.


Snodgrass has also won 66 tackles this season, the fifth highest for a midfielder in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Alex McCarthy drew all the plaudits after a string of sensational saves in Reading’s last game to earn them a 0-0 draw against Liverpool. McCarthy made 12 saves in total, the sixth highest by a goalkeeper in a single game in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this season.


– That takes McCarthy’s number of saves this season to 67 from just 766 minutes of football. With most goalkeepers having played around 3,000 minutes this season, that would take McCarthy to the top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for saves this season if he had averaged the same performances for the whole season.


– At the other end of the pitch Noel Hunt and Jobi McAnuff both brought the best out in McCarthy’s Liverpool counterpart Pepe Reina. Hunt has two goals to his name this season, though he has had just 14 shots at goal this season with 10 on target.


McAnuff, meanwhile, is running out of time to break his Premier League duck, still being goalless despite 31 shots at goal with 20 on target.


Adam le Fondre has been stuck on ten goals this season for a long time, but still boasts the best shots per goal rating in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for those hitting ten goals this season, needing just 4.3 shots per goal, something Norwich will need to be wary of.

Apr 132013

Arsenal v Norwich, 15:00


Tomas Rosicky grabbed both goals as Arsenal held on with ten men to beat West Brom 1-2 at The Hawthorns last weekend.


Santi Cazorla is not only Arsenal’s most efficient passer of the ball, he’s also their most consistent threat on goal. He sits joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for shots on target this season with 66, a full 21 more than his nearest squad rival Theo Walcott. To illustrate his attacking influence this season, the only midfielder in the league who’s been regularly testing opposition keepers more than Cazorla is the potential PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale with 82 on target attempts.


– Arsenal will likely have the bulk of possession this weekend and so be able to cause Norwich’s defence numerous problems in the final third. They have two of the most accurate passers in the league in the shape of Cazorla and Mikel Arteta, who between them have raced up an incredible 1227 successful passes in the opponent’s half.


Theo Walcott appears to be maturing into the player that many knew he could be when he arrived at Arsenal from Southampton in 2006. He has been one of the Gunners’ most dangerous players this season, racking up a squad-high 12 assists and 21 dribbles.


Norwich were left hovering above the relegation zone as they failed to hold on to their lead and succumbed to a 2-2 draw last time out at home to Swansea.


Robert Snodgrass was praised last weekend for staying on feet and trying to hard to deliver a killer ball rather than attempt to win a penalty. It is that honest work ethic which has seen him become by far Norwich’s most dangerous attacker this season, and surely the man most likely to test the Gunners this weekend. He’s amassed 126 crosses this season, double that of his nearest team mate Anthony Pilkington, as well as 5 assists.


– Remarkably the Scottish midfielder has also attempted more tackles than any other Canaries player with 115, being successful 57.4%, showcasing his commitment to the cause and willingness to track back. This could also be key this weekend as he lines up against an Arsenal midfield which will no doubt dictate possession for large parts of the game.


– Norwich fans will have been excited to read about John Ruddy’s impending return from injury this week. The big stopper had made 74 saves before injury sidelined him back in November, an average of one every 16.5 minutes.

Mar 302013

Wigan v Norwich 15:00


Wigan claimed a 2-1 victory over Newcastle last time out, a last minute Arouna Kone bagging the Lactics a vital three points given their current predicament at the foot of the Premier League.


– Roberto Martinez will be looking for much greater defensive consistency from Franco Di Santo when he chooses to get involved in tracking back in the latter stages of the season. The striker has conceded more fouls than any other Lactics player with 40.


James McCarthy has been at the centre of so much of Wigan’s play this season. Not only has he made a solid 190 defensive contributions, he’s also completed 717 passes in the opponent’s half, the highest in the Wigan squad, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Look for Jean Beausejour to be testing the aerial ability of Norwich’s defenders this weekend. He’s delivered more crosses than any other Wigan player this year with 102 to his name.


Norwich survived being reduced to ten men to battle through against Sunderland and emerge with a point after Wesley Hoolahan’s first-half goal earned them a 1-1 draw.


Robert Snodgrass remains Norwich’s main attacking threat as me move closer to the season run-in. He’s had more attempts on the goal than any of his colleagues (56) an has on average taken just 76 minutes to have an on-target effort on goal whilst he’s been on the pitch, the lowest in the squad.


– When on the pitch Wesley Hoolahan has been on hand to help out Snodgrass and taken some of the attacking duties off of his shoulders. On average he’s taken just 3.9 minutes to complete a pass in the opponent’s half during the time he’s played this season.


Sebastian Bassong remains as one of Norwich’s main defensive leader’s this season, his excellent reading of the game providing him with 110 interceptions.

Mar 192013

Seven full internationals started for Sunderland against Norwich City. Pete Sixsmithcould be forgiven for wondering whether it was San Marino they had all played for until the manager decided they weren’t quite up to it. This is not the place to come on if your spirits need lifting. It is, however, as incisive an analysis of what is wrong at Sunderland as you’ll find  …

Thank goodness that weekend is over. Work will seem a welcome release after sitting through two games that were as exciting as a plank warping contest at a paint drying convention.

Alloa Athletic and Brechin City didn’t matter much as John Penman and I traversed the back lanes of Fife and Clackmannanshire looking for a game. Brechin managed a single goal, the Wasps not one in a game that was of little significance.


Fast forward 22 hours and there I was at the Stadium of Light telling Katy Gornall and a Late Kick Off camera crew that I was confident that we would win, that a win would settle our nerves and that relegation was a worry rather than a fear.

That was at 12.45. When I spoke to her again at 3.30pm, the optimism had gone the same way as the fleeting Sunday morning sunshine and, as cold rain began to fall, a cold chill crept along my spine as I remembered past relegations that looked unlikely.

For make no mistake, we are down among the dead men, where the brave prosper and the weak go under. The Darwinian end of the Premier League is one we have flirted with in the past but have had sufficient quality and spirit to stay out of. This time, we appear to be lacking both.

This was a truly dreadful display where the players seemed to have little idea of how to win it and also little inclination to go that extra mile. Not one of them did anything to enhance his reputation and some did themselves more harm than good with sloppy, lazy performances that had the crowd gasping at the ineptitude of it all.

The goal we gave away was indicative of our slipshod approach to this vital game. A needless corner was given away. A routine defensive header was missed from the cross, allowing Kamara to flick the ball on. Hoolahan (all of 5ft 6ins) was unmarked in the box and headed home.

Training ground routine for Norwich, absolute shambles for us. Does anybody look around and say “Who’s got him?”

Does anyone in our defence take any responsibility for marking and picking up? Do we practise defending corners? Probably not, as we don’t appear to have anybody who can take an accurate one. Awful.

We were handed a lifeline a few minutes later when their keeper was sent off for handball outside the box. Looked a good call by Chris Foy to me but we hardly took advantage of it as Norwich just worked that bit harder to make up the one man deficiency.

And if that helping hand wasn’t enough, Bassong then gave away a penalty which Gardner converted with the kind of authority that was so missing in our general play.

The second half exposed all of our weaknesses. There was a complete lack of pace and creativity from our midfield. Vaughan and Larsson were dreadful, turning back all the time, misplacing passes and never once looking as if they could get the better of depleted opponents.

Sessegnon was back to his form of the autumn where he looked like the 234th best player in Benin, while Johnson had a few decent touches but crossing reminiscent of Brian Usher or Tony Cullen on a bad day. He was taken off again and must be beginning to see his international career (and Premier League one) going down the pan.

Up front Graham and Fletcher, who we hoped could be footballing equivalent of Morecambe and Wise or Fry and Laurie, were more like Mike and Bernie Winters, who once appeared at the Glasgow Empire, a notorious graveyard for London based “comics”. After Mike’s opening routine had had all the impact of a Seb Larsson corner, Bernie appeared on stage, prompting a Glaswegian, intoxicated by Bucky and filled up with Tunnock’s Snowballs to utter the immortal line “F****** hell, there’s two of the b*******”.” After today, I know how the inebriated Glaswegian felt.

Graham missed a good chance just before the end of the first half, while Fletcher did very little and was comfortably shackled by one Michael Turner.

The returning Turner looked positively world class compared with the three central defenders that we fielded. John O’Shea must surely be the worst passer of the ball to have played for Sir Alex Ferguson. For the umpteenth game he gave it away so regularly that we began to think he suffers from colour blindness and has a visual block about anything in red and white stripes.

Carlos Cuellar did ok and continued to show that he is very good at recovering from slips, errors and misplaced passes. Of course, we could ask why he makes those errors in the first place thereby obviating the need to recover so well.

And then there is Titus Bramble, who came on in the second half and summed up this half hearted, ragged, incoherent squad with a performance that contained both the sublime and the ridiculous. Two thundering tackles and a couple of strong headers were cancelled out by allowing Grant Holt almost to win it for City, and a series of aimlessly booted clearances that would have been better suited to Cockton Hill Rec and the Wear Valley Sunday League.

Where do we go now? The prospects are not good. The next four games are difficult verging on the impossible. Should that grim prediction prove to be correct, we will be in the bottom three and heading for a one way ticket to Palookaville.

The paucity of our squad is now being well and truly shown up. The poor buys that Steve Bruce made combined with the disappointing ones that O’Neill has brought to the club (only Fletcher and Rose of his signings were there at the end) leaves us with a squad that is a long way short of genuine Premier League quality.

We have eight games left to save the top-flight place that we won back six years ago. Southampton and Stoke should be winnable games. But the mood around the place is an unhappy one and the crowd have had enough of these turgid, tiresome tactics. I can’t see the Season Ticket Renewal staff getting much overtime this year.

And if we do stay up, what do we do next season? Does the owner stick with O’Neill or does he say “Thanks very much” and start yet another search for the visionary who will lead us back to the Promised Land?

I wish I knew.

Mar 172013

Sunderland v Norwich, 13:30


Sunderland fell to 3-1 defeat away to a rejuvenated QPR last time out, another Steven Fletcher goal proving not enough to knock the will from their opponents who battled back after falling behind. It was a result that put pressure on Sunderland to avoid being drawn into a relegation battle and they will looking to recover quickly at home this weekend.


Steven Fletcher continues to be Sunderland primary threat of goal, despite increasing help from midfield from the like of Stephane Sessegnon and Adam Johnson. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has an excellent shot accuracy rate of 75.5% from 49 attempts on goal, converting that sharp shooting into 11 goals so far this season.


– Some of Carlos Cuellars’ defensive work has been outstanding this season. The imposing Spaniard has an excellent tackle success rate of 86.8% from 53 attempted challenges.


– Pacy winger Stephane Sessegnon has been more than happy to test out opposition defences this season and Norwich’s back four will have to be aware of the threat he poses. He currently sits third on the EA SPORTS for dribbles with 39.


Norwich battled to a 0-0 draw against Southampton last weekend, after Grant Holt saw a late penalty saved by Artur Boruc. Chris Hughton will be looking to see his side try and grind out another result this weekend to help ease any lingering fears of relegation around the club.


Robert Snodgrass has been vital as a creative force for Norwich this season, consistently moving forward with purpose into dangerous attacking positions. He’s also found space to plays others into those positions, having completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 4 minutes he’s been on the field this season.


– Look for defender Russell Martin to potentially be crucial to preventing the at times dangerous Sunderland attack from gaining any kind of momentum. He has one of the best tackle success rates in the Norwich squad, completing 68.2% of his 44 attempted challenges, conceding only 10 fouls.


Grant Holt will likely lead the line for Norwich this weekend, having done so to great effect for much of the season to date. His 5 goals represents the highest total in the Canaries squad, bolstered by his solid on-target accuracy of 62.2% from 37 shots.

Mar 082013

Norwich v Southampton, Saturday 15:00


Norwich found themselves on the end of a heavy defeat at Old Trafford last weekend, as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Man Utd. It was a dominant display by the Red Devils but Norwich’s industry and attitude will have given their manager plenty of hope ahead of Southampton’s visit this weekend.


Robert Snodgrass continues to be Norwich’s main creative fulcrum this season, completing a squad-high 595 passes in the opponent’s half, at a rate of one every 3.9 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Some of Norwich’s more defensive-minded players have certainly had plenty to occupy their thoughts this season, but they have been stepping up to the challenge. The Norwich squad now boasts 7 players who have made more than 100 defensive contributions (Snodgrass, Bassong, Garrido, Johnson, Martin, Turner, Tettey)


Bradley Johnson unfortunately continues to concede fouls at a higher rate than Chris Hughton will likely be happy with. He currently sits 5th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 48 fouls.


Grant Holt remains one of Norwich’s most consistent threats on goal this season, the imposing frontman boasting the lowest minutes per shot rate in the Norwich squad for players with more than 5 attempts. Holt has had a shot on target once every 86.2 minutes this season.


Southampton’s survival prospects were dealt a blow as they could not prevent QPR taking all three points back to London in a 1-2 defeat. Gaston Ramirez’s solitary goal will have provided scant consolation and the Saints will be desperate to claim a win this weekend.


– Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been garnering rave reviews for his all action performances this season, and has the stats to back them up. His 13 successful tackles last weekend was the highest by any player in a single match this season.


Scheneiderlin can also boast a record of 533 successful passes in the opponent’s half, the highest in the Southampton squad, at a rate of 4.8 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Portuguese defender Jose Fonte has been once of the defensive lynchpins in the Southampton side this season and has continued this form as we approach the run-in. He’s made a squad-leading 226 defensive contributions including an exceptional 150 interceptions


– Southampton will be looking to Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana to be the providers from the flanks this weekend. Between the two of them they have combined for 85 crosses this season.

Mar 012013

Manchester United v Norwich, Saturday 15:00


– A goal from Ryan Giggs on his 999th professional appearance and a quite stunning strike from Rafael capped an excellent all round performance for Manchester Utd, a 2-0 win which puts the Premier League even more firmly within their grasp.


Rafael’s superb goal against QPR came as little surprise given his level of talent, although it was slightly against the grain in terms of his general form in front of goal this season. He only has a 57.1% accuracy rate from 14 attempts shots according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index so he’ll be looking to use his wonder strike to kick on to bigger things.


– Man Utd will be hoping the knock picked up by Robin van Persie will prove not to be too serious, given the incredible statistics the Dutchman continues to compile. He’s had a shot on target once every 42.9 minutes, as well as contributing 43 crosses and 11 assists.


Tom Cleverley continues to demonstrate he has the vision and technique to fill the immortal Paul Scholes’ boots when the great man eventually retires.  He’s successful completed one of his 442 passes in the opponent’s half once every 3.1 minutes he’s been on the field of play.


Rio Ferdinand has been joining the ranks of Man Utd’s ever-green veterans of the game with some of his performances this term. He leads the Utd squad for positive defensive contributions with 133.


– Two late goals from Kei Kamara and Grant Holt stunned Everton as Norwich ran out 2-1 winners in a game which moved them further towards Premier League safety.


– With a mammoth tie against Real Madrid on the horizon and a healthy lead in the race for the Premier League title, Man Utd may be tempted to rest a couple of their key starters this weekend. Should this be the case Norwich must not be afraid to take the game to the Red Devils, and Grant Holt would be key to this strategy. The big frontman has the strong accuracy rate in front of goal of any Norwich player, having seen 62.2% of his 37 attempts on goal hit the target.


Holt must be careful with his defence though and try not to surrender possession and momentum to Utd. He’s now overtaken Bradley Johnson as the Norwich player with the most fouls to his name, having now conceded 49 this term.


Sebastian Bassong’s keen ability to read the game with need to be at full sharpness this weekend to combat Utd’s dominant passing game. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him as making 93 interceptions this season, the highest in the Norwich squad.


– Look for Robert Snodgrass to potentially be the deliverer of the final killer ball for Norwich this weekend. No player in the Premier League can boast to have delivered as many crosses as him, his 105 deliveries placing him top of the pile.

Feb 232013

– On a day when clear-cut chances were in very short supply, Norwich could only earn a point in a 0-0 draw against Fulham.


Sebastian Bassong remains Norwich’s defensive rock this season, having made a squad-high 174 positive defensive contributions according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Look for Robert Snodgrass to provide the main focal point of Norwich’s attack against Everton. The winger has provided more crosses than any other Norwich player with 104, and has successfully completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.8 minutes he has been on the pitch.


– Despite being noted more for his defensive capabilities, Bradley Johnson has been more than willing to try his luck in front of goal this season. He ranks joint second in the Canaries squad for attempts on goal with 34.


Anthony Pilkington is another Norwich player who has been showcasing all facets of his game this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index the midfielder has established an excellent 73.1% tackles success rate from 26 attempted challenges.


Everton were unable to halt the Man Utd juggernaut as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford. Tim Howard was one of David Moyes’ star performers in a game were the visitors struggled to impose their will on a Utd side in a rich vein of form.


– Striker Victor Anichebe has been having an extended starting run in the Everton team in recent weeks and has been turning in some solid performances. He’s now racked up an on-target shot on goal once every 48.7 minutes, scoring 5 goals along the way.


– Every week the media delight in the continued rise of Leighton Baines and every week he seems to continue on his incredible run of form, demonstrating his ability in both defence and attack. The England international has a superb 72.3% tackle success rate from 65 challenges and has successfully completed 635 passes in the opponent’s half this season.


– His defensive colleague Phil Jagielka is another who is cementing his reputation as one of the top defenders in the Premier League. The centre-half has a superb 87.9% tackle success rate from 58 challenges, as well as ranking fourth on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions with 159


Marouane Fellaini would do well to learn from his colleagues’ example, as for all his dominance in the middle of the park, he conceding fouls with alarming regularity. He tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 52, conceding a foul on average once every 38.7 minutes.

Feb 092013

Norwich v Fulham 15:00


Norwich battled to a 0-0 draw over QPR last weekend, the Canaries often thwarted by the inspired brilliance of Julio Cesar in the Rangers goal. The result moves Norwich further away from the relegation dogfight, but Chris Hughton will still be seeking more ruthlessness in front of goal this weekend.


– According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, last weekend Robert Snodgrass became the first player in the Premier League to deliver 100 crosses, beating Leighton Baines by a single delivery.


– The importance of the midfielder to Chris Hughton’s side cannot be understated at the moment, given his position as the central creative figure in the team.  He leads the statistics for this Norwich side on numerous fronts, including completing more passes in the opponent’s half than any of his teammates (538), as well as more dribbles (17) and more assists (4).


Sebastian Bassong remains crucial to the Norwich cause this season, flourishing after an extended run of first team football. He has made 63 clearances this season, second only to Leighton Baines, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– The class of Anthony Pilkington moving forward has been on display numerous times this season, but he is proving himself equally adept when it comes to tracking back. His 73% tackle success rate from 26 attempts is the highest in the Norwich squad.


– Fulham fell to a 0-1 defeat at home to Manchester United last weekend, a late winner depriving Martin Jol’s side of what would have been a deserved point.  Despite being exposed at times by the league leaders, Fulham had their fair share of chances and will be looking to pounce on any opportunity in front of goal against Norwich.


Dimitar Berbatov inevitably grabs most of the headlines for Fulham, but his strike partner Bryan Ruiz has been putting in some more than noteworthy performance recently too. He is currently joint seventh on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for assists with 7.


Sascha Reither has also been rightly garnering the plaudits this season, the unheralded signing adapting quickly to life in the Premier League. The German defender has delivered more crosses than any other member of the Fulham squad with 45 and has the second highest tackle success rate amongst right-backs in the Premier League with 76.6.%.


– The defensive pairing of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes have been combining for some impressive performance this season. Betwenn the two of them they have amassed an incredible 242 interceptions and 36 blocks.


– Despite only playing minutes this season, Iranian striker Ashkan Dejagah is already proving himself suited to life in the Premier League. He’s either completed a pass in the opponent’s half or dribbled with the ball once every 4.2 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Jan 302013

Norwich v Tottenham, 19:45


Norwich have now failed to score in their last two Premier League games, including their most recent 5-0 defeat to Liverpool.


The goal drought at Carrow Road isn’t for want of opportunities. Winger Robert Snodgrass has delivered 86 crosses this season, the third highest overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and just two behind the top ranked player Leighton Baines who has delivered 88.


That performance makes Snodgrass Norwich’s top ranked player in 40th overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, thanks to four goals and four assists this season. Snodgrass has also completed 504 passes in the opposition half, averaging one every 3 minutes 41 seconds.


Team mate Anthony Pilkington has also been delivering the crosses this season, and is ranked 6th overall


Another Norwich midfielder doing his best to reverse Norwich’s fortunes is Bradley Johnson. Johnson has been consistently one of the Premier League’s hardest working players over the last two seasons and has now covered 133.62 miles this season, more than any other Norwich player.


A late Clint Dempsey equaliser earnt Spurs a point against league leaders Manchester United in their last game.


Spurs midfielder Sandro has excelled in the role of holding midfielder this season, winning 62 tackles so far, the joint second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index


Moussa Dembele is another Spurs player to sit high in the tackles won ranking. Dembele has won 39 tackles, more than any other forward in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index


Gylfi Sigurdsson will be hoping to end his dry run against Norwich. Sigurdsson has had 29 efforts at goal this season including 15 on target without scoring, more than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Aaron Lennon is enjoying a return to top form this season, and is ranked fourth overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles with 30.


Fellow winger Gareth Bale has been just as dangerous on the other flank, delivering 80 crosses, the fourth highest number in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Jan 182013

Liverpool v Norwich, Saturday 15:00


– An encouraging effort was not enough to prevent Liverpool slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend. New signing Daniel Sturridge made an almost immediate impact after coming on as a substitute, and despite his goal seeming to galvanise Brendan Rogers’ side in the latter part of the match, it was not enough to snatch a draw.


– Liverpool will as ever be looking to the talismanic Luis Suarez to propel towards three points this weekend against Norwich. The dynamic Uruguayan may be slightly wasteful with some of his chances in front of goal, boasting a 59% accuracy rate from 114 attempted shots, but it’s a case of law of averages for him given that he’s scored once from every 7.6 of those attempts on goal.


Suarez remains one of the main men in the Premier League though, placing second only to Robin van Persie in terms of his statistical affect on games this season. He’s notched up a combined 20 goals and assists this season.


Glen Johnson remains the top defender in the Liverpool squad according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this week. The England full-back has won 40 tackles this season, giving him a solid 71.4% success rate.


– His young teammate Andre Wisdom is obviously learning a few things from Johnson and has been justifying the new long-term deal he signed recently by also establishing a 71.4% success rate from 21 attempted challenges.


– Fellow young tyro Raheem Sterling has also been making quite the impression in his debut season in the Premier League. The pacy winger sits third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles with 30, as well as whipping in 34 crosses and notching 4 assists.


– A game of few chances resulted in a 0-0 stalemate between Norwich and Newcastle at Carrow Road last week. While the draw stemmed a run of defeats for Norwich, it was a performance they will be looking to improve upon come this weekend.


Robert Snodgrass continues to carve out opportunities for his teammates, delivering 83 crosses, yet has only managed to register 4 assists, something he will be looking to improve upon this weekend.


Bradley Johnson will need to once again be careful against a Liverpool midfield starting to play some expressive football in the middle of the park. The Norwich hardman remains near the top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls committed, his 39 placing him 4th.


– Despite impressing many this season largely through his defensive efforts, Sebastian Bassong has certainly found time to contribute at the other end of the park. He has an excellent shot-to-goal ratio of 3.6 from 11 attempts so far this season.


– The Frenchman knows where his priorities lie though. No Norwich player has assisted more defensively that him this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 156 positive defensive contributions.


Grant Holt has been struggling a little to find his best form this season, the big frontman only mustering a 54% accuracy rate from 28 attempts on goal. That give him a shot on target only once every 101 minutes, something he will be keen to boost in the latter half of the season.

Jan 112013

Norwich v Newcastle, Saturday 15:00


Norwich fell to a controversial 2-1 defeat away to West Ham last week, a late Russell Martin goal providing scant consolation. The result continues a worrying run of form for Chris Hughton’s side, and although the Hammers’ disputed penalty was pointed to as the turning point, the hosts struggled to pose a consistent threat on West Ham’s goal.


– Norwich’s strikeforce would do well to take their lead from Robert Snodgrass, one of the Canaries’ leading offensive lights this season. He’s had the most on target attempts of any Norwich player this season with 25.

Snodgrass has also been contributing positively in defence for Chris Hughton this season. He’s won 42 attempted tackles, the most of any Norwich player, giving him a 65% success rate overall.


Bradley Johnson continues to be Norwich’s enforcer-in-chief, leading him to unsurprisingly continue to rack up the fouls. He currently sits joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 39.


Alexander Tettey is clearly keen to build on his recent performances for Norwich following a hard working performance against West Ham. He’s ran for an impressive 6.29 miles.


– Frenchman Sebastian Bassong’s all-round defensive contribution continues to be excellent for Norwich. He’s successfully contributed defensively to the Norwich cause once every 12 minutes this season.


– A very early goal from Papiss Cisse was not enough to prevent the Magpies suffering a 1-2 defeat to Everton at St James Park. It was an effort to build on for Alan Pardew’s side however, his team creating a number of chances only to be thwarted by a solid Everton defensive effort.


– Whilst the Newcastle defence have been relatively solid in terms of their discipline this season, Papiss Cisse has been transgressing at the other end of the pitch more than any other Newcastle player. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him notching up 26 so far.

Davide Santon has been flourishing on Tyneside this season and is also adding some offensive strings to his bow. He’s dribbled with the ball 12 times and delivered 21 crosses.


– No Newcastle player has been throwing their body on the line more than Mike Williamson this campaign.  His 12 blocks is the highest in the Magpies’ squad.


– Newcastle’s main ball wizard continues to be Hatem Ben Arfa though, who pushes Santon into second place for most dribbles with 27, a figure that also places him joint 3rd on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Vurnon Anita is slowly proving to be a shrewd buy by Newcastle given some of the numbers he’s generating on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. No Newcastle player has successfully completed more passes in the opponent’s half than him, having recorded 246 so far this season.

Dec 282012

Norwich v Man City, Saturday 15:00


Norwich’s tough run of Christmas fixtures continues with a visit from Man City on Saturday, after facing a rampant Chelsea side on Boxing Day. Norwich will feel pleased though that they managed to keep the scoreline to 1-0.


Sebastian Bassong came close with a late header, while Grant Holt dragged a chance wide


Bassong is Norwich’s second highest ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index ranked 59th overall. He is one of only four defenders to have scored three or more goals this season.


Bassong has needed just 9 efforts at goal for his 3 goals. Those defenders who have out scored him with 4 goals, Evra and Ivanovic, each have needed 13 and 14 efforts respectively.


Bassong has now also made the second highest amount of clearances in the league with 45, though it will take a huge effort to overtake top performer Jonas Olsson of West Brom who has made 65 so far this season


Grant Holt’s season has been disrupted by injury and the goals haven’t flowed for the striker as they did last season. Holt has four goals now from 27 efforts at goal with 15 on target.


Man City will be looking to bounce back after falling further behind league leaders Manchester United with a surprise 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Boxing Day


Mancini has called for better finishing from his strikers in order to mount their title challenge, after it took midfielder Gareth Barry’s late goal to get a win against bottom side Reading in their previous game


Man City’s top goal scorers, Carlos Tevez (7) and Sergio Aguero (6) have scored just one goal each in the last seven games.


Tevez is now averaging 8.43 shots per goal and Aguero 7.17 shots per goal, a rate bettered by Norwich striker Grant Holt who averages a goal every 6.75 shots. In comparison, the league’s top scorer Michu averages a goal every 4.15 shots this season, showing just how far off the pace the striker’s on show today have been in converting their chances.


Yaya Toure remains the centre of City’s best play, and preventing him from dictating the midfield will be key to Norwich getting a result out of the game. In the game against Reading he completed 73 passes in his opponent’s half, the third highest total by a player in a single game this season and taking his total to 818 passes completed this season.