Analysis: Season of two halves for frustrated Norwich City

Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy berates his defence after they concede during a 1-0 defeat to Cha

Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy berates his defence after they concede during a 1-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

As Norwich City strive to get back to winning ways, DAVID FREEZER assesses what has caused the Canaries' form to dip recently.

Season of two halves graphics

Season of two halves graphics - Credit: Archant

Norwich City may not have scored a first-half goal in their last 10 matches but, perhaps ironically, the first half of their season has been far stronger than the second half.

The Canaries are now 14 matches into their Championship campaign and their season can be split into two very different halves.

The first seven matches saw City win five times and draw once, to go top of the table after their seventh match of the campaign, a 3-0 win at Brentford.

But the second set of seven matches has seen Neil Adams' (pictured) team take just seven points from a possible 21, with one win and four draws.

Season of two halves graphics

Season of two halves graphics - Credit: Archant


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Saturday's frustrating 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday left City in sixth place in the table – courtesy of an inspired performance from Owls' goalkeeper Kieren Westwood.

Adams insists his side are still playing well enough to win games and is telling his players to persist with the methods which saw them start the season so strongly.

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'We know if you carry on playing like that we will score goals and win games,' Adams said after the draw at Hillsborough. 'I am not worried about the fact the wins have not come, but I accept the facts are there.'

But do the statistics support Adams' repeated pleas for Canaries fans to keep faith with their team?

Well, yes, for the most part.

The Canaries have a higher shots-per-game average (18) than any other Championship team and with 22 goals so far, only Nottingham Forest (23), Derby (24), Watford (26) and Bournemouth (28) have scored more.

The defensive statistics stack up for Adams as well.

City concede an average of 10.3 shots per game, with only Brighton (10.2) conceding fewer, and have the equal second best defensive record with 12 goals conceded, alongside Derby and Middlesbrough, with Sheffield Wednesday the best with just 11 conceded.

Statistically, City's season looks strong and largely reflective of a team who sit sixth in the table. But Adams, his players and the club's loyal followers know City have been so close to being in a significantly stronger position.

What has changed in the last seven games from the first seven though? The players are still getting in plenty of shots – with their average dropping marginally to 17.7 per game – yet they have scored just seven in their last seven, compared to 15 in their first seven matches.

Perhaps an anxiety in front of goal has emerged, with City hitting the target with two less shots on average in their previous seven games, down from 6.6 per game, to 4.6.

Most of the other statistics look good as well.

Possession has averaged 61.6% in the past seven games, an average rise of 9.2% from the first half of the season, and City have won an average of three more corners per game in the previous seven.

Although, offsides have risen by 0.8 per game to an average of 3.4 and tackles have dropped by an average of 6.9 per game to 11.4.

More tackles and less offsides would surely be good for City but there is only one statistic that Canaries fans care about now: games won.

Convert those chances into goals and make sure that those goals lead to a win, then no one will be picking at statistics to try and work out where the Canaries are making their mistakes.

With three home games this month starting on Friday night against Bolton Wanderers, then a first-half goal could go a long way in getting City back to their form of the first half of the season.

Do you think City need to change their methods or do you have faith that their luck will turn? Share your views at www.pinkun.com or email norfolksport@archant.co.uk

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