Six things you might have missed during City's loss to Arsenal
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Following a fourth consecutive league defeat, Connor Southwell takes a look at six things you might have missed during Norwich City's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.
1 - Negative numbers
Whether you like statistics that span seasons or not, Norwich City have failed to win any of their last 14 Premier League games.
Their last win came in February 2020 against Leicester City. Since that victory, the aggregate score of their games adds up to 35-2. With only one goal scored this season and being the only team in the division yet to record a single point, you can forgive City fans for feeling a sense of deja vu.
To make matters worst, they have conceded the most goals in the division after four matches and scored the joint fewest alongside Arsenal. Often, it feels like Norwich are the opposition that help sides kickstart their respective campaigns rather than the other way round.
For all the praise their approach to football is getting them, it isn't winning points. Teemu Pukki looks set for a difficult season unless they can fix their lack of cutting edge. They only recorded one shot on target at the Emirates - a long-range strike from Max Aarons.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Norwich have only won one of their four top-flight encounters against Watford. The Hornets were the one of few sides to complete a league double over them during their Championship title triumph.
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2 - Shooting range
Conceding 30 shots isn't a sustainable rate for a side that wants to remain in the Premier League.
There is, however, plenty of context to accompany that alarming statistic. Of those 30 shots, City blocked 11 and 13 were off target. Arsenal did seem to adopt a shoot on sight policy and peppered the goal with efforts throughout the game.
Until the last 30 minutes though, they struggled to carve out clear chances and only had three over the course of the 90 minutes - all of those arrived in the second half, with the first coming after 58 minutes.
For the first hour, it was a relatively low margin affair. Both sides struggled to discover an attacking fluency that would lead to a consistent stream of chances. That changed in the five minutes prior to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal.
Thereafter, Norwich were forced to chase the game and that left spaces for Arsenal to exploit.
3 - Brilliant Brandon
There was a point where Brandon Williams was Manchester United's first choice as left-back and looked at home in the pressure cooker of Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old has a history of boxing in his family and those fighting qualities are evident in the way he defends. Williams' aggression is channelled in a positive way and his desire to win the ball is clear.
Nicolas Pepe, a winger who cost Arsenal over £70m, was contained for lengthy periods of the game. There was one tackle on the cusp of half time where he seemed to defy physics by stretching and winning a sliding tackle.
At points, you could have been forgiven for mistaking Williams for Stuart Pearce. Particularly when he produced a goal saving block from Pepe in the second half.
It is somewhat of a dying art in the modern game, but Williams timed his interventions to perfection both inside and outside the box. This was a performance of a man who is settling into his surroundings.
Given the struggles that Xavi Quintilla endured when faced up against Ismalia Sarr at Carrow Road last season, a factor in why the Canaries opted against activating a permanent clause in that loan deal, this performance offers hope that the Manchester United loanee can withstand what the top-flight has to throw at him, especially as he will face the Senegalese winger next weekend.
4 - Under press-ure
Perhaps one of the big stylistic changes of this season is Norwich's willingness to press teams.
Against Leicester, their execution of a high press lacked cohesion and was messy. The Foxes found it easy to unpick due to its scattered nature. City's best period arrived when they deployed an effective press that saw them regain possession inside the Gunners half.
It still requires work and City's midfield in particular sometimes lacks the knowledge of when to squeeze the game and when not to engage. If Farke can get City hassling opponents effectively, then it could become a useful weapon.
City simply don't possess the defensive nous to attempt to withstand pressure for long periods within games. If they can master that, then they will find more opportunities to create chances, especially against teams that boast a stronger squad.
Sitting in a low or mid-block, which has been the preferred approach until Farke, will see City crumble eventually. They will need to be adventurous in their work off the ball if they are to become a tougher outfit to play.
This outing was much improved from their attempt to press against Leicester, where their midfield was bypassed on numerous occasions.
5 - Bigger picture
Last time City were in the Premier League, nine of their 21 points came against teams that finished in the top eight.
Needless to say, they failed to retain their top-flight status then and it won't be points in those encounters that dictate their fate this time either. City have a run of fixtures, including their next five matches at Carrow Road, which will pit them against sides likely to be closer to them in the table.
Even though Arsenal have started the season poorly, City faced a stronger Gunners side than the one Chelsea, Manchester City and Brentford competed against in the opening three game weeks.
If they do harbour aspirations of remaining in the Premier League, then these will be games where they need to extract points. If they do that, the mood music will drastically change.
Inside the club, a never too high never too low mantra is adopted. The squad will recognise that four defeats to Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal won't dictate their fate.
The real test is set to arrive in the coming weeks, which should paint a clearer picture of where this side currently finds itself and whether it has the minerals to steer clear of the drop.
City's next five home matches consist of Watford, Brighton, Leeds, Southampton, Wolves.
6 - London blues
Defeat to Arsenal was City's 24th consecutive top-flight game without a victory in the capital.
In that time, they have drawn six and lost 18.
Their last victory in London arrived on April 9 back in 2012 - nearly a decade ago, when Elliott Bennett's second half strike against Tottenham saw the Canaries record a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane. Anthony Pilkington had put Norwich ahead in the first half.
Paul Lambert was occupying the Norwich City dug out and they were on a similar quest as they sought to retain their top-flight status.
Their next attempt to break this curse comes on October 23 when they head to Stamford Bridge to face title contenders Chelsea.
It has been 29 years since Norwich last recorded an away win against the Gunners, that arrived in 1992 during the inaugural Premier League season. 2012 was the last time the Canaries managed to record three points against Arsenal. Grant Holt bundled in the only goal of a tight 1-0 affair.