Daniel Farke has done a tremendous job at Norwich City and deserves a lot of credit for the team's recent success. So far in this 2020/21 season, we see some fantastic attacking display that we saw a couple of seasons ago that saw Norwich City promoted to the big time. At the time of writing this, Daniel Farke's team currently sit on top of the Championship and are favourites to seal the title, being 10 points ahead of Watford, who are in 2nd place. Norwich have won 25 out of their 37 league games so far, winning their last 9 league games, they boast the joint best defence in the league, conceding 26 goals, but it's their attacking display that catches peoples eyes. They currently top the xG charts in the Championship and have scored 55 goals, 2nd best, behind Blackburn Rovers.
This season, Norwich have shaped up with Daniel Farke's trusted 4-2-3-1 formation, and his team selection has also been fairly consistent. Max Aarons and Oliver Skipp have started all 37 league games this season, whilst skipper Grant Hanley has started 33 out of the 37, Pukki has featured in 33 league games, and Buendia has started 30. Just like the formation, these players have remained consistent throughout the season.
Daniel Farke likes his team to be on the front foot, with very energetic and determined attackers; this allows his team to pressure them constantly. Teemu Pukki is a workhorse up-top and willing to close down defenders also chase any misplaced through-balls. The attacking-trio often behind him are Todd Cantwell, Mario Vrancic and the very skilful Emi Buendia. Pukki being the main scoring threat, he's contributed to 40% of Norwich City's goals this season (scoring 22), and Buendia has been the creative spark, assisting 12 goals so far, which is the most in the league and chipping in with 10 goals.
Norwich aren't afraid to shoot, and 38% of their shots have come from outside the box. In fact, Norwich taking shots in the 6-yard box is a rare sight, with only 6% of their shots coming from that area. Farke's side are also based on possession and are the league's top passers, completing 495 short passes per game. They also boast the best pass completion percentage (82.6%) and best average possession (59%), and one interesting thing is that he dislikes horizontal passes. He told The Athletic...
“We have several principles and one is that I don’t like horizontal passes in the game. Square passes are actually not allowed because it makes no sense in moving the ball forward
For much of their attacking threat, they remain solid, and Farke's well-oiled system so far has provided the perfect balance. The two central-midfielders are key as they often hold their position in the middle of the pitch carrying out various tasks. The wing-backs love to get forward and offer width, so then the central midfielders must be aware and offer protection in case possession is lost, and the opponents look for a counter. Oliver Skipp is the sides ball-winner in midfield. Currently making 2 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per 90.
The wide men like to press as well, which helps Norwich be on the front foot. They don't allow the opponents to play from the back, and the wide men mark tight high up the pitch. Buendia and Giannoulis are the sides best tacklers, both completing over 2 tackles per 90. Another benefit of their high pressing is forcing long-balls because Norwich can recover the ball then. Grant Hanley is a monster in the air, winning 4.8 aerial duels per 90.
29% of Norwich attacks this season have happened centrally, and only two other league teams have a higher percentage (Wycombe and Brentford). Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia often tuck into central areas aiding the central play, leaving only the two wing-backs offering width. And it's the two (Cantwell and Buendia) who provide the team with creativity. Cantwell and Buendia are the sides top dribbles completing 1.6 dribbles per game, but it's Buendia, no doubt the star player. He's earned himself 11 man of the match awards playing 3.4 key passes per 90, providing 12 assists; it's no surprise he has the best points per match in the league with 2.43 points per match.
To conclude, Norwich City are an excellent possession-based side with, truthfully, players such as Buendia too good for the league. They are generally a patient side but can inject devastating pace on the break, which can be seen especially in away games. Norwich like to control games and be on the front foot, but Farke's has expressed the importance of finding the balance between attack and defence, something that they have done well. If or when Norwich get promoted this season, can they survive the drop this time from the Premier League?
Thank you for reading my Daniel Farkie Norwich City 2020-21 tactical analysis.