This was a very crucial win by the home side over the league strugglers Bournemouth. The referee issued the red card to captain Steve Cook in the thirtieth minute after a handball diving save desperate to save the ball from scoring. Teemu Pukki fired his side into the lead from the subsequent penalty to put Norwich in front. In the second half, Ben Godfrey was dismissed after a tackle on Callum Wilson. This is the first home win for Norwich since September, which also put them only three points behind the second-last Bournemouth in the Premier League. Coming into the game, Norwich holds the league-most conceded goals.
Contrastingly, Bournemouth holds the league-least scored goals with only 20 goals in 23 matches. After this loss, Eddie Howe is feeling increasing pressure as they had a chance to escape the relegation zone if they took the three points.
Norwich dominated the game from the start and this was continued following the dismissal of Cook. Norwich had a higher predicted goal and with 64% possession and a whopping 87% passing accuracy. Norwich also had a higher attack per minute and higher recoveries per minute.
With a clean sheet win, Norwich is looking forward to continuing this form and escape the relegation zone as soon as possible. This tactical analysis will look at how they achieved this and analyse what tactics did they use.
Norwich started the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation with their top goal scorer Pukki leading the line. New introduction Ondrej Duda also started as the attacking midfielder for the team. Norwich player of the month Buendía starts as the right attacking midfielder. As Godfrey was sent off in the second half, they switched to a 4-4-1 emphasising more on the defensive end.
Bournemouth started in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Jefferson Lemar acting as the defensive midfielder in between the defence and the midfield. Callum Wilson starts as their lone striker. As Cook was sent off in the 30th minute, Bournemouth switched to a 4-3-2 formation with Ryan Fraser joining Wilson in front.
Norwich made 517 passes in total compared to Bournemouth’s 211. The drastic difference in total passes made shown the Norwich dominance and Bournemouth lack of hunger. With a huge list of injured players, it was hard for Howe to structure a very offensive team. However, Bournemouth did well in terms of recoveries in the opponent’s half with 32 in the game. Now onto the rest of this analysis.
Norwich’s possession dominance and passing accuracy
Norwich started the game very aggressively and controlled the ball well. They had an advantage in the midfield as they were one man up.
Balls were easily passed to their roaming playmaker Duda to create pressure on Bournemouth’s defensive line. Over half of their passes were in the middle of the pitch and with 30% of them in the opposition half. They showed great control of the game and were calm when faced with pressure. Duda and Buendía respectively had four and five passes to the final third. Godfrey was on the form when passing as he hit seven passes to the final third with 100% accuracy. Because of the accurate passing by Norwich, Bournemouth were forced to sit deep and hit on the counter. Max Aarons performed well as the right back. He had three key passes and two-shot assists.
The accuracy of their passing subsequently led to a predicted goal of 2.2. This was highlighted by four saves from Bournemouth’s goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale.
Norwich’s key passes and number of shots
Norwich was very decisive in their passing resulting in a total of 11 key passes. Buendía contributed four key passes, Aarons and Duda also contributed two key passes respectively. Norwich were on top form as their key pass average for the last five matches was six. They played very well as they doubled their key passes. The key passes were mostly initiated from the right side.
However, they were not able to materialise the passes to goals with only scoring one form the spot. The arrival of Duda also sparked things offensively. Norwich seemed as they had more energy when attacking. Duda generally connected their midfield and striker well.
Norwich finished with 18 shots and five on target. Pukki was not on his top form as he only scored one despite having four attempts and two key chances.
Although Norwich won, the game was tense in the second half and Bournemouth looked to score. Ramsdale kept Bournemouth in the game with key saves. Additionally, Godfrey’s awful foul on Wilson resulted into both teams down to ten men and the game became more open.
Bournemouth’s pressing intensity
Although Norwich was in control from the start, Bournemouth pressed hard from the start. Wilson was pressing the ball with the other midfielders covering the passing options. This led to forced long passes by the Norwich goalkeeper. Bournemouth’s presses were very organised providing no option for the goalie than to go long. Bournemouth’s pressing was highlighted with an intensity of 11.5 overall. Their pressing intensity was 14.2 in the first half. However, they had to reduce their pressing due to Cook’s dismissal, and their intensity reduced to 9.1.
Bournemouth frequently used a four-man pressing tactic which was effective enough to cover Norwich’s defenders and also press the goalkeeper. As a result, Tim Krul hit half of his long passes.
Norwich’s midfield shape and forward passing
Norwich’s midfield played very narrowly and preferred to push their full-backs upfield to create a six-man midfield. The short passes between the Norwich midfield were quick and accurate. With Duda’s dribbling ability, Norwich’s midfield was able to penetrate through Bournemouth’s midfield and directly face the defenders. This led to especially Max Aarons being unmarked on the right flank and he provided two key passes into the box. The Bournemouth defence seemed helpless when faced with Norwich’s attack. As the Norwich midfield overwhelm the Bournemouth defence, ten out of four through passes have been made. With the midfield being compact, Norwich’s average pass length was 17.4 meters, which was 2.5 meters less than Bournemouth. Additionally, Norwich’s final third pass length was 25.5 meters, 2.7 meters less than Bournemouth. Norwich’s tactics really help them take advantage from the start of the game.
Norwich played with more intensity. They performed this in the offensive end with a faster tempo and more players attacking. They were also able to perform this on the defensive end. Norwich had a challenging intensity of 8.6, which was higher than Bournemouth’s 5.4. Norwich’s players are willing to go into tackles and win 50:50 balls. As a result, they won more duels than Bournemouth. They won 63% of their defensive duels, two per cent more than the opponent. They won 39% of their offensive duels, two per cent more than Bournemouth. Although the difference was small, Bournemouth lacked a little bit more to obtain a draw.
Bournemouth’s defensive effectiveness
Bournemouth was more of the defensive side of this match. As a result, they have significantly more recoveries than Norwich. They had 46 interceptions, seven more than Norwich. They also made seven sliding tackles, three more than the opponents. Bournemouth have Nathan Ake in defence. He is their best defender and have been linked with moves away from Bournemouth. He made five interceptions, three clearances and blocked one shot.
Norwich won this game with dominance on the offensive end. They had significantly more possession and were more accurate when passing the ball. However, they did not capitalise on most of their chances because of the top performance of Ramsdale and the poor finishing from Norwich players. Norwich are now 3 points behind the second-last place and 6 points from the escaping the relegation zone. If Norwich can sustain their current form, they could be a promising side and may successfully stay in the Premier League.
- Premier League 2019/20: Norwich vs Bournemouth – tactical analysis - January 20, 2020