The Canaries’ 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor felt a somewhat predictable ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’, having beaten Manchester City the previous weekend.
The visit to Burnley was a trip across the Premier League’s footballing spectrum, as City were exposed to a far more direct game which saw the hosts utilise crosses from wide areas and set pieces.
The Clarets were quick out of the blocks and found themselves 2-0 to the good within 15 minutes courtesy of a Chris Wood brace, the striker’s first goals since a brace against Cardiff back in April.
The first goal came from a corner, Ashley Westwood whipping the ball in to the near post for Wood to head home – all very straight forward.
The second was the result of a poor pass from City’s stand-in centre back, Ibrahim Amadou. Burnley’s six man press regained possession and found Dwight McNeil on the left who dribbled to the byline before crossing to Wood to tuck in his second of the game, having lost his marker, Ben Godfrey.
City’s slow start proved costly, Dyche and his Burnley team knew the game was won and retreated to their more familiar defensive setup to see out the game.
On the face of it, City’s kryptonite appears to be dealing with physical teams who have an aerial presence and look to utilise this advantage via dangerous balls into the box and set pieces, a la Millwall.
However, this explanation is too simplistic and after delving into the stats from the game there are a couple of noteworthy points to make.
There are of course metrics which you would expect to see, for example, Norwich had the lion’s share of possession (58%) and made 528 passes compared to Burnley’s 357.
Having failed to deal with crosses into the box during first 15 minutes, you would assume City were comprehensively outfought in the air, but this wasn’t the case with both teams winning 13 aerial duels each. Norwich usually average an aerial dual success rate of 42% and so you could argue that City rose to the challenge, matching the Clarets’ aerial presence.
As previously mentioned, Burnley are highly effective at creating chances from the flanks and via set pieces. On Saturday, this was intensified by City committing several fouls around the box, whereas, Burnley did not commit a single foul in their own half.
Dyche’s men were also able to get more balls into their strikers, Wood and Ashley Barnes having 32 and 35 touches respectively, compared to Teemu Pukki’s 25.
Burnley are an experienced team, both at this level and statistically, the squads average age is 28 – a full two years older than the Canaries squad – and they have also now been competing in the Premier League for five of the last six seasons. Their experience told.
Conceding two within the first quarter of an hour away from home was always going to make victory an insurmountable task. Especially when you consider how professionally Dyche’s men executed their game plan, going ahead early and then protecting their lead.
Had Pukki tucked away his early chance the dynamic of the game would have been different, however, having analysed the statistics, it’s fair to say that Norwich weren’t completely outfought for the entirety of the 90 minutes, but their sluggish start and relative inexperience cost them dearly.
Make no mistake, this weekend’s trip to Selhurst Park is no walk in the park, excuse the pun. Palace are unbeaten at home in five matches, a run stretching back to last season, and the Eagles have lost just once in seven games at home. That defeat was to Manchester City shortly before they lifted the Premier League trophy.
Only Brighton, Watford and both Manchester teams have recorded victories at Selhurst Park in 2019 and with Norwich only having scored once away from home this season in the 4-1 defeat at Anfield, the Canaries will need to improve in both attack and defence if they are to get anything from the game.
If you’re looking for a slice of optimism, Palace aren’t great at seeing out games, having drawn games from winning positions on several occasions throughout 2019, the 1-1 draw with Wolves at the weekend is a prime example of this.
The Canaries inexperience at this level has been telling so far this season, especially away from home. Experience comes with game time and whilst Daniel Farke and his squad will be disappointed with the results against West Ham and Burnley, they will have learnt plenty from those games.
With injured players still to return and Farke’s ability to adapt Plan A, you would expect to see an improvement away from home over the course of the season, but with a favourable run of fixtures you would also hope performances away from Carrow Road improve sooner rather than later.