Norwich Club Focus – Chances must be converted to reach full potential

Norwich City have been left reeling following their fixture versus Manchester United on Saturday, as despite putting in a wonderful performance against reigning Premier League champions, they succumbed to an undeserved 2-0 defeat.

The statistics make quite pleasant reading from a Norwich supporters view, but at the same time frustrating. To muster 13 attempts at goal at Old Trafford is some feat for any team, never mind a recently promoted one. To fail to convert any of these chances into goals, however, is worrying. Whilst Norwich fans will be delighted with the start and the two recent wins versus Bolton and Sunderland, they know their side cannot afford to continue this form in front of goal. They also needed 11 attempts in their two victories against two of the leagues leakiest defences.

Does this mean there will be a further twist in Lamberts tinkering with the forward line? It would appear so, as Grant Holt cut a very frustrated figure as an unused sub on the Old Trafford bench, as Lambert stuck with his thus far successful 4-5-1 formation, and preferred to bring on Simeon Jackson to add some attacking flair late on in place of the robust Holt. Holt will be desperate to prove his point should he be given a chance, and if not his frustration may grow, particularly if Norwich continue to be wasteful in front of goal.

Whilst the Carrow Road outfit are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, nobody expected the attacking side of the team to struggle, with a plethora of options available to them, including Morison, Vaughan, Holt and Jackson, but the game on Saturday showed how the inexperience of this strikeforce may lead to some forms of incompetence in front of goal. Morison was often closed down quickly and thus chances got away from him. Having spent the rest of his career prior to this season in lower leagues, he possibly expected to have more time, but the pace and intelligence of top class defenders such as Phil Jones proved to be too much for him.

But often, Norwich were creative enough to work genuine top chances for themselves. The stand-out being Anthony Pilkington’s second half chance. With time in front of goal, he faced a one-on-one with United keeper Anders Lindegaard, before dragging wide. Other top flight sides may not even create these chances but when they do, they need to finish them. Pilkington didn’t, and moments later they were punished. The sooner they improve their quality and composure in front of goal, the more points they will acquire and the sooner Norwich can establish themselves in this division.

But despite this, the positives outweigh the negatives from the performance. As the manager put it, “I thought we were excellent, and we created chances,” said the Scotsman. “The lads are doing as well as the can at the minute the crowd are right with us at the minute and we’re doing everything we can to stay in the league”, and with that, he hits the nail on the head, as Norwich can look forward to what is likely to be a much more competitive game next week, in the shape of Swansea City.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Swansea

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