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The Promoted

Norwich City’s defence assessed ahead of FPL return in 2021/22

Our series on the newly-promoted Premier League sides kicks off with this look at Norwich City’s goalkeepers and defenders. 

In this article, we will assess the Championship title winners’ overall clean sheet potential and then have a look at some of the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players in their backline.

FPL price reveal and launch reaction from three-time top 200 finisher Lateriser 1

WHAT IS NORWICH CITY’S CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL?     

Norwich had the second-best defensive record in the Championship last season, having conceded 36 goals in 46 matches.

They kept 18 clean sheets, a solid total but some way short of Watford’s 23, with 11 of those shut-outs arriving at home.

The Canaries’ overall home and away record in 2020/21 was as follows:

PWDLFAGDPTSCS
Total46291077536+399718
Home2314633915+244811
Away2315443621+15497

The team accumulated the highest points total in the Championship since Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2018, which is encouraging, and their defending improved significantly last season compared to their 2018/19 success, when they shipped 57 goals.

Tactically, Farke remains wedded to a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Within that framework, they like their defenders to play out from the back and as a result, averaged 58.3% possession last season, the highest total in the Championship.

Naturally, they will see much less of the ball in the Premier League, which is a concern and does suggest that we should monitor their backline in the opening weeks before even considering to invest.

Losing Oliver Skipp (£4.5m), who has returned to Tottenham Hotspur following a season-long loan deal, is a huge blow in the middle of the park.

The signing of Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) on a similar deal from Chelsea is a definite step in the right direction, but they will surely need further reinforcements for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers to be tempted by any of their defenders.

Norwich’s early schedule between Gameweeks 1 and 4 is another reason to stay clear:

However, between Gameweeks 5 and 14 they sit top of our Season Ticker for ease of fixture, and have a lovely run of matches either side of Chelsea and Leeds United:

Having conceded a massive 75 goals when they finished bottom of the Premier League in 2019/20, Farke will know that they will need to tighten up this time if they are to stand any chance of avoiding relegation, but does he have enough quality at the back to succeed?

THE GOALKEEPER OPTIONS

No. 1 Tim Krul (£4.5m) played a big part in Norwich’s success last season and finished the campaign with the highest save percentage in English football’s top four divisions (80).

The Dutch international made 93 saves, kept 17 clean sheets and saved two penalties.

He will be kept busy next season, which does offer the prospect of additional FPL save points, but it’s worth noting that he will return to pre-season training late following his EURO 2020 involvement with the Netherlands. 

It isn’t expected to keep him out of contention for any Premier League matches, but it does present an opportunity for new signing Angus Gunn (£4.0m) to impress in their forthcoming friendlies.

The 25-year-old, son of club-legend Bryan, returned to Norwich City from Southampton for an initial £2.5m last month. However, the deal is likely to end up costing the Canaries much more depending on which future clauses are triggered.

Upon Gunn’s capture, Farke said:

“He’s at a perfect age and full of potential. He’s proved he can play at the top level and was fantastic for us three seasons ago. He played almost each and every second for us and of course he has a huge identification and connection with the football club through his father. We’ve got two very experienced goalkeepers in Tim Krul and Michael McGovern and a young goalkeeper in Daniel Barden. Angus fits perfectly into this goalkeeping team.”

Having previously spent the 2017/18 campaign on loan at Carrow Road in the Championship, it won’t take long for Gunn to settle, but it does seem likely that he will have to bide his time and wait for opportunities.

Their final option, former Northern Ireland international Michael McGovern (£4.0m), is 36 now and expected to be third choice.

THE CENTRE-BACK OPTIONS

Grant Hanley (£4.5m) and Ben Gibson (£4.5m) is the current first-choice centre-back partnership, with the latter signing a permanent deal earlier this month after the club activated their option to buy from Burnley following promotion.

The pair complement each other well and performed key roles at the back in 2020/21.

Gibson’s passing ability is good and enables Norwich to play out from the back, while the experienced Hanley does carry a threat from set-pieces and may also do well for bonus points, providing Norwich can keep things tight.

His 211 clearances, 28 blocks and 77 interceptions were all team-leading totals last season. 

It’s worth noting that he is currently nursing a hamstring strain that curtailed his EURO 2020 involvement but he is expected to be involved in the majority of pre-season.

City also have Christoph Zimmermann (£4.5m) as backup, and young Andrew Omobamidele (£4.0m). However, local press reports hint that the latter may depart on loan, which does suggest that Farke may need to add one or two more centre-halves to his squad in the coming weeks.

THE FULL-BACK OPTIONS

Max Aarons (£4.5m) is Norwich’s right-back and looks like the go-to-pick for FPL managers next season, should the Canaries prove to be a more defensively solid side than they did in 2019/20.

He is comfortably the most attacking option and often advances high up the pitch, carrying the ball from deeper areas.

Above: Max Aarons’ season heatmap 2020/21, via Sofa Score

The youngster provides an outlet on the right but no longer has Emiliano Buendía (£6.5m) operating in front of him, which is a blow. The Argentine is a creator who often drifts infield, with Aarons asked to provide the width. Can he replicate that partnership with new signing Milot Rashica (£5.5m)? Time will tell, but it’s a big ask.

In terms of Aarons’ attacking output, he scored twice and supplied two assists in 45 appearances last season; hardly inspiring figures, as was the case in the Premier League in 2019/20 (zero goals, two assists).

Aarons produced 28 shots last season, while his total of 61 key passes was second only to Buendía amongst team-mates. 

He’ll hope to register more attacking returns in the future, but 1.4 key passes per 90 minutes is encouraging for a full-back. For context, Norwich’s left-back Dimitris Giannoulis (£4.5m) sits at 1.1. The 25-year-old joined on a permanent deal earlier this month after a successful loan stint in 2020/21, when he made the left-back spot his own.

Versatile full-back Sam Byram (£4.5m) impressed in the top flight back in 2019/20 and there are hopes he will finally feature again next season after being sidelined for 15 months because of a hamstring injury and other issues. 

Finally, Jacob Sørensen (£4.5m) has been listed as a defender after covering at left-back but is actually a defensive midfielder. Unfortunately, he isn’t a regular starter, but it may be something to monitor if Norwich fail to bring in any further midfield recruits this summer.

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231 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 7 days ago

    Crystal Palace close to completing permanent signing of Chelsea defender Marc Guehi. 21yo having medical today ahead of penning 5yr deal. #CFC have sell-on clause + matching rights on future move.

    1. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Nice move if it happens

      I imagine another CB may appear too. Said it a few times but think the problem with Palace this season will be more Vieira than the squad.

      1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 7 days ago

        The Viera appointment is bizarre to me

        How many managers from the lower leagues or abroad has he stepped over to get the job…

        Even Frank had managed Derby before Chelsea, and Ole had managed Cardiff and done a (resoundingly successful) stint as caretaker before taking the Utd job

        My hunch is it ends in tears and pain, but you never know either I suppose, I wonder who all actually applied for the job

        1. Andy_Social
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 7 days ago

          I think any appointment was on to a hiding. The club has no ambition, no money and no players. I'll be more familiar with the Brentford starting XI than Place's, and I've not seen any of the Bees in action.

          1. pingissimus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 7 days ago

            Not sure you've been reading tit right at all Andy.

            Plenty of ambition there - probably too much. This was always a transitional season and there is plenty of strength in the first team - you're just bored by it because of having seen under Hodgson for 4 years in all likelihood.

            Also this is the one time Palace do have money - and it's a good time to have money given the depressed market. Part of the clear out means fringe players and overpaid non-performers (in relative terms) can be moved on with wages freed up to boot.

            1. Andy_Social
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 7 days ago

              Cool insight Pingi. Hope you're right - I'm still tipping them for relegation, mind

              1. pingissimus
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 7 days ago

                Really nervous and we're obvious candidates this time there's no denying that - especially given the start and AFCON which will hit us hard - FdB repeat very much possible.

                Perhaps our biggest plus right now is that we do have spots in the squad and Eze progression last year is a lure for talent. It's a team where there is a path to the first team.

                Clear contrast here with Benrahma at WH who could be magnificent but is likely to fester in WH reserves indefinitely.

        2. pingissimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 7 days ago

          Really think we'd have been better off getting in someone from the Championship but Parish has always been a sucker for a big name.

          Ismael or Cooper might have been better fits.

          The article yesterday about how Vieira likes slow and patient build up play makes it all feel doomed and defo doesn't play to the strength of the squad - assuming you buy into the theory there is a potential strength in the squad 🙂

        3. Wrong Captain Choice - Ag i…
          • 12 Years
          2 months, 7 days ago

          Yeah has a touch of De Boer about it high on philosophy low on practicality. Except this time Vieira has even less experience than De Boer had. NY and Nice.

    2. avfc82
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      What a superb signing.

    3. Rotation's Alter Ego
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Sigh. Can't wait to watch him thrive and see everyone ask why did we let him go.

      Lamptey, Tomori, Guehi... we're going to end up trying to rebuy one of these for 5x what we got paid at some point in the next 2-3 years aren't we.

      1. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 7 days ago

        😉

        The signing I really want Palace to make is Gallagher - don't suppose there is any chance of pulling that one off. But must be a strange time to be a Chelsea fan with all that talent disappearing.

        Curious to see where RLC ends up.

        1. Rotation's Alter Ego
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 7 days ago

          Yeah, you've been sniffing around Guehi, Gallagher and Ampadu a while now. Think Gallagher would be a loan, Guehi (unfortunately) was always running the risk that he'd leave rather than sign a new contract. Leeds and Southampton are other possible destinations I've heard.

          RLC I think is back at Cobham for a while and will have talks with Tuchel and co on his future, but not sure what exactly the plan is with him - such a shame that the Achilles injury he picked up seemed to really slow him. Trevoh Chalobah another Chelsea lad we might see in the PL next season, know there's a fair few clubs that want him either permanently or on loan. Zouma as well maybe? Think I saw a 25m price tag put on him which seems very reasonable. It's all an absolute mess right now, big push on selling players.

      2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 7 days ago

        KDB, Lukaku, Salah… it’s quite the roster of transfers out!

  2. Chandler Bing
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 7 days ago

    Digne in a 433 or Sarr in a 343?

  3. mvtaylor
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 7 days ago

    Realise there's still a fair way to go but what do people think of players who were at the Euros when making their teams?

    Let's take two examples... Shaw and DCL.

    Both have got pretty nice fixtures for the first few weeks, and while DCL maybe has a bit more competition this year (depending on what happens with Kean etc) I think he'll still start from GW1, in part as he barely featured during the Euros. Meanwhile with Shaw I think it's far more uncertain he'll start the first few games, Telles is a solid alternative for them and I'd expect they'd want to give him a bit more rest.

    As I said, realise we're still a month out, but how are others looking at this? Always an option to get them in GW1 on the bench but I'm never a fan of that tbh

    1. Chandler Bing
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      I think there's no way of knowing this right now. Players who reached the final are going to arrive back in training late. However, we'll only know about their chances of starting GW1 after all the club friendlies have been concluded.

      1. Chandler Bing
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 7 days ago

        I'd recommend keeping your options open. As in, have a replacement ready in case your targeted player isn't likely to feature from the get go.

    2. Inazuma X1
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Not getting Shaw, he will most likely miss GW1

      DCL might start GW1

    3. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      I'm probably off-template here, but I think the vast majority will be ready to start GW1. I saw a comment suggestions Ole will give his boys an extra week or two off, but no other clubs have said so. The players will have insufficient pre-season time to get up to optimum fitness, and lack of time on drills and new tactics will result in frayed performances at first, but not really different to the opening weeks of other seasons.

    4. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      You could get AWB instead of Shaw to begin with as placeholder, or Digne/Cresswell.

    5. RichardNixon
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Is it three weeks mandatory break for players? Moyes said something about the likes of Rice being weeks away.

      So those who made it to the final (and also those in the final of the Copa America) won't be back at training until two weeks before the season starts if I'm right. How long until they get their fitness up to the required levels? Without a pre-season they may not be match fit until after the first international break.

      I'm keeping well away unless I see otherwise. There's a lot of players who could be affected.

      Flip side of that is there are other players who may benefit eg Mahrez, Jota

      1. Andy_Social
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 7 days ago

        It's going to be such fun next year isn't it. A World Cup mid-season, then the return amidst rest and injuries. I've already booked in my second wildcard.

  4. Holte Enders
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 7 days ago

    Havertz + Martinez, or Grealish + Mendy?

    I already have Buendia + Watkins in the side, and would likely move one of them on after the first 3 fixtures

    1. Chandler Bing
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Hav + Martinez has the higher ceiling assuming Havertz starts and I wouldn't want to go triple Villa attack anyway.

  5. Eddydhustler
    2 months, 7 days ago

    Sarr or Buendia or Rapinha

    1. The 12th Man
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      Buendia for the first 3 then move to Raphinia.

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      C

    3. Peter Ouch
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 7 days ago

      I' ll start with the proven one and if this wont go well I can always switch to the others.
      Raph it is