Norwich City – match Report vs West Ham 11/07/20

This is a guest piece from Andrew Hunter.

With Norwich all but relegated and West Ham sitting just outside the relegation zone the onus was on West Ham to attack and get a good result. West Ham ran away 4-0 winners with the game effectively over after an hour when the third goal went in with both sides accepting the result of the match and trading possession around the back for the last half an hour. West Ham played in a 433 formation with a physical target man in Antonio up front scoring all 4 goals, While Norwich played a 4231 formation, with both fullbacks very high up the pitch, but set up in a 442 in defence.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for their level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Ben Godfrey

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Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 15/01/1998
  • Current Club: Norwich
  • Career: York City, Norwich, Shrewsbury (L)
  • Position: Centre Half
  • Preferred foot: Right

Godfrey had a lot on his hands from the first minute with Antonio providing a constant threat up front for West Ham, battling every ground and aerial duel. Godfrey struggled the most with crosses into the box, with Antonio almost scoring from a cross where he got in between the two Norwich centre backs. Ten minutes later Godfrey and his centre back partner got in the way of each other resulting in no one competing for the ball from a set piece and West Ham scoring. Furthermore, Godfrey lost his man from a cross who pulled away without Godfrey noticing, and got a clear shot away with plenty of space in the penalty area.

With questionable defending at times, Godfrey’s ball playing abilities were his strongest attribute. He always looked to pass forwards into the three Norwich midfielders in between the West Ham defence and midfield, starting most of Norwich’s attacks. When the opposition sat off, he wasn’t afraid to dribble forwards into the space ahead of him and into the midfield on some occasions. However, this did cost Norwich on some occasions where he played a line breaking pass from the half way line, Norwich then lost possession and West Ham could counter with one ball over the top, which is what happened for the third goal. Godfrey also played two very accurate diagonal passes leading to chances, showcasing his wide variety of passing.

Overall, Godfrey is a solid physical defender – it will be interesting to watch him against a forward with pace that runs in behind though. His ability to play out from the back will be a great asset to many Premier League teams, and him being caught out will reduce in a higher quality team that can keep possession better than Norwich. I think he would look a lot better in an organised defence and next to a decent centre-back. Strong potential to be a very good Premier League centre back with a potential England call up next season.

Rating – A2

Emi Buendia

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Player Profile

  • Nationality: Argentinian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 25/12/1996
  • Current Club: Norwich
  • Career: Getafe, Cultur (L), Norwich
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

A relatively quiet but impressive performance from Buendia, most of Norwich’s attacks came through him and he looked the most dangerous by far to create anything for Norwich. He positioned on the right wing in a 4231 formation, but he drifted all across the pitch to find any kind of space in between the lines. Buendia always looks to receive the ball on the half turn or take a first touch which enables him to pass or dribble forwards. His dribbling was neat and often looked to play a through ball however this was difficult with Timo Pukki’s lack of pace and movement as he failed to get on the end of any Buendia’s balls. Buendia also let off two shots which were both well hit, including a nice curling effort with his weaker right foot generating a decent amount of power. He also was on set pieces which adds another attribute to his locker.

In defence, Buendia was positioned on the right-hand side of a four man midfield. He was always willing to help out his right back in defence, however he sometimes made it more difficult for the Norwich right back as he left a small gap for the attacker to exploit in a 1v1 situation between him and the right back as neither Norwich player knew whether to make a tackle or not, conceding a dangerous free kick in one instance. His defensive work rate was excellent from the opening minutes where he tracked back from right midfield to left back when Norwich were left exposed, and this continued into the second half where he won the ball back twice from chasing back despite the game being 3-0 and seemingly over. His game ended on the 70th minute when he was withdrawn.

Buendia showed why he is highly rated as the small pockets of space he picked up were very hard to track and defend. He would look very threatening with a striker ahead of him who liked to make runs behind the defence to latch onto his through balls. His defensive work was also good enough to play in a team that required wide midfielders to track back. He will surely get a transfer back into the Premier League.

Rating – A1

Jamal Lewis

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Player Profile

  • Nationality: Northern Irish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth:25/01/1998
  • Current Club: Norwich
  • Career: Norwich
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Lewis showed his potential qualities attacking wise throughout the game. He always looked to play the ball to the feet of the Norwich left midfielder, followed by either an overlapping or underlapping run. He also looked to give a quick one-two with the Norwich midfield. His short passing was generally accurate and made good runs throughout the game. Lewis was an outlet for Norwich at times and was found from a few diagonals, with a nice close touch he was able to get a few dangerous crosses away. His crossing was his most impressive aspect of his game: he crossed well with both feet, including a disguised low cross and a very accurate cross to the near post when Pukki made a front-post run.

Lewis had very little to do defensively with the majority of West Ham’s attacks coming centrally or down Norwich’s right. Lewis did get caught out in transition as he was very high up the pitch when Norwich lost the ball, however this is down the Norwich’s tactics and style of play rather than poor work rate and positioning. Lewis impressed me however would have to watch more to see if his defensive qualities are good enough to warrant a move to a better team.

Rating – A2

Max Aarons

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Player Profile

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 04/01/2000
  • Current Club: Norwich
  • Career: Norwich
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Similarly to Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons also got caught high up the pitch. Moreover to this, Aarons looked unconvincing defensively. Although up against a tricky player at times, he jockeyed for too long when 1v1 against the attacker and Aarons ended up jockeying into his own penalty box even though the attacker first got the ball on the touchline; Aarons was also too far away from the attacker which enabled an easy ball to be played into the box with no significant pressure. Aarons also failed to defend a neat one-two around him, with West Ham seeming to target his side.

He was very limited in attack, having little options going forward and more often or not had to play sideways or backwards. Aarons did put in a nice cross on his weaker left foot but that was his only contribution in the final third. At a young age, Aarons still has plenty of time to develop and wouldn’t be a bad backup right back to a top half team, however he isn’t ready to start for a better team at the moment.

Rating – B2

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